A domain name (or URL) is the unique address for a website that defines itself from every other website on web. For example, this site is PodiaPaedia, and its domain name is podiapaedia.org. This is the street address on the web. Choosing the right domain name for a website can be a crucial part of the development of the website.
Considerations in choosing domain name:
- ideally domain name is same as business name; for example if your clinic is Acme St Podiatry, then consider acmestpodiatry.com
- keep the name short; think about what patients will find easy to remember; always think about the visitor to the website and your patient: what will they think would be best? Do not try and be fancy and use what you think is best.
- Should you use hyphens in the domain name? They are a double edged sword: Single word domains are getting harder to come by, so a hyphen could give you a domain that is not already in use (eg podiatry–arena.com). However, hyphens can often be forgotten by users when typing in a domain name. Some people like to argue that separating words with a hyphen make then easier for the search engines to decipher the domain name and rank the website higher for its keywords. That may have been the case a number of years ago, but search engines have got better and it does not appear to be an issue these days.
- Think about the nature and specialty of your practice: the name should reflect your practice. Do you have a specialty in sports medicine or diabetes? Does your business name reflect that; can the domain name reflect that? This may not be possible in the context of some of the other points and also the need to keep a domain name short for people to remember.
- check word or words you prefer carefully – avoid what has become known as domain name hilarity (see below!).
- think about search engine optimization (SEO); the search engines will better return your site relevant to a geographic location if the location name (ie the city you are in) was in the domain name.
- dot what? If you are in the USA, use the .com; if you are in another country, use one with a TLD (top level domain) country domain (ie .com.au; .co.nz; .ca; .co.uk; etc).
- Just because your domain name is already taken by another website does not mean you should give up. GoDaddy have a paid acquisition service in which the will anonymously enter into negotiation on your behalf to purchase a domain name, if the owner can be convinced to sell.
Registering a Domain Name:
When registering a name, you are essentially ‘leasing’ it when you register it. You can register a domain for 1, 2, 3 or 5 yrs etc; 10 yrs is the current maximum. You will need to remember to renew the registration or you may loose it if someone else takes it when it has expired. There is a grace period for you to re-register a domain name. Most domain name registers will give plenty of warning, but you have to remember to keep domain name contact information up to date. A check of a whois will let you see the current contact for a domain name.
Always register a domain in your name and not that of your web design or search engine optimization company. You will have no standings if legal issues arise and the domain name is not in your name. Do not register your domain name with the same company doing your website hosting. Make sure that you use separate companies for the domain name registration and the website hosting. Website hosts often do promotions to give a free domain name if you host with them which can lead to problems if you want to cancel the web site hosting. This is not going to be easy if they are they are also domain name register.
It is illegal to register a domain name with a trademark in it unless you own that trademark or have permission.
Be aware that your registration contact details (street address and phone number) are public, so use the contact details for your clinic address or use a privacy service (that costs extra).
Once the domain name is registered, you need to sort out website hosting and then promote the domain name in advertisments and business cards etc. Otherwise what is the point in having a website if no one knows it exists?
Domain Name Hilarity (check your name carefully):
Pen Island: www.penisland.net
Experts Exchange: www.expertsexchange.com
IT Scrap: www.itscrap.com
Who Represents: www.whorepresents.com
Speed of Art: www.speedofart.com
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