Choosing a domain name can be an exciting process that makes your practice feel more legitimate. If you have a child, you might remember feeling like you were determining your child’s future path with your name choice. Similarly, picking the domain name for your private practice can feel like a momentous decision that could impact the success of your business. How important is your domain name?
In truth, your domain name is one of the most valuable assets for your private practice. (No pressure.)
While digging for magic in a bottle, there are a few rules of thumb to consider before planting your roots and claiming your domain.
Guidelines When Picking a Domain Name for Your Private Practice
Your domain should follow these basic three guidelines:
- Easy to spell
- Short enough to use on business cards and other marketing materials
Where Do You Want to Grow?
When picking a domain, our top top is to be forward-thinking about what you envision for the growth of your private practice. Some considerations that may impact your domain choice include:
- Do you have aspirations of becoming a group practice? If so, do not use your name as your domain.
- Do you plan to add products or tangential services to your offerings? For example, if you are currently a solo practitioner, might you start selling related products or offering retreats or conferences?
- Can your services be grouped into multiple distinct categories, such as therapy and coaching?
While it’s possible to rebrand if needed in the future because, let’s face it, life happens… it’s optimal to try to think ahead now to minimize future disruption.
Take it from us, rebranding takes a lot of time, energy, and determination!
Should You Use Your Name for Your Domain Name?
Most clients ask us if they should use their personal name as their business domain. Using your name can be a great option if you plan to remain a solo practitioner. A domain that incorporates your name can also help others find you in search results.
Some considerations about using your name include:
- How easy is it to spell your name? We don’t recommend using your full name if your name is hard to spell.
- How long is your name? We don’t recommend using your full name if it is long. For example, our psychologist client Dr. Dianne Kraaijvanger opted not to use her name because it’s long (and hard to spell). Instead, she decided to follow the three guidelines and chose drdiannek.com because it’s short, memorable, and easier to spell.
- How easy is it to pronounce your name? If you can’t tell someone your domain name at a conference or on the phone without having to spell it repeatedly, don’t use it.
When to use your name:
- If you plan to remain in private practice as a solo practitioner
- Your name is easy to spell, short, and a cinch to remember
One note: If you decide not to use your name, we still recommend buying your domain name even if you never plan to use it. In today’s world, it’s important to protect your online identity, and owning your own domain is one piece of that puzzle.
If You Don’t Use Your Name for Your Domain Name
If you’ve decided not to use your name for your do, there are several other great options to consider. Now is the time to define your Ideal Client Avatar to identify the main pain point of your ideal client.
For example, if you are therapist you might consider these combinations:
- Condition + Treatment (DepressionCounseling.com, DepressionHope.com)
- Condition + Treatment + Location (DepressionCounselingAtlanta.com)
- Population + Treatment (ChildTherapy.com)
Which Domain Extension to Buy
There are enough domain extensions available today to make your head swirl.
If you live in the United States, get a .com domain which is easiest for people to remember and still has the most credibility.
If the .com of your preferred name is taken, we recommend picking out a new domain name rather than going for .net. If you are a larger corporation or nonprofit, .org is a great extension. Other choices tend to look unprofessional and can be hard to remember.
Where to Buy Your Domain
We recommend using one of the following:
Google Domains: If you also want a branded email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, purchasing your domain at Google Domains makes it very easy to sign up for Google Workspace at the same time where you get access to a branded email along with other fabulous business collaboration tools and storage.
Namecheap: If you’re just looking for a one-and-done domain purchase with the low prices and no frills, it’s hard to beat Namecheap.
If Your Domain Name Isn’t Available
Picture this scenario: You have decided on the perfect domain name. It’s either your name or a perfectly composed name that will capture your ideal clients while best representing your practice goals and values. You feel complete, excited, inspired. You log onto Google Domains and… your domain is unavailable.
Deflation ensues. Sadness, anger, denial. You can feel like you’ve missed the boat and that your perfect catalyst to private practice domination has left the building. You might even check out who has the domain. Even more punishing can be when the domain isn’t even being used is just parked, sitting there mocking you and your delay in getting your online act together.
Allow yourself a moment of despair, and then buck up and move on. There are still plenty of great domain names available, and we help private practices just like you find them every day.
Now go claim your seat at the online table of private practice legitimacy, and buy your domain!
What Creates a Successful Brand?
Learn the five key steps that your brand needs to have in place to create a successful brand identity.
Growing Your Private Practice Reach
If you want a branding or marketing strategy that will connect, get you noticed, and make your ideal clients choose you over your competitors, contact us. We have helped hundreds of private practices just like yours nail their branding and marketing, book more clients, and build more income.
Let’s grow your practice and get you noticed.