Choosing the domain name for your website is one of the first decisions you will have to make when getting started in social media. It is also one of the most important decisions you will make.
Options for a domain name
For healthcare providers, there are essentially three options. You can use your own name or a variation of it. You can use your practice name. Or you can use a clever “nickname,” like kneeinjurydoctor.com. Each has its pros and cons.
Using a practice, hospital or institution name
Using your practice or group name might help you with your Google search rankings, especially in your town. If you’re in a group practice, you might be concerned about what happens to the content you create if you ever leave. Do you own those posts and Twitter followers, or does your practice?
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Using a clever “nickname”
A clever nickname is a popular option for all types of websites. Healthcare is no different. Certainly this practical domain name will help people find you in search results. If someone was searching “knee injury,” then kneeinjurydoctor.com will probably appear fairly high.
The problem with this approach is that people might not learn your name. Your brand is built on that name, not your name. That’s fine with many people. If you want to build up name recognition to write a book, start public speaking, do more media interviews, etc., you might not want to go that route.
Using your name
Obviously I’m biased by the third option – using your name or variation of it. It has a major drawback, though.
When you’re starting out, people won’t find your site when searching Google, unless they look for your name specifically. Typically only patients in your city will search that way. To increase your rankings, you have to increase your traffic. You will have to write content frequently to help you rank for relevant keywords related to your field. As more people find your site through searches for particular illnesses, injuries or other terms, your traffic will increase. Slowly your site’s overall visibility will improve.
I realize that SEO “experts” can make changes to your site and its posts to help search rankings. Google continually changes is algorithms, though, so many of these manipulated sites get punished. Write quality content about topics people want to read and are searching for and you will be fine.
Try to use a .com extension
Also try to get a .com extension instead of .net, .me or others if possible. People naturally look for sites by entering .com. Despite a flurry of new extensions in recent years, I doubt our mindset about domain names will change.
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Use the same “name” everywhere
Finally, regardless of what domain name you choose, make it your identity on all social media platforms. For example, my Twitter handle is @DrDavidGeier. I use Facebook.com/DrDavidGeier. I use Dr. David Geier on LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and more. Consistency is important. You want to make it easy for people to find you.
Think through your options carefully before you get started and make the decision that is best for you and your goals online.