We all know in order to have a successful law firm, you need a website.
But before you get your desired site, you have to choose a domain name.
Sounds simple, right?
It’s actually a little more complicated than one might think.
But don’t worry, I’m here to help…
Domain names are extremely important as it will be your Internet real estate for many years to come.
Moreover, your brand name is equally as important as your domain name, and the best domain names are able to reflect the specific brand.
Domain names influence virtually every aspect of the internet – number of clicks, Google and social media results, referring links, type-in traffic, offline marketing, and of course, brandability.
Today your domain name has way too much influence on both your online advertising and your brand to not make it a priority.
I’m going to give you a quick list of eight easy rules that will assist you in picking the best possible domain name for your website. Here we go!
1. Make it Brandable
“How do I know if my domain name is brandable?”
Allow me to answer with a crucial question: When you say it out loud, does it sound like a brand?
Or does it sound like a bland?
If you want a true and authentic brand sound, you can’t have hyphens nor numbers.
They convolute the name, making it sound robotic and generic.
Do not let these factors prevent your domain name from having an original, brandable ring.
For example, if your practice’s primary clientele are men facing divorce, something like “split-up-specialist-divorce-attorney.com” isn’t going to cut it.
The URL itself is simply too long: likewise, speaking the name of the site itself is a mouthful.
While there’s branding potential in such a URL, it doesn’t have much of a “ring” to it, does it?
You should also avoid names that sound like a straightforward string of keywords such as “best-florida-mens-divorce-lawyer.com.”
They’re too hard to memorize and not conspicuous enough.
Your goal is to obtain something truly distinctive and outstanding.
In order to do this, avoid the exact and partial keyword match domain names.
Not only are they not memorable enough, but domains that contain exact match keywords are more heavily scrutinized by Google and are harder to rank on page one. Yikes.
Something like “maledivorcespecialistlawyers.com” is a bit too on-the-nose: there’s no subtlety there.
On the flip side, “thesplitupspecialists.com” is straightforward, piques your interest and is memorable thanks to alliteration.
Your URL doesn’t necessarily have to be your practice’s name or specialty, but rather a tagline or catchphrase that gets stuck in someone’s head.
For example, Morgan and Morgan’s “ForThePeople.com” is thematic with the practice’s marketing and is easy to remember.
2. Make it Pronounceable
I know. If prospective clients are merely clicking links or typing in search engines, why in the name of all that’s holy do they need to pronounce your domain name?
The answer’s called “processing fluency.”
Also known as “cognitive fluency,” this state exists in all of us: the words that we can easily say and imagine are the ones we tend to remember and have more positive associations with.
Pronounceability is a significant factor in processing fluency.
If a word or phrase is difficult to process and pronounce, it’s immediately become less memorable.
This negatively affects your brandability.
“NotAnAccidentInjuryLawyer.com” might be amusing, but requires readers to do a bit of a double-take if they were looking at the name on a billboard.
Same rules apply for “BreakUpWithBankruptcy.com,” which is clever on paper but also confusing.
When we think of “breaking up,” we think of divorce attorneys versus bankruptcy lawyers, so the name might be on the right creative track but could potentially be jarring to a reader.
Besides, what if your practice did more than just bankruptcy cases?
It’s a solid idea to market your practice’s niche, but at the same time don’t make the mistake of pigeon-holing yourself.
3. Make it as Short as Possible, But No Shorter
Don’t make your domain name too long.
First of all, if the name is overly worded, you will automatically lose clients due to their processing fluency.
Secondly, fewer characters in a domain name….the easier it is to type, to say, and to share.
Plus, the less it gets abridged on social media sharing platforms such as Twitter and in search results!
Long domain names get compressed when shared.
This may result in the names not fully appearing or the URL being cut off.
4. The Best is Still .com
It’s been over 2 decades since the birth of the internet, and .com remains the most popular top level domain.
Doesn’t this seem rather absurd when we have an array of TLD extension options?
Maybe, but here’s the more important fact: .com is the most widely recognized and easily accessible domain to the public, especially those who aren’t tech experts.
As far as processing fluency and cognitive association, nothing currently tops .com.
Because you want your firm to be as successful as possible with a constant cascade of clients, go with the winning selection and make your domain as brandable as it can be.
What if .com is unavailable for my website name?
In some cases, you may be able to shift a word or two around and still have your ideal URL work.
For example, if “DeniedWorkersComp.com” was unavailable, “WorkersCompDenied.com” would have an identical message and get your practice’s point across to potential clients.
5. Avoid Names Too Similar to an Existing Company or Organization’s Existing Trademark
I know you’re a lawyer – but if you truly have true legal concerns about this, definitely consult your fellow attorneys.
