Legal Blogs: Naming Your Site And Picking A URL

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , |

What to name your legal blog and the name of your site (URL) are chicken and eggs problems. Some people will start by choosing the name of their site, while others will focus on selecting the URL.

Search-Engine-Marketing

Photo credit: Danard Vincente

Wherever you choose to start, you need to pick a name that has the following characteristics: Your blog and url should do the following:

  • Express what you do.
  • Contain keywords to help with your search engine optimization and search engine placement.
  • Be easy to spell.
  • Be easy to remember.
  • Not confuse the reader when spelled together

Give some serious consideration to that last suggestion. Here are some of poorly chosen domain names:

Experts Exchange = www.expertsexchange.com

Who Represents = www.whorepresents.com

Therapist Finder = www.therapistfinder.com

Also, keep in mind your ethical obligations when selecting a blawg name and URL.It is fairly obvious that whatever name you select should not be false or misleading. If you are a solo attorney, you should not be using “Partners” or “… & Associates” in your domain name. Be careful that you are not promising a result with your name. “BeatDUI tickets.com” is a super name. It is also likely to land you in hot water with your state’s ethics board. States differ in their requirements and ethical guidelines. Check your ethics rules, and speak with other lawyers in your state to a avoid pitfalls.

PICKING A LAW FIRM WEBSITE NAME

Gavel

CC photo credit: walknboston

Let’s get down to actually selecting a domain and site name. I am a fan of the “where you are and what do you do” strategy of selecting a name.

  • South Carolina Family Law Attorney
  • Colorado Social Security Law (ok, I admit it, that’s mine)
  • El Paso Criminal Defense
  • Georgia Senior Law

The beauty of this website and domain naming strategy is that the names are simple and they work. They tell the audience exactly what he or she needs to know about where you are and what you do. Many lawyers, myself included, want a lofty sounding name. However, by obfuscating what you do, you may be losing out on potential clients. Keep it simple so people can find you.

Pick terms that people are already searching for on the web. It does not help to call yourself an “elder law attorney,” if your audience is unfamiliar with that term and searching for “retirement” and “medicaid planning.”

There are a number of services on the web (many free) that will help you find related keywords and show you the frequency of those keywords in searches. Use these to help you select a blog name and URL domain name for your site to maximize your search rankings.

GETTING THE FIRM NAME DOMAIN

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CC photo credit: zappowbang

When you are purchasing your domain, there is nothing wrong with also getting the .com for your law firm name. If you are Smith Smith and Jones LLC, go ahead and try to register smithsmithjones.com or 2smithsandjones.com.

Some lawyers use a firm-name.com website for as a web brochure. This is for people who are already aware of the law firm, and looking for more information, attorney profiles, hours, directions, and practice areas.

However, you should be aware that this may not be the main traffic generator for your law firm.

Most people do not go to the Internet with a law firm name already in mind. The are looking for a lawyer that handles a particular type of case.

Your target audience may not even be looking for a lawyer. They just want to solve a problem. If you are primarily advertising yourself on the Internet based on your firm name, your audience may never see you.

GO FOR THE .COM

The rule here is simple: if you cannot buy the .com, pick a different name.

There are a very small number of popular websites that can get away with not using a .com name. When you are starting your website, you will not be popular enough to overcome the draw from your .com doppelgänger. In fact, a large percentage of any popularity your website garners will only drive traffic to the competing .com version.

You are working for your competition if you have anything other than a .com domain. People (and browsers for that matter) are programmed to end a domain with .com. Having your primary domain be anything other than a .com site is a recipe for failure.

SHOULD I GET THE .NET .ORG .ME .TV?

A number of the popular domain name registrars encourage you to buy all the major top level domain variants of your name (.net, .me, .tv, .org). If the extra $10 per year, per domain, does not strain your budget, you can go ahead and do this. Just be aware that this provides only minimal benefit for your site.

Yes, you are protecting yourself from someone setting up a .net or .org version to try to siphon off your audience. However, because people’s first thoughts when entering a url are to go to the .com, the real-world chance for harm is minimal. You may get a domain squatter sitting on an alternate top level domain that shares your name, but it is unlikely to be any kind of legitimate business working in the same field.

DOMAIN VARIANTS AND MISSPELLINGS

Another issue is buying variants of your name. If the domain name that you are selecting is prone to being misunderstood, misspelled, or contains homonyms or numbers, it may be a good idea to also purchase the variants of the domain name.

For example: this site, planet10tech.com, can also be reached by typing in planettentech.com and the misspelled planetentech.com.

DANGED BLASTED PRONOUNS

Give some thought to whether you want to purchase the pronoun variations of your domain name. You may spend months building up the popularity of texascattlelawyer.com, only to have another firm or url squatter buy the domains for THEtexascattlelawyer.com, YOURtexascattlelawyer.com, MYtexascattlelawyer.com or BESTtexascattlelawyer.com.

Do not worry if you cannot think up every possible variance for your chosen domain name. If you go through GoDaddy.com, they will not let you leave their site without offering you the chance to lighten your wallet by purchasing a dozen possible variants of your domain.

SHOULD I BUY THE -SUCKS?

Twestival Montreal Cupcakes

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If you’re in business long enough, someone will decide they do not like you. It is not uncommon for large businesses to have a “businessname-suck.com” or “businessname-sux.com” site haunting them.

Don’t try to pre-emptively buy these domains. You cannot win. If you buy jonesfirmsucks.com, haters will buy jonesfirm-sucks.com or jonesfirm-blows.com or jonesfirm-sucks-so-bad-I-hate-them-so-so-so-so-so-much.com.

You can deal with this with engagement, or by ignoring it and letting people blow off steam. If you try to fight it, you will make people even more angry because you are stifling their right to complain. Also trying to lock down any negative comments about your company on the web might just bring the wrath of 4chan down upon your head.

Trying to keep people on the web from saying bad things about your firm is a losing game. Don’t play it. It you are getting angry, make yourself some tea and go outside with your dog. You will be happier in the long run.

When you have calmed down, consider owning the issue: respond and address the complaints (if not the specific accusation — you may still be bound by confidentiality). Make your response the story.

What do you think? Have some tips about picking a blog name or domain name? Have you had to deal with a bad publicity on the web? Tell me in the comments!