Choosing a valuable domain name

By Chad Brubaker, www.emochila.com

OK, so you’re going to purchase a domain name for your firm, whether it be for a Website presence, professional e-mail, or both.  This seems like a simple task that most people breeze over, but the reality is that it could be one of the most valuable choices you make regarding your firm’s online presence.

Why?  First of all, this domain name is most likely going to reflect your firm online and through e-mail for the remainder of its existence.  As a domain name “ages” (that is, the longer is has been purchased and active) it gains valuable page rankings in search engines.  Just as importantly, your employees and clients become accustomed to this domain name.  It saves in people’s address books, people begin to place that domain in “safe sender” lists in their Outlook, and passive Web browsers remember the domain if they have seen it a few times and are contemplating your services.  All of a sudden, domain name purchases are not such a trivial matter!
 
Here are three tips on how to choose a domain name, and why it’s important:
 
1.      It may go without saying, but a domain name should be relevant to the business name.  If the name of the firm is John Smith CPA, it does not make a lot of sense to have a domain name that strays too far.  While www.johnlikesgolf.com may be reflective of the business owner, it is not necessarily relevant to the business.  Unless of course John does accounting exclusively for country clubs.
2.      Keep it short and sweet and easy to type.  A long domain name, apart from being difficult to type, can be difficult to remember.  In the event of a long firm name, it is best to eschew hyphens and ampersands for first initials and professional affiliations.  If, for example, the name of the firm is Smith, Smith & Doe, LLC, it does not make a lot of sense to have a domain name such as, www.smithsmithanddoellc.com; rather choose www.ssdllc.com .  It’s a good idea, especially with abbreviations, to include potential keywords that are relevant to your practice.  Ideal abbreviations to include in your domain name are any professional affiliations such as:  CPA(s), EA, PC, or LLC.  This way, you’re somewhat telling the story of your practice upon first glance.
3.      Think about potential search engine words.  This is probably one of the most important aspects for those firms looking to market to new clients rather than providing services for existing clients.  Which is a potential client more likely to seek in a search engine: “accounting in (your town), or your firm name?  Well, if they don’t know your firm exists, they’re not very well going to choose your firm name, are they?!  Consider domain names like www.yourtowncpa.com or www.cpastate.com rather than www.yourfirmname.com as you will reap the search engine rewards of the former.

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