For several weeks we have been focusing on marketing your firm with a website. As we have previously stated, a website is an organization’s flagship marketing channel. In case you missed our last two articles on websites, check them out:

Marketing Your Firm: Your Website

Marketing Your Firm: What a Law Firm Should Include on a Website

Your domain name is the address that a user will type into their browser to visit your website directly. Since this web address will be listed on all of your marketing material, it is important to choose the name wisely.

Before you choose your domain name, consider the following points:

Name your website after your firm
When someone learns about your company, he or she will typically go online to learn more. While you may not be able to use your whole firm name in your web address due to length, you will limit confusion by including at least a portion in your domain name. For example, a firm named Smith, Jones, Miller and Johnson could call their site smithfirm.com.

Keep it simple
Make sure your domain is easy to spell, read and understand. In a deviation from the first tip, if your company name contains long or hard to spell words, consider other options. If a potential client misspells your web address, they will not find your website. Similarly, if your domain it is too hard to read, like a conglomeration of multiple uncommon words, it will be hard to remember because it will not makes sense to others. The most successful websites get their message across in short, easy to spell words that tells what the company is about. Again referencing the example firm listed above, smithfirm.com is much easier to remember and understand than using first letters of the partners’ last names, sjmj.com. SJMJ could be anything, not necessarily a law firm, but smithfirm.com gives visitors a glimpse of what the website is about.

Don’t use numbers in your domain
People will be confused about whether the number should be spelled out (four) or entered as a numeral (4). You want your website to get as much traffic as you can, so you have to make it easy for potential clients to find you. Instead of a firm called Stevens, Stevens and Stevens naming their website 3stevenslaw.com, the website could be named more simply stevenslaw.com.

Avoid plurals, hyphens and other easy to forget elements
Plurals, hyphens and works like “a”, “the” and “my” are unnecessary and will more than likely decrease traffic to your website. The chance of visitors failing to type these elements is great. Hyphens are an entirely different, confusing story. The common internet user may confuse hyphens with back slashes, forward slashes and underscores. You are better off choosing a web address without these included.

Websites are an absolute must for any law firm. They add to your firm’s credibility and market for you 24/7. To get the most bang for your buck it is best to make your website name memorable, descriptive and as short as possible. Next week’s Marketing Your Firm topic will be top level domains, like .com, .org and .net.

[Photo courtesy idea go/freedigitalphotos.net]