This is the first step you'll need to take when building your chiropractic website.
Your domain name, or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address that the web uses to make it easy for humans to find your website. You use URLs every day:
are all domain names and they make it easy for patients to find your website. Web servers (we’ll get to those soon) don't use names for addresses; they use numbers. For instance, the actual computer address for Google.com is 220.127.116.11. That’s not easy for a person to remember, so we use domain names instead.
Registering a domain name is easy. For instance, we recommend using NameCheap, as their prices and customer support are great (about $11 a year for a domain).
Key Point: It’s important to know that you don’t own your domain name; you simply register it for your office and get to use it as long as you maintain that registration. You’ll have to pay each year to renew, and if you forget to renew it, you can lose your domain and someone else will register it. If you choose ChiroHosting for your website, we take care of the domain registration and annual renewal fees as part of our service.
Choosing a domain name has become more difficult over time. When the internet was new, you had a wide variety of choices for domains, but as more and more businesses get online, it’s tougher to find a unique domain. Today, a little creativity is necessary, but you have to be careful.
Here are some basic tips for choosing a great domain name for your practice:
- Try to get a .com or .net or .org domain name. Over the last few years, domain registrars have released a slew of new top level domains (TLDs) for registration, and there are about 1,500 of these available now. These include things like .health, .co, and .doctor. While Google claims that all domains are created equal and some research shows that these new domains rank OK in the search results, some of these domains are associated with spam and it’s best to avoid them. Another concern is clients who might not trust your site because of the odd domain extension.
- Start with your practice name. For instance, one of our clients has the practice name Noblesville Family Chiropractic and the domain noblesvillefamilychiropractic.com. Using your business name for your domain will also help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so it’s always good to go that route, if possible.
- Include your city name. If you can't get your practice name, create a variation with your city name. For instance, if your business name is Advanced Chiropractic, you’re going to find that there are quite a few chiropractic offices with the same name and that domain is already registered. If you’re located in Omaha, you could then search for domains like these:
Unfortunately, these domains aren’t the most user friendly, which is the next step:
- Keep your domain short and simple. While most clients will find your website via a search engine, you’ll want to put your domain on your office branding and encourage them to visit your site if they find you offline. For those cases, you’ll want to choose a domain that’s easy to remember and type. Something like:
It’s also possible to choose one main domain for your site and then also register an extra domain specifically to use for marketing, but it’s easier to keep it to one to avoid confusion.
Also, if you move or change your practice name, you'll need to change your domain name. This can be a complex process, and we cover that here.
If you're having trouble choosing a domain or need help with registration, please give us a call at (800) 295-3346. Our support staff will be able to give you some guidance and make suggestions for you.