You may work only in the fields of personal injury or divorce, so talk to a legal professional who specializes in copyright or trademark infringement.
This slippery slope has had a recurring problematic trend: trademark owners sue domain owners.
Sometimes the trademark owner who owns the domain name legitimately is only utilizing it for business purposes.
But sometimes the trademark owner who’s suing is just someone who purchased the domain name and is doing absolutely nothing with it.
Also keep in mind if your domain name is too much like a national trademark, this creates brand confusion, which is counterproductive to your business.
6. Make Your Domain Name Instantly Intuitive
Ideally, you want your target demographic to be able to take one glance at your domain name and know exactly what you do.
“NotMyFaultInjuryLawyer.com” is clever and memorable, but isn’t clear.
Does the practice specialize in defending clients accused of third party injuries or some other form of damages?
On the flip side, “3rdPartyInjuries.com” is short, sweet and straightforward for any third party injury lawyer.
Sometimes it’s better to get to the point versus beating around the bush, especially when you’re in an incredibly competitive field of law.
7. Use Broad Keywords When Sensible, but Don’t Stress Keyword Inclusion
I assumed keyword use in domain names is the first thing you check off the list.
Keywords have so many obvious benefits – they trigger instant intuition, they maintain cognitive fluency and processing fluency preferences, and they even increase your anchor text when people link over to your domain.
However, Google has been biasing away from these exact match and partial match keywords.
Here’s the current rule of thumb: If you’re able to get a keyword in your domain name that makes it apparent what your business is, then do it.
But if you’re going out of your way to create keyword-rich or keyword-targeted domains, that’s a fatal mistake.
This is primarily because of the search engines’ recent trend, keyword-based domain names simply don’t have the validity they used to.
As a result, both search engines and web surfers now have negative associations about websites with keyword-based domains.
Considering this valuable information, I would drop “BestMotorcyleInjuryLawyer.com” as a contender.
This is too keyword desperate, and it insinuates your practice solely deals with motorcycle cases versus other types of injuries.
Similarly, I’d also rule out “CheapFloridaTrafficLawyer.com”
This domain is trying too hard to push a keyword, and the word “cheap” has a negative connotation that could potentially be damaging to the practice’s brand.
In this circumstance, the safer option is to go broader.
You can learn from some of the most successful sites whose names have nothing to do with their business – like Google, Amazon or Avvo. (What the hell does Avvo have to do with lawyers? It’s one letter away from Avon!)
Remember, Your Domain Name is an Asset!
Bear in mind that the broader your URL, the more likely you are to potentially sell it in the future.
Brandable, high-traffic URLs are hot commodities in the digital age, especially if your site is proven to generate leads and rank for competitive keywords in the legal niche.
In fact, client of ours recently sold their website for more than $620,000 upon their retirement, which signals the sheer importance of not always relying on a one-size-fits-all URL.
Think about it: it may be tough to sell “AttorneyJohnDoe.com,” but a domain such as “CaseDismissed.com” could fit just about any practice, regardless of its scope or specialty.
If Your Desired Domain is Unavailable, Modify It
If the precise domain name you want is not available, you can slightly change it enough to make it yours.Let’s say you wanted “DoneWithDebt.com.” You could potentially add “law” to the end to make it into “DoneWithDebtLaw.com,” which is more specific, or perhaps switch the words around to make “DebtDoneWith.com” if you wanted to stay truer to the original URL. Each name gets the same point
Let’s say you wanted “DoneWithDebt.com.” You could potentially add “law” to the end to make it into “DoneWithDebtLaw.com,” which is more specific, or perhaps switch the words around to make “DebtDoneWith.com” if you wanted to stay truer to the original URL. Each name gets the same point
You could potentially add “law” to the end to make it into “DoneWithDebtLaw.com,” which is more specific, or perhaps switch the words around to make “DebtDoneWith.com” if you wanted to stay truer to the original URL. Each name gets the same point
Each name gets the same point across; however, make sure you’re not staying too true to another practice’s name to avoid some legal trouble yourself.
These basic guidelines should help you in selecting the domain name for your law firm.
Fortunately, in your line of work, having a domain name that is merely the title of your firm is also completely acceptable and almost expected.
“ReynoldsShawFirm” works swimmingly, whereas “WeSellHammers” falls short.
You can still get creative and have some fun with wordplay – “CaseClosed” certainly has a nice ring to it, especially since it hints that your firm wins its cases.
Conversely, “ObjectionYourHonor.com” and “ApproachtheBench.net” each lack credibility.
Whatever you choose, keep these rules in mind and trust your instincts.
Also remember: Your name sells your brand.