The domain is your website address or name. For example, FamilyDental.com. Be sure your office web site domain is registered to you or your business. Your domain name is a business asset, it has value. It is as much a part of your business as the name, the logo, and the patient records.
Sometimes web site providers will register the names to themselves. This is convenient for them but bad for the dentist. If the web provider owns the domain they have control. Depending on your contract some web developers will even claim to own your website content. This can result in big problems if you ever want to change web providers or even worse if the provider you are using goes out of business.
In order to check to see if you own your existing name there is an online database called whois that will tell you who owns every registered Internet domain name. Type in the name you want to check into whois and you will see who owns the name. If you thought you owned it but find your web company is the registered owner, ask them politely to transfer the registration to you.
You are not limited to a single domain name. You can and should own multiple names that all re-direct to your primary web site. This includes your name and variations on your name. You can check to see if a domain is available and then buy it at any domain registry, for example, Go Daddy. Type your name into the box and see if it available. If it is, buy it immediately. It should cost no more than $30.00 and will likely be much less.
If your name is John Jones or Mary Smith it is already taken. However, you may be able to find a variation. For example, try the full name like Johnathon in place of John, or add your initial. You should also look for and buy your name with dds on the end and or dr on the beginning. For example johnathonjonesdds or drjohnathonjones. Don’t stop with your actual name but register your practice name and any variations you can think of.
Once you own a domain it is yours for life as long as you pay the annual registration fee. You can use it yourself or sell it in the future.
by Dr. Larry Emmott