Buying a Domain
Buying a domain is one of the easiest parts of constructing a law firm website. Hell, you may have already purchased two or three domains and are sitting on them, waiting to turn them into full-blown sites.
Generally, I recommend A2 Hosting for purchasing domains and simple web hosting (though I use WiredTree for hosting my client’s sites). A2 offers domain registration for $12.95 per year (web hosting is extra but pretty cheap).
There are plenty of other alternatives to A2. HostGator is a good solution and is recommended by Lawyerist.com, the legal marketing blog that I co-own. And GoDaddy is used by many people who tell me it does what they need. But domains are cheap. The harder question is what domain name should you buy?
.com or .net or Both?
I recommend buying the .com and .net domain extensions and not much else. If you are inclined to buy a more exotic domain extension (many Minnesota lawyers like to buy the .mn extension, which is actually the extension used for Mongolia) go ahead, but I doubt you’ll use them or ever need them. But, hey, they’re cheap, so if it matters to you, buy more.
A more difficult decision is the actual domain name. Try to pick a short and meaningful name. If you are a solo attorney, your name plus the .com extension works well (like gregoryluce.com). Or your name plus “law.” There are endless varieties, but the general rule is the shorter the better. And in some practice areas, inclusion of a specific practice area in the domain may help search engine optimization (SEO). In the end, and before you plunk down some money on one or two domains, run the names by your friends, colleagues, and loved ones to get their gut reactions and feedback.
Video: Setting Up Your Own Domain
When I was at the Minnesota State Bar Association, I put together a video that walks you through purchasing and installing a domain (and installing WordPress). That video is still available here and below (and other videos are also available). The purchase and installation process at A2, however, may have changed slightly since I made the video, but not by much.