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HOW TO PICK A DOMAIN NAME FOR YOUR LAW FIRM WEB SITE

by Philip L. Franckel, Esq., President 1-800-HURT-911, Inc.

 

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Your personal injury law practice needs a website as an online brochure, but how do you pick a domain name for your law firm's web site?  What exactly is a domain name? 

Your web site address is also known as an IP (Internet Protocol) address and looks like this http://67.15.4.94.  Instead of typing a series of numbers which are difficult to remember, you can register an easier to remember domain name which becomes associated with your IP address.  For instance, Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com is the registered domain name for my new blog, obviously for lawyer advertising.  When you type that domain name, the domain name servers on the Internet know that you're looking for http://67.15.4.94.  Additionally, I also registered LawyerAdvertisingBlog.com, which, when you type that into an Internet browser address bar, will forward to Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com.

Your domain name, also known as a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), should appear on your business cards, law office letterhead, and any advertising you may use. 

1) Ownership. When you register a domain name, make sure that you are the registrant of the domain name.  Frequently, web site design firms will register the domain name for you and will register the domain name in their name rather than in your name.

2) Hyphens.  There have been a lot of misunderstandings about whether to use hyphens in a domain name.  First of all, the domain name you choose must not have hyphens.  The domain name without hyphens is the domain name that everyone will type in the address bar of their Internet browser and the domain name that you should use in print and advertising.  The reason that some people say that you should have a domain name with hyphens is to force the search engines to see keywords in your domain name so that your web site does better in search engine results.  The bigger search engines can now see the individual words even without hyphens, however, smaller search engines may not and even the bigger ones may see a word differently than you want the search engine to.  Thus, the importance of hyphenated domain names has diminished, however, if you wish to use a hyphenated domain name, as I did above, you can set the DNS or domain name servers to the hyphenated domain name, but you should also register the unhyphenated domain name which you will forward to the hyphenated domain.  As previously stated, the unhyphenated domain name is the one that you will use in print and advertising and is the more important domain name.

3) Extensions.  Domain names are available with various extensions, for instance, .com, .net or .org and various new extensions.  If it's really important to you, you can take domain names in any or all of the extensions, however, if you take only one domain name, you need to register your domain name in the .com extension.

4) Choosing. Choosing a domain name is a lot like choosing a name for your company or law firm.  Ideally the name should be short, easy to remember, and good for branding.

5) Web site domain names and Attorney Ethics.  A website name is an address, not a trade name which is prohibited.  Advertise  your web site name as an address, a means for people to find your web site, not a trade name.  Some web site domain names and vanity telephone numbers can violate legal ethics.  Make sure that your web site name or vanity telephone number avoids use of certain words which could create a potentially incorrect expectation in the mind of the consumer or violate one of the other ethics rules.  Both vanity telephone numbers and web site names should not imply that you are better than another lawyer or that you can accomplish something for the audience that may not actually occur.  Use of words such as "BEST", "TOP", "FOREMOST, "LEADING", "WIN" and similar words in a vanity telephone number or web site domain name could create a misleading expectation in the mind of the consumer and will violate ethics rules in most states.   For instance, 1-800-LEADING, LeadingLawyer.com or BestLawyer.com will violate ethics rules by implying that you are the leading lawyer or best lawyer.  The question is by who's standards are you the best and leading in what?  1-800-WIN-XXXX may be good for a casino, but will imply that the person who becomes a client of the firm will win money when, in fact, that may not happen and even when it does, it's an award for just compensation, not a winning.  Likewise, WinningLawyer.com or WinningCase.com will also violate ethics.  Laura Hodes in her article for the ABA Journal entitled Vanity Phone Numbers Make Your Firm Less Forgettable, quoted Will Hornsby, an expert on lawyer advertising and staff counsel in the ABA Division for Legal Services, who said that while there is nothing unethical about vanity numbers, "1-800-I-WIN-CASES would be unethical because it is making an unsubstantiated claim, creating unjustified expectations that can be true but still be misleading."

6) Top Level Domain vs. Sub-Level Domains.  You must have your own domain name.  Do not under any circumstances use a free hosting service, since your domain name will not appear in a browser address bar (with a free hosting service it will look like yourlawfirm.freehosting.com).  It's sort of like typing your own letterhead on a manual typewriter. 

If you do not already have a domain name for your law firm, you can get one at 8.95domains.com from Dynaserve for only $8.95/year or free when you get hosting starting at $4.95/month.  If you do not want to spend the amount needed to use a web site design firm, you can choose from 20 beautifully designed law office web sites (on 3 pages) law office web site template for around $50 (one time charge) or you can customize the template for around $300 at (TemplateMonster & TemplateTuning are both divisions of the same company). 

 


1-800-HURT-911 is a brand with a built-in message saying if you're hurt an accident, you need legal help fast.  The slogan "When you're HURT in an accident call 911, then call 1-800-HURT-911" reinforces that message.  1800HURT911.com matches the telephone number, is professional looking and helps build a substantial image in the consumer's mind because the website has hundreds of pages with an extraordinary amount of free research without a hard sell.

If you're considering TV lawyer advertising and would like information about licensing or advertising with 1-800-HURT-911 or 1-800-USLAW-911, see Advertise on TV with 1-800-HURT-911 or send Philip Franckel an email at HURT911.  Reserve your exclusive territory now before it's too late.  Advertising Agencies Protected.

1-800-HURT-911 TV Lawyer Advertising Commercial


See my other articles on lawyer advertising:

Should You Buy Your Own TV Media Time or Use an Advertising Agency?

What Lawyers Should Know BEFORE Advertising

What's the Best Media for Lawyer Advertising?

Testing a Lawyer Advertising TV Campaign, How Long to Test?

How to Grow Your Personal Injury Law Firm Aggressively

Yellow Page Advertising For Lawyers, Cost Effective?

Basic Ethics For Lawyer Advertising

Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Lawyer Advertising

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Get New Clients Without Spending a Lot of Money on Advertising

Should Your Law Firm Have A Web Site?

How to Pick A Domain Name For Your Law Firm Web Site

Branding Your Law Firm vs. Direct Response Advertising, What You Should Know

1-800 Vanity Telephone Numbers, What Are They Worth?

Should Lawyers Be Allowed To Advertise?


Distribution Rights: This article may be freely published with the following title and byline: "How To Pick A Domain Name For Your Law Firm Web Site, by Philip L. Franckel, Esq., President 1-800-HURT-911, Inc., providing vanity telephone numbers for lawyer advertising and resources for people HURT in an accident at www.1800HURT911.com"

About the author:  Philip L. Franckel, Esq., is President of 1-800-HURT-911, Inc.  Mr. Franckel personally built www.HURT911.orgwhich together with its matching 1-800 vanity number has become a valuable brand.  The website, also addressable from 1800HURT911.com and many other domain names, is the largest personal injury research web site on the internet with over 170,000 hits per month.  Mr. Franckel is an expert on 1-800 vanity telephone numbers, advertising, web site construction, search engine optimization and internet key word bidding.  Mr. Franckel has been a personal injury lawyer since 1989, was a Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and has extensive business experience in many other diverse businesses including the advertising industry, having worked in television production on TV commercials such as Diet Coke, American Airlines, Bayer Aspirin and Fuji Films with Illustra Films Worldwide, and with ABC on Monday Night Baseball and Wide World of Sports.

 

 

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