We often get asked, “Which domain name is best for my practice”.
Before we dive deeper, I would like to clarify for those who may not know a domain name is a website’s address; it is the address (also known as URL – Uniform Resource Locator) that patients will type in the browser search bar or Google to visit your website.
Domain names are available in many extensions such as .com and .co.uk (most popular) .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more. In addition, there are even new domain extensions such as .dental and .skin!
The extensions we recommend are in this order:
- .co.uk for UK-based practices
- .dental (Available only for purchase on GoDaddy)
If available, try and register both .co.uk and .com for brand protection to avoid a competitor registering the domain and confusing your patients – we have seen this happen, and usually not out of malice.
You can buy your desired domain names from one of the many domain name registrars such as UKReg, 123-Reg and GoDaddy. A domain name is renewable annually, so you never actually own a domain name. Instead, you buy the right of use annually (a bit like a lease).
In this video, we show you how to register a domain name using UKReg (our favourite domain registrar)
Selecting a name
We recommend choosing a name that is short and memorable. You should be able to easily share your domain name when speaking and in written communications without giving rise to typos.
Including the word ‘dental’ or ‘dentist’ and your practice location can be beneficial for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). However, if you plan to open multiple practices with the same name, you should stick to a non-geographic name.
If your domain name is available without the location, e.g. escapedental.co.uk, then we suggest not adding the location to the domain name as the shorter name is more memorable. If, however, the domain name is unavailable on its own like above, then adding the location is a second best option e.g escapedentalislington.co.uk.
If a practice already has the domain name you want, they are in another part of the country, and their name is not trademarked – you may be tempted to register the name using a hyphen. E.g escape-dental.co.uk because escapedental.co.uk is taken. Remember that even though the practice isn’t your direct competitor, your patients may end up at the wrong website. Any confusion for patients adds a break in your user journey.
It is important to cover your bases on Trademarks and Social media, so please read this article How to change your dental practice name, without losing patients if you are still deciding on a name.
If you are looking to buy multiple domains such as ‘invisalignislington.co.uk’ and redirect it to your main domain name e.g to ‘escapedental.co.uk’ then we can confirm that there is no benefit in doing this. Google will not rank you higher for owning the keyword domain above just because of the name itself.
If you have been advised, or ever thought of purchasing keyword domains e.g ‘invisalignislington.co.uk’ and more, read Should I buy a keyword domain name and put a website on it?
There are scenarios where a redirect makes perfect sense. Usually, if you are changing your practice name and want to redirect website traffic from a past domain to your new practice name, it would work well. This article covers redirects in more detail: If I redesign my site, will I lose years of hard work on the SEO and link building?
I want to change my domain name
If you already have a domain and are looking to switch, ask yourself the following question:
Have I had any SEO done to my old domain? You might lose rankings (albeit temporarily) when you transition to the new domain. It also takes longer to rank a new domain than one that has been active for some time. Read more: If I redesign my site, will I lose years of hard work on the SEO and link building?
- Set your domain to auto-renew, so you don’t worry about losing ownership.
- When purchasing a domain name, keep bank details on file with the registrar instead of a credit card. Credit / Debit cards expire and can cause your domain to fail renewal. If you miss the renewal reminders (which happens all the time to clients who lost access to an email address), it can be a disaster trying to recover a lost domain name due to failed payment!