Why Every Lawyer Should Own Their Personal Domain
We all know that developing an online presence is critical. One easy way to start building your online presence, or take control of your online presence, is by using a personal domain. This is why I firmly believe that every lawyer should own their personal domain.
What is a Personal Domain Name?
A personal domain name is simply a website address, also known as a URL, made up of your first and last name. For example, the URL of my personal domain is RobertTheofanis.com. (I’ve redirected it to my state bar profile; see #7 below.)
Here’s a real-life example:
Darren Kavinoky is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. I’ve never met him, but I know he’s a fantastic marketer. I hear his ads on the radio all the time. He’s done an incredible job branding his firm as “1-800-NO-CUFFS”. But Darren doesn’t just rely on his firm’s website to market himself.
He has a personal website, using his personal domain name, DarrenKavinoky.com. Darren uses this domain to blog about non-legal-related topics and advertise his services as a speaker and personality. The most popular items on his blog, according to social shares calculated by BuzzSumo, are about his experience attempting to run across the USA in 2017. Additionally, his personal website complements his law firm site because he is able to post law-related items that would seem out of place on a criminal defense firm website, such as posts on Constitution Day and pop-culture legal cases.
Above all, Darren’s personal website serves to humanize him. From a quick review of his posts, I can see what he’s into and what he cares about. I suspect this was a conscious decision because he’s decided to market his law firm using a non-personal brand, 1-800-NO-CUFFS. The path Darren’s taken won’t be right for every lawyer, but it’s a great example of the power of a website hosted on a personal domain.
Are you convinced? If so, click the button below for click-by-click instructions on how to obtain and set up your personal domain.Yes, I Want To Set Up My Personal Domain
If not, hopefully I can persuade you by the end of this article.
10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your Personal Domain Name
#1: Google Search Results
How many times do you Google opposing counsel as soon as you get an email or letter from them? Practically everyone does this, right? Which means people are Googling your name all the time.
If you want to exert some control over the results, a personal domain name is a good start. It’s extremely easy to put up skeletal site that serves, essentially, as an online business card. You can build it out as much or as little as you like.
#2: Personal Ownership of Marketing Assets
You may be thinking, “My firm has a website, why do I need my own?” The answer is you should personally own as many of your marketing assets as you can.
With ownership comes both control and portability.
If you change firms, do you think the old firm is going to happily transfer over a bunch of intellectual property (i.e., articles, blog posts, white papers, client alerts, etc.) to you? With a personal domain, you can easily use your blog to publish or republish these materials. If you end up switching firms, you’d just update the “About Me” page.
#3: Perfect Excuse to Start Your Legal Blog
Speaking about legal blogs, you should 100% start one, like today. Much has been written about the benefits of starting a legal blog, so I’ll keep it short:
Starting a legal blog will help your career because:
- You’ll become a better lawyer because you’ll be researching and analyzing new legal topics or diving deeper into topics you already have experience with.
- You’ll become a better writer because you’ll be constantly drafting and editing pieces you find interesting, not just rote discovery requests or boring motions.
- You’ll learn new technological skills such as WordPress, search engine optimization, web analytics, and content marketing.
- And you’ll have fun meeting like minded professionals via the online legal community.
#4: Take Control of Your Personal Brand
Branding is important for attorneys. In large part, your brand determines whether you’ll be able to obtain work, whether it be from a client or from a partner at your firm. If you don’t like the word “brand,” think of it as taking control of your reputation. No matter what you call it, your brand includes your online presence. Owning your personal domain allows you to start taking control.
#5: Personalized Email Addresses Look like a Million Bucks
If you own a domain, you can use an email host to set up email. For example, for this site, I use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. It looks great and let’s people know that this website is a serious endeavor.
StLouisDivorceAttorney287@gmail.com is neither cool nor professional.
But FirstName@FirstNameLastName.com is both cool and professional.
#6: Keep Squatters Out
Maybe you’re not too jazzed about starting your own legal blog or website. Okay, that’s fine. But, there’s nothing stopping anyone from buying any available domain name (for the most part). So, if your personal domain is available, it’s up for grabs.
Domains are cheap (see below), so why risk someone grabbing yours before you do? You’ll end up paying much more to purchase it from someone than if its freely available.
#7: You Can Redirect Your Personal Domain to Another Website
Along the same lines, if you’re not ready to start a blog, then you can easily set up a redirect to point your domain somewhere else on the web. Think of a redirect as akin to mail forwarding.
When someone types in your personal domain name, rather than displaying your site, the internet browser would take them to another website of your choosing. You could use your LinkedIn page, firm profile, or state bar profile. It’s a good way to stake a claim to your personal URL without have to set up a website. For example, I currently have https://roberttheofanis.com redirected to my state bar profile.
#8: Create an Online CV
#9: Buying a Personal Domain Name is Cheap
Most “.com” domain names only cost about $15 per year. And web hosting is not much more expensive, $3 to $4 per month. For less than the cost of one fancy lunch, you can own your own website.
#10: Your Personal Domain Name is Portable
If you decide that you’d rather not build your own blog or website yourself, you can always transfer it to a service like WordPress.com, Wix, or Square Space that will provide hosting and web design services for you.
Buying your own personal domain is extremely easy. I’ve used a few domain registrars/web hosts, as a customer, I recommend Site Ground. The prices are great, and the customer service is A+. Moreover, they don’t kill you with up-sells, like some of their competitors do.
Other popular alternatives include Hover for domain registration and Blue Host for web hosting services. I don’t recommend you go with a super low cost web host. As with most things in life, you’ll get what you pay for.
(Affiliate Disclosure: I earn a commission for customers I refer to these companies. However, I only refer readers to companies that I either use myself or have thoroughly vetted.)
If you need some help getting through the process, click the button below for a click-by-click guide.Okay, Now I’m Sold. Tell Me How To Set Up My Personal Domain