Lately, I have been discussing the importance of making your site work for you in terms of link building, client awareness, and ways that you can help potential clients learn about your firm’s existence. Now, I want to touch on another subject that can help in this regard. With the rise of internet awareness in all industries, including law, having a website that your clients and potential clients can find is extremely important. To get better rankings on search engines like Google there are various ways to impact your placement and listing, among which is your domain name. Believe it or not, a simple .com or .net is no longer enough to assure you a place among the leaders in your profession, especially if you’re in the legal field. Domains like .lawyer and .attorney may still be slowly making their way onto the map, but as time goes on it looks like these names may actually be the next big thing in online searching and website verification.
Trusting Your Website
Something that can greatly impact your ranking with Google is whether or not they feel that your content and website is trustworthy. And one thing that makes this easier for them is if you have a .attorney or .lawyer domain. These domains are only being sold to verified lawyers and law firms, which means that Google doesn’t have to do as much guess work in verifying this information for themselves. The Law Insider says:
These new domains, being verified as belonging to attorneys, now give Google a way to trust that a site actually belongs to a lawyer. Over time, the need of people to actually know who they’re dealing with will factor into search and these new domains will be part of how Google will determine that someone is actually dealing with an attorney.
If these changes in domains continue and other law firms begin snatching up the available sites before you get a chance to change yours you may be out of luck and find yourself at the bottom of the listing once again. Unfortunately, this is no easy step to take as domains are costly, and Google isn’t fond of empty space floating around the internet.
Breaking Into The Business
Okay, so now you know why I think the .lawyer and .attorney domains are helpful for law firms in regards to assisting Google in verifying you as a firm. In addition, they also help clients place you into a specific industry category. The Business Insider advises:
Domain names are now an integral part of any business. Whether the use is primarily for email, a company website, or part of a marketing campaign anyone starting a business must secure a domain name. The difference between a domain name and other marketing expenses however is you are acquiring a presence which help future customers define you, not leasing one.
Law firms aren’t the only field getting new domains, .photography is now available, as well as .pizza, and a multitude of other endings that help categorize businesses across the world. This can help get you listed more quickly on sites that specialize in listings for local businesses as well as other online resources for your profession.
Marketing Your Firm
These new domains can also help with your marketing by giving new visual awareness of what your site supplies. This helps firms with names like “Marcus & Bloom,” for example, attract business as the ending .lawyers makes it very clear as to exactly what Marcus and Bloom do. This helps clients, other businesses, and Google understand what you do before they click the link that takes them to your web page. Now, as I mentioned above, you can’t just create a website with this style of domain and leave it sitting around for a time when you might need it. You have to get involved in transforming the site as soon as possible because blank space will leave your ranking lacking and it might be difficult to rectify once you begin to use the domain later. We Do Web Content suggests:
A word of caution, though. Google doesn’t favor domain squatters and domains with little or no quality content. So if you’re going to buy a domain name, be prepared to do something of value with it.
Having two websites up and running isn’t really a viable option for many businesses, especially if you operate a small firm, so if you purchase the domain, be ready to use it. Switch over whatever you can and close down your alternative site, or leave a link for customers to follow to the new site for a time. You can also directly link the sites for the first month or two until your existing customers know where you are, and new customers find a way to access your information.
Whether you have a large firm, a small firm, or you work independently, the .lawyer and .attorney domains can make a difference to your business. It certainly isn’t for everyone, and at the moment, the .com and .net domains haven’t quite reached a level where they’re being phased out, but these endings are no longer the future, and as the current trends begin to downsize and drift away you could find yourself in the back of the race wishing that you had thought ahead before that fateful moment.
This might be a good time to come together with other members of your firm, form a strategy as far as online business goes and discuss the pros and cons of the domain changes. You are a team of lawyers after all; somebody is bound to have a sound argument on whether or not the change will be beneficial, or if you should wait before you take the plunge. There are no set rules in this sort of online mechanics, meaning that sometimes you have to take a chance, or take a stand against change, at least for now, and continue in the traditional manner of marketing that you’ve been using thus far. The key here is to not get left behind the competition, so keep a keen eye on competitors in your area and see what they are doing as far as domain changes go.
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