While on the surface choosing a domain name to brand your business on the Internet seems straightforward and obvious, we are finding that for many practitioners, both the pursuit of a name that will lend optimal value, and the business process involved in choosing it, present a challenge.
Benefits of a well-chosen domain name
A good domain name increases public name recognition for your practice, allowing your patients to easily find your practice on the Internet. Friends and existing patients will be more likely to pass your website’s name on to others if it is easy to remember.
A well-chosen domain name imparts a professional and lasting impression to your patients and website visitors.
It helps brand your practice and allows you to have a professional email address. The email address email@example.com appears much more professional, established and permanent than firstname.lastname@example.org. Why advertise a public e-mail providers name and business, when you can advertise your own practice?
A well-chosen domain name can help you get a higher search engine ranking on Google, Yahoo and others.
Protecting your practice name through domain name registration will prevent a competing practice from profiting from your offline marketing efforts. Once registered each year, no one will be allowed to use the identical domain name you have chosen.
How do I choose a domain name for my website?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the name that will properly promote the branding of your business on the Internet. The following pointers will help you choose the right web address for your practice:
- Keep it short and to the point – Although you can register lengthy domain names, keep in mind your patients need to be able to remember and easily type your website’s address. Register the shortest name possible that will still allow your patients to associate it with your practice. For example, if your practice name is River Walk Massage Therapy and Wellness Clinic, a domain name such as www.riverwalkwellness.com rolls off the tongue (and keyboard) more easily than www.riverwalkmassagetherapyandwellness.com.
- Avoid hyphenated domain names – Hyphens in domain names are often forgotten by users wanting to get to your website. You could also inadvertently send your patients to one of your competitors. For example if your website address is www.riverwalk-chiropractic.com and your competitor down the road has www.riverwalkchiropractic.com, your competitor could benefit from your marketing efforts. Hyphenated names are also harder to remember. If a hyphen is used in your business name already, that doesn’t mean you have to use it in the web address (domain name).
- Choose an appropriate domain extension – There are many domain extensions to choose from – for example, .com, .ca, .org, .us – and you may wonder which one is best for your practice. Most people will agree that .com is by far the preferred domain extension. By default, the majority of people will type in “.com” when they remember only your website’s name “Riverwalkwellness.”
- Avoid names that are close to your competitor’s – For example, if your competitor down the road is using www.riverwalkphysiotherapy.com, it would not a good idea for you to use www.riverwalkphysiotherapy.ca. This could also result in your marketing efforts driving business to the wrong website owner.
Ask around or ask Internet professionals – When you have settled on a few available name potentials, ask what your friends and clients think. A name that may make perfect sense to you may be confusing or too hard for others to remember. Some practitioners register a few domain names and direct them all at their website. This marketing method can drive significantly more traffic to their practice website.
Professional website developers can also advise you regarding the finer points of domain names as they have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area – if you’re having difficulty with this, you can always check with one of them.
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Until next time, be well…