The first step to starting your website is to select and purchase a domain name.
How do you choose the best domain name?
Your domain name will be unique to your website and your business. Getting your website to rank with Google and the other search starts with your domain name.
Here are a few ideas and suggestions about choosing the best domain name for your website.
Branded Domain Names
Most of us do NOT have a brand name. Brand names usually do NOT describe our goods and services and, in fact, have nothing to do in terms of describing our business.
Examples of a branded domains are Coke.com, Sears.com and Amazon.com. There is nothing inherent about these names which indicate the type of business they run, but they are simply known by the “brand” of their product.
If you do operate a business with a brand name, purchase that domain if available. No need to read on, but if you are like the rest of us, you’ll need to spend a few minutes to choose the best domain name.
Want Your Website to Rank?
Getting your website to be the most powerful marketing tool to grow your practice means your website needs to rank well with the search engines.
The only way to achieve and maintain high search engine rankings (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) is to optimize your website. Search engine optimization employs techniques and tactics to get high rankings with the search engines. There is no substitute.
With brand new websites, optimization starts with your domain name.
Choose and combine a few words (aka keywords) which best describe your medical practice. You may add a location, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Your goal is to choose a few words which are likely to be the same words used by your next patient searching for your goods and services (see below).
Goods and Services
If you are hoping to grow your practice, you’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity to maximize the SEO of your website. Optimizing your website starts with your domain name.
What 3 words best describe your practice? Can you guess what words patients might use to “Google” you?
Combining a few words likely used for “search,” is an easy and useful way to start optimizing your website. Avoid proper names and use a combination of a few terms which best describe the services you provide and/or where you provide them.
For instance, an ophthalmology practice might use;
Search engines are pretty smart. You don’t have to worry about the particular order in which you arrange the words. In fact, the search engines will analyze your URL and decipher all possible words contained within!
Best Domain Name
The best domain name should have many of the criteria listed below, but don’t kill yourself in meeting all these criteria. The best URL for your website may not fulfill all these attributes.
- Describe the goods and services that you provide
- Provide SEO value to help get your website ranked
- Be easy to remember
- Be easy to spell (thus easy to type!)
- Avoids confusion with similar domains (plurals, contains hyphens)
- Avoids hyphens and numbers
Is Your Domain Available?
The last step is to check for availability of your domain and purchase. There are many registrars where you can both check for availability and then purchase your domain.
Bluehost, Godaddy and Hostgator are just a few registrars which also offer hosting services.
A Few More Tips
We recommend purchasing your domain for at least 3-4 years. The search engines are aware of how long you have purchased your domain. Blackhat/illegitimate websites change often and are unlikely to purchase domains for more than a year.
Don’t worry about the suffix (.com vs. .org vs. .net). If given the choice, choose the .com, but for SEO purposes, the TLD (suffix) does not matter.
Make sure your hosting company is in the same country as your business. Don’t choose a TLD of a foreign country. Both these actions will decrease your SEO.
If you have additional suggestions or comments, please comment below.
All the best!