This content is provided by Brighter Vision, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the views of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official policy.
One of the first steps to building a website for your private practice is picking a name and purchasing a domain name that people will navigate to. While this may at first seem like an easy task, it can quickly take a shift to a more challenging task if you can’t think of the right name or if your first choices aren’t available.
Choosing the right domain is vital as it’s the first impression you make on potential clients online. Even before someone clicks on your link and views your website, they will see your domain name. With nearly 2 billion domain names worldwide, picking a web address that stands out from the rest and correctly identifies your brand can be tricky.
However, by following our top seven tips for choosing the perfect domain name, we’ll help you pick a great domain name that will give you the competitive edge you need to build a successful practice.
Our Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Domain Name for Your Private Practice
The domain name you purchase for your private practice website helps you build a brand that connects with your ideal client, allows potential clients to find you online, and gives you credibility in your field.
Here are our top 7 tips to ensure you choose the best domain name for your therapist website.
Tip #1: Use Keywords
Without diving too deep into the vast world of SEO (search engine optimization), it’s still crucial to talk about how using the right words in your domain name can significantly help human searchers and Google better understand what your website is about, before ever even visiting it, as well as help increase your visibility in search engine results.
The algorithm Google uses to determine your site’s ranking is incredibly complex. However, including important keywords about your industry in your domain name is something that can exponentially help your chances of a good ranking and increase your web page visibility.
Some strong keywords to use in your private practice domain name might include:
- Therapy or Therapist
- Counseling or Counselor
- Mental Wellness
- Mental Health
If we perform a search for “boulder therapist,” you’ll see that 6 out of the seven local listing results appear to have the word “therapist” or a synonym in their domain name.
If you’re not sure what the best keywords are for your therapist website, check out this post: How to Do Keyword Research for Your Private Practice Website
Tip #2: Use Your Location
If you are a location-based practice, try adding your state or, better yet, your city, to your domain to help clarify your service area.
Once again, this will also help improve your search engine ranking because Google knows where most of its searchers are geographically located or where they’re connected to the Internet. So, when someone searches for a service in a city and then clicks on your link from their results page, that will only help further prove that your location-based domain was relevant to their query.
For example, if we perform a search for “therapist” from our office located in Boulder, Google then looks at where we are conducting our online search and show results that match both the term we searched for and our current location.
As you can see, all of the local listings that showed up for this query have the word “boulder” in their domain, which helps Google understand that these sites are suitable matches for people performing a search for “therapy” in this location.
Tip #3: Consider Using Your Name
If you are going into business as a solo practitioner, consider using your name in your website’s domain. The most significant advantage of doing this is that, unless your name is as common as John Smith, it is probably not already taken. Plus, it also gives you a more personal connection to your practice and your potential clients.
Even if you don’t plan to open a solo practice, it’s still a good idea to consider registering your name as a domain. Whether you’re planning to do anything with it immediately or not.
Who knows if you’ll end up as a public speaker, published writer, or influential blogger in your field. If that does happen, you’ll be happy you already have the domain.
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Tip #4: Make It Memorable & Easy to Type
This is the exception to our last tip, where using your name in your domain may not be the best choice. The best domain names are easy to remember, and that you can quickly tell someone without having to stop and spell it out in its entirety. So if you happen to have an uncommon name or one that’s spelled differently, it’s going to be more difficult to remember or spell.
Think of some of the most visited websites – Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
What do they all have in common? They’re all memorable and easy to type!
The last thing you want is for a potential client to mistype your domain name and be taken to a different website.
Pro Tip: If you want an easy way to test your domain. Tell your potential domain name to 5 people and ask them to spell it for you. If more than two people struggle to spell it correctly, it may need to be changed.
Tip #5: Keep It Concise
In general, when it comes to the length of your domain, shorter is better. The shorter a name is, the easier it is for people to remember, say, and, most importantly, type into their web browser.
According to research from DataGenetics.com, the most common domain names are around 12 characters long.
So, try to shoot for a domain name between 6-18 characters, and remember – the shorter, the better.
Tip #6: Avoid Numbers & Hyphens
Studies have shown that both hyphens and numerical characters in a domain name can make it much more difficult for people to remember. Not only that, even if they can remember it, it’s still challenging to spell correctly and can make your domain look untrustworthy.
Think about when Instagram first came out as a new social media platform. Imagine telling your friends about it if it included a hyphen in its domain name…
Have you seen this new photo-sharing site called Insta-Gram? There’s a hyphen in there between the ‘Insta’ and the ‘Gram.’
If that were the case, Instagram likely wouldn’t have spread nearly as far or as quickly as it did.
The same can be said of using numbers. Consider you’re asked for your website’s address while networking at a conference, and you tell someone your domain name is DenverTherapist303.com, but then you have to specify that the number is a numeric character – it’s not spelled out.
The bottom line is that your domain name should be smooth, concise, and straightforward. Both hyphens and numbers get it the way of that. So, try to stick with letters only when choosing your domain name.
Tip #7: Go With .com
I know what some of you may be thinking. Now that there are so many options out there, why does a .com domain name matter?
While this is true, the answer goes back to our 4th tip of making it memorable. Sure, there may be more domain name extensions today than we can even count.
But .com is the most widely used one of them all. It is by far the most recognized and the most accessible domain name extension. It’s also going to be the extension that most clients will assume your website will end in, and they will likely remember it that way.
You don’t want to miss out on any potential clients just because they went to the wrong website by mistake. If at all possible, try to choose a domain ending in .com.
If you’re not able to find any available domains ending in .com, the next best domain extension we would suggest is .net. But like we said, if at all possible, try to secure a .com domain name.
Still Need Help Picking a Domain Name?
At Brighter Vision, our team of professional developers will work with you to pick the best domain name for your practice. Then, we will custom design you a beautiful website to match it.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your practice grow like never before.
Brighter Vision is a preferred vendor of AAMFT, specializing in making marketing simple for private practices. Their all-inclusive website design service helps therapists grow their practices with a variety of marketing tools and resources. All members receive their entire first year of a new website with Brighter Vision for only $49/month plus no setup fees; that’s a savings of $220. To take advantage of this offer, please click here.