How important is having a good domain name for your practice website? Well, it is often the first thing prospective clients and clients see, hear, say and type. Your domain is part of your overall brand.
Perhaps even more importantly, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), your domain name is also a critical component for search engines like Google.
With that being said – what’s in a name?
Let’s explore some notoriously popular domain names. What do you think of the following names?
- cpain.nyc – CPA in New York City
- speedofart.com – Speed of Art
Your choice of words are important when selecting a good domain name. Often, however, there is a tradeoff between good branding and good search engine optimization (SEO).
For example, if you have a new or growing practice you want to show up better in search engines or get more traffic to your website, you may want to have service keywords like “tax,” “accounting” and/or “bookkeeping” along with your city or geo location within your domain. Google and other search engines put a lot of weight on these domain keywords when determining which sites to show for given accounting and tax searches.
On the flip side, if you are a more established practice with an established brand name and you are not as concerned with showing up in Google, you may want to choose a name that not only represents who you are and your business, but also something that is easy to remember and promote.
Here are some tips that will help when choosing a domain name:
1. Use of service/geography keywords.
Including the service that you provide and/or the city/state in your domain name makes it easy for local customers to find and they won’t need to guess what it is that you do. A great example of that would be: https://www.dcmetrotax.com/ - Easy to detect that this person does tax in the DC Metro area. More importantly, using service and/or location keywords in your domain will also give you a boost in your search engine rankings.
2. Use of “CPA” or “Enrolled Agent.”
Only use “CPA” or “Accountant” in your domain name if you are actively registered as a CPA or Public Accountant in your state. These are good keywords to use in your domain, if you are able to do so, for reputation building and SEO. However, you should check your state accountant governing board for their specific rules on this. Similarly, Enrolled Agents, may choose to use “ea” or “enrolled agent” in their domain names. However, we have found that these terms can sometimes look confusing when spelled altogether. For example, the domain “eatax.com” which looks like EAT ax. In addition, few consumers search for “EA” or “enrolled agent” in Google, so using these may not give you much of a SEO boost in search engines.
3. Choose easy to type/easy to pronounce domain.
This might be easier said than done in cases where you are using your name as your domain name. However, in other cases, try to choose a name that is easy to remember, pronounce and spell. This makes it easier for word-of-mouth referrals or when visitors try to type it in.
4. Domain extension (.com, .net, .org, .tax) – Always go with .com and don’t use dashes.
Majority rules on this one. When thinking about any website, people will assume .com is the best one, and in most cases, it is. If your first choice isn’t available in the “.com,” it is usually best not to settle for the “.net” or “.org” or other domain extensions. Also, do not add dashes in the name. In fact, sometimes if you use the “.net” or “.org” or dashed versions of the domain, your competitor may have the “.com” version -- then you may be inadvertently sending your clients to your competition’s website when your clients accidentally type the “.com” instead of your “.net” or domain with dashes. In some cases, you might try a “.tax” domain as they definitely get attention and are unique, but they are a bit more expensive and you still may have the situation where another accountant has the “.com” version.
Generally speaking, the shorter then domain, the better, especially when it comes to branding and ease of your clients being able to remember it and type it in. Shorter domain names are typically easier to register across social media platforms and also when it comes to your email addresses. However, some practices may choose to use a longer domain for SEO purposes with the service and/or location keywords, and then a short domain for email addresses. This can cause some confusion though, so it is not something we usually recommend.
Check the domain availability tool in Enom or other domain registration sites to see which domains are available. However, whether or not the domain name is available, you may also want to consult with a trademark attorney and/or your state accounting board, state and/or local business name registries to see if there are any concerns. You should also see if your naming will work well on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. to make sure you can have a social media screen name that matches your domain. Having the same name on all networks will help with building your online presence and brand. For example, if you are thinking about using “JoeSmithCPA.com” you may want to see if twitter.com/JoeSmithCPA is available.
7. Ask experts for advice.
Before purchasing your domain name, ask a trusted accounting digital marketing company like ClientWhys for suggestions or for the various pros and cons if you are debating between several domain names. If you are concerned about domains that may be difficult to pronounce or spell, try to give the domain name to someone over the phone to see if they get it without you having to spell each letter.
If you are an accounting, tax or bookkeeping professional and have questions about your website, tips on your domain name or how you can generate more referrals online, contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 or set up some time speak with one of our accountant marketing experts.