Choosing a domain name for your website is a critical piece of the puzzle when developing your online presence. Although there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to crafting a URL, there are a few guidelines that you’ll want to follow when developing your URL. These guidelines are designed to help you keep your brand image consistent and increase your search engine optimization or SEO.
First, let’s break down exactly what a URL is. A URL or Uniform Resource Locator is a complete web address. It is the entirety of the text in the address bar, most often located at the top of your browser. Several pieces comprise your URL. We’ll start from the beginning.
The protocol is the first few characters of your URL, which consists of a combination of letters that end in “//.” The protocol indicates how data transfers from your site to the user. The important thing to know about the protocol is that it signifies whether or not your site has an SSL certificate and is secure. If it is secure, your protocol will be ‘https://.’ If it is not secure, your protocol will be ‘http://.’ We broke down why every veterinary site needs to have an SSL certificate.
Next is the root domain name, which is the piece of the URL that is customizable. When choosing a root domain, you’ll want to keep it short and relevant. It should be easy enough for people to remember and relevant enough for most to guess. For example, if your clinic’s name is Mulberry Animal Clinic, “www.mulberryanimalclinic.com” is a great place to start. If you decide on a domain, but it is already in use, you can try abbreviating words or removing words altogether. In our example’s case, a good alternative would be mulberryanimal.com. Refrain from using replacement words that alter your clinic’s name or are irrelevant to your practice. If our example chose “mulberryanimalhospital.com,” this could create confusion amongst visitors of the site and potentially turn them away from booking an appointment if they cannot verify that the clinic’s site is actually the location they are looking for. Along with causing confusion, this type of substitution also makes for an inconsistent brand image.
When adding pages to your site, you will have to ability to customize each page’s URL. These pages will always begin with the URL you have created, followed by an additional domain name. Here is another opportunity for you to customize your URL. At WhiskerCloud, SEO drives most of the decisions we make when building a site. Our goal is to get your site to the top of Google, which will direct traffic and drive visitors to your site to book an appointment. Our web team takes the additional step of creating a relevant URL for each page while providing distinct information about your business. For example, on a services page, we will put ‘services’ in the domain name and include the clinic’s location.
Creating a URL may seem like a simple thing to do in the scope of building your website; however, there are many pieces of the web address that, when customized effectively, can help increase traffic to your site.
Does your URL help with SEO?
According to Moz, URL selection has a little impact on SEO, but not a ton. URLs are a minor ranking factor search engines use when determining a particular page or resource’s relevance to a search query. While they give weight to the authority of the overall domain itself, keyword use in a URL can also act as a ranking factor.
While using a URL that includes keywords can improve your site’s search visibility, URLs themselves generally do not significantly impact a page’s ability to rank. So, while it’s worth thinking about, don’t create otherwise unuseful URLs simply to include a keyword in them.
WhiskerCloud hosts your domain for free!
Keeping track of DNS records, domain renewals, and uptime is a full-time job, and our team handles all of it for you. In addition to building beautiful custom veterinary websites, we also help you select the right domain for your new website and make sure that it’s structured properly for a better user experience.
WhiskerCloud’s tips for choosing the right domain:
- Keep it short and sweet. Complex domains mean more room for error when users are typing or searching for your website.
- Avoid hyphens, underscores, and numbers if possible. Picking a domain that is clear for people to type in when hearing it is key. You don’t want people to get an error when searching for your website because they missed a hyphen, underscore, or mistyped in a number.
- Go local if you can. Unless your brand name is available, using your city and service is your best option. For example, if CaringHeartVeterinaryCare.com is unavailable, go for DenverVetCare.com instead. This contains your city and is simple and easy to type.