Ross's Top 10 Law Firm Domain Name Mistakes (Part II)
Last week I discussed Ross's Domain Name Rules 1-5, how to ensure that your website is easy for prospects to find, and that you're using best practices in selecting your domain name. Here are Ross's Rules 6-10; I hope it's helpful.
6. Don’t use the ampersand.
Baker & McKenzie shouldn’t use BakerAndMckenzie.com as the primary site. The legal industry standard moved away from using the "and" a decade ago. Of course, it might not have been the case back when they first selected it, but that’s how things have evolved. So if your domain name still uses "and" in the middle, it's probably OK, but consider changing it. Or at least adding the option, both ways.
7. Own your own name.
If you're Smith & Wachowski and SmithWachowski.com is not available and no legitimate company is using that name, it's probably being illegally cybersquatted. You should own your own name, so do the research re how to write the threatening lawyer-letter to get it back. (That's a relatively rare occurrence because the penalties are pretty harsh, but before its demise, the Lyon & Lyon law firm had to deal with the unfortunate LyonAndLyon.com catering company.) There are other examples, I just can't think of them at the moment.
8. Don’t use initials.
If your URL uses more than 2-3 initials, stop it. Top employment boutique Laner Muchin Dombrow Becker Levin & Tominberg knew they needed to switch from the impossible-to-remember LMDBLT.com to simply LanerMuchin.com. Yes, of course in all professional-services firms there are egos, insecurities, and internal political issues involved. Deal with it. Or at least understand that you're making it harder for all of the firm's clients to communicate with all of the firm's lawyers because someone farther down the letterhead either:
- Insists that his/her initial remain in the URL, or
- Doesn’t want the first-named lawyer(s) emphasized over his/hers.
Of course, we're used to it. It's not ideal, but it is what it is. Think about it -- which is easier to remember, FraileyChaffin.com (still available), or FCCPSM.com?
I wrote the first draft of this post quite a while ago. The FCCPSLMNOP firm apparently lost a couple names and logo initials, but kept the FCCPSM.com domain name. That's waaayyy too long. I don't know these guys from Adam, but you gotta know that the locals call them either "Frailey Chaffin" or simply "the Frailey firm." Because, you know, it's a good name! (Pssst, don't tell Messrs. Cordell, Perryman, Sterkel, McCalla or Brown I said that.)
FYI, FraileyChaffin.com is still available. In two days I'm going to buy it then sell it back to them at a mark-up. Clock's ticking.
The exception is if you have (1) a short name and (2) few initials. Litigation boutique Schopf & Weiss used SW.com, which was fine as long as SchopfWeiss.com also works. Which it does. [I mean "did." They're now part of Honigman] I'll bet they can sell SW.com to someone for seven figures. Southwest Airlines, perhaps?
9. Two equally good options.
If you are identified by two good choices (e.g. Skadden and Skadden Arps), make sure BOTH of them work (i.e. Skadden.com and SkaddenArps.com). Ensure that the email addresses work for both versions too.
10. If your firm name is easy to misspell.
That is, what do you do if you worked at the LeBoeuf law firm? [R.I.P] Think objectively, how hard would it be for a prospect who has heard of you to find you if you have a hard-to-spell name like Thacher Proffitt (R.I.P.). Granted, Google today helps with common misspellings but, regardless, use all of them.
It's easy to forward all possible misspellings to the real website.
Don’t make clients work to find you -- it's like needing to know how to spell the word before you can look it up in the dictionary. Help me find you. Chamberlain Hrdlicka wisely uses ChamberlainLaw.com. But I'd also like chamberlainhrdlicka.com to work.
Remember, good marketing means simple, clear communication.
In today's frenzied society, people have limited time and short attention spans. If they can't find you quickly, they'll simply go find someone else.
Or perhaps marketing training or Ethics CLE?
Contact Ross at 1.847.432.3546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.