Creating a New Dental Website
Part 1 - Domain Names
“We need a website but we have absolutely no idea where to start or what we need to make it happen. Can you help?”
I run across this question constantly so I’ve decided to answer this question as thoroughly as possible while keeping things very simple.
The first thing you need to decide on is a domain name. This seems minor but I urge you to put some thought into it before you proceed.
Choose a Domain that is Memorable
People will either find your site by typing in the URL, clicking on an advertisement, or using a search engine. The first method involves typing in the URL so people need to remember the name and it should not be too hard to spell.
Keep the Domain Name Short
It’s becoming much harder to keep the domain name short because so many names have already been taken. Patients need to type in the domain name without making an error so lock down TemeculaDentist.com instead of TemeculaCaliforniaDentistry.com. This will also come in handy when people need to type your email address or, worse yet, when you have to type your own email address 4,000 times in the next couple years.
Use Keywords or Phrases in the Domain When Possible
Try to use words that patients will search. For example, if you specialize in TMJ treatment and you want patients to find you if they search for “TMJ treatment” then TMJdentist.com or TMJtreatment.com are great domain names. If you have a practice in Omaha and your practice name is “Best Dental” but http://www.bestdental.com/ is already taken then try domains such as http://www.omahadentist.com/. Chances are that if your website is optimized well and the domain name is not too competitive then you may jump right to the top of the search engines for the key phrase “Omaha dentist”.
Purchase Your Own Domain Name or Verify that You Have Complete Ownership
There are a number of web development companies who purchase domain names and hold them for ransom if you decide to use another web development company. You should always have complete ownership of your domain.
To purchase a domain you can visit large hosting companies such as http://www.godaddy.com/ or http://www.networksolutions.com/. You can also use the web development company who will create your dental website but MAKE SURE YOU HAVE COMPLETE OWNERSHIP. In addition, check to see if that company will charge you a fee for the domain name should you decide to leave.
Assuming you are using one of the companies mentioned above, you will search for the domain name that you desire and verify that it is not already taken. If the domain is available, purchase it! Once purchased, you can then look into web development companies and later point your domain to their hosting servers. NOTE: You do not need to purchase a hosting package immediately. You just want to secure your domain name (usually about $10/year.)
If your desired domain name is taken but it is not being used, then it is often for sale. Most of these companies are holding the domain name hostage to resell at a higher price. If you are dead set on the domain name or if it’s a highly desirable domain name that already shows up at the top of search engines, then it may be worth investing a lot more money to secure the name.
Remember, this is a domain name that you will eventually use on all of your marketing materials, use for your email address, and announce over the radio or in passing to friends, patients, and potential patients.
New Dental Web