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:
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
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the opening of the Phase 3 Provider Relief Fund. The portal to apply for and receive funds opened on Monday, October 5th. The $20 billion in new funding is targeted for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. More specifically, previously ineligible providers now being allowed to apply for these relief funds, and HHS is encouraging enrollment for those who are unsure of eligibility. Previously, the only MFTs who could apply for funding were those who were Medicaid and CHIP approved providers, However, the Phase 3 distribution is open to most behavioral health providers.
The deadline for application is November 6th, 2020, so we encourage MFTs to apply while applications are still open. HHS announced in their press release, “HHS’s top priority is ensuring as many providers possible have an opportunity to apply.”
Unlike previous relief funds, this wave appears to be more open and targeted for behavioral health providers. Mental health providers, including MFTs, could greatly benefit from this relief fund. We understand that many have been put in financially tight situations due to COVID-19, and hope that this Phase 3 Provider Relief fund can help MFTs get back through the rest of the pandemic.
AAMFT has created a survey for members on telehealth and the impact of COVID-19. It's important that members participate in this survey, so that AAMFT may take future actions to support the profession. This survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete, depending on the level of detail you want to include in your responses. If you have any questions, please email us at FamilyTEAM@aamft.org.
Stacy Womack-Henderson, a respected life coach and mentor, and Chef Jeff Henderson, a passionate and talented chef, make for an incredible team. Their inspiring journey together began while Jeff was incarcerated in federal prison and quickly evolved into the creation of a beautiful family together, including five children.
An inspirational couple married over 21 years, Jeff and Stacy are champions of change and positivity in the world by way of their deep devotion to such causes as overcoming adversity, marriage, and family. Together they encourage self-empowerment, and childhood development.
Their combined wealth of knowledge empowers individuals to achieve life-changing transformation. The Foundation is proud to have the Henderson’s as Honoree Trustees and our work with them on a pilot study – Identifying Resiliency and Protective Factors of Recently Incarcerated.
The Foundation’s Request for Proposal recently finished, and we received many thoughtful proposals and truly appreciate everyone’ support of the Research and Education Foundation and this project. We are extremely excited to announce that Amy Morgan, PhD from the University of Maryland College Park has been selected for her proposal entitled, Developing a redemptive identity: a mixed methods study exploring post-incarceration resiliency.
The study overview- The majority of post-incarceration research is devoted to identifying predictors of recidivism for the nearly two-thirds (i.e., 68-77%) of individuals who return to carceral settings. Yet, far less is known about mechanisms of resilience for the approximately 17% who successfully desist. The goal of this mixed-methods pilot study is to identify internal and external resilience factors that build resilience and promote desistance among formerly incarcerated individuals. Findings from this research will serve as an important focal point for future intervention development dedicated to fostering resilience, individually and relationally, for those finding their way home after incarceration.
We appreciate Dr. Morgan’s efforts and hard work, which she put into this proposal. Our reviewers were quite impressed with her proposal and the clear commitment to the subject matter.
*If this is project that interests you, please consider making a donation to the AAMFT Research and Education Foundation, so that we can continue to support these projects and programs to assist with the advancement of systemic marriage and family therapy!
As an association that represents a profession built upon honoring and valuing lived experiences, we have great concern with the potential implications of the executive order combatting race and sex stereotyping in government agencies and federal contracting.
Marriage and family therapists are by their very training and nature, specialists in understanding the long-term impacts of trauma caused by racial and systemic inequality and injustice. We recognize the immeasurable impact of courageous conversations regarding inequality.
Diversity and inclusivity are tenets deeply valued by AAMFT and our commitment is upheld by our Diversity and Inclusivity Policy. We believe that intentionality placed around these efforts, as well as cultural competency and understanding of privilege and bias, is vital and serves to bring together our society in growth and development.
AAMFT will monitor the implementation of this order and its impacts on federally funded programs such as AAMFT’s Minority Fellowship Program as well as marriage and family therapists offering services to our federal workers and military and veteran communities.
For members interested in advocacy, we encourage you to join AAMFT’s Family TEAM.