Should You Have A Hyphen In Your Domain Name?

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So, should you have a hyphen in your domain name? The answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. While there are many reasons that people use hyphens in their domain names, the most common reason is for branding purposes. A lot of businesses like using them because they want their brand to be more memorable and stick out from the rest of the competition. However, if you’re not sure about whether or not you should put a dash in your name, don’t worry! We’ve compiled some pros and cons below so that you can make an informed decision on what’s best for your business!

Quick recommendations for choosing a great domain name

  • Make sure that your domain name isn’t too long: 20 characters is the magic number when it comes to a memorable address. If you mention this address to someone else, they should be able to recall it when they get a chance because of how short-lasting 20 character limit is.
  • Think about what you want people to search for when they land on your website. A lot of the time, this will be two words or even three (like ours!). However, if yours is more than three, try and stick with only one word in between them. For example “Ryan’s Paintings” instead of something like “RyansPaintingsByRyan”. This way it’ll be easier for customers to remember!
  • Try not to use numbers unless they’re part of an acronym (ex: 42U). It might sound silly but a lot of times number names get mistaken as spammy websites because their owners are trying to game Google by buying up a bunch of numbers in a single word.
  • When it comes to words, use things that people actually want! Make sure the name you choose isn’t just some random combination of letters and symbols that don’t have any meaning behind it. You don’t want customers getting confused about what your site is all about when they land on it for the first time!
  • If possible, try using a .com extension whenever possible. It’s not required but a lot of individuals will see a website with one as being more trustworthy than an address without one so why not go ahead and add this extra bit of credibility?
  • Keywords are important, but clever phrases are even more so. Your domain name should be easy to read and catchy. If your top domain choice is not available, consider including a keyword as part of it. Let’s say you run Richard Cafe in Los Angeles and are disappointed to discover that is already taken; however, there is an excellent alternative: richardscafela . Other variations include visitrichardcafe (visit our website), or even just using “The” before the business name like “the Richard cafe.”
recommendations for choosing a great domain name

Should You Have a Hyphen in Your Domain Name?

When you want to register a domain name with two or more words in it and don’t have space between them, the hyphen is your only option. So using a dash in the domain name is the only way to go, right?

Not quite. There are a number of reasons that people use hyphens in their domain names and not all of them have to do with branding purposes. A lot of businesses like using hyphens because it helps customers remember what they’re looking for easier than if there was no dash at all!

How would you like your domain name to represent the site’s content? Some people feel that hyphens are spammy, while others enjoy seeing them on sites. Recently I came across an article about a ranking benefit from having one – but is this really true or has anyone seen any examples recently where someone’s rank changed after using their registered trademark as part of their branding effort with search engines?

I would say that hyphens are more common in names for landing pages or subdomains.

Should You Have a dash in Your Domain Name Should You Have A Hyphen In Your Domain Name?
A hyphen in a domain name? Depends…

Pros for the hyphen

Easier to remember: a lot of business owners use hyphens because it makes their brand easier for customers to remember. When someone tells you or even reads the name out loud, they’ll easily be able to pick up on what your site is all about instead of getting confused by random letters and numbers that don’t mean anything at first glance.

More professional looking: if yours isn’t one word with no spaces between them then chances are high that you’re going to see some sort of dash in there somewhere! This shows potential customers right off the bat that yours is an established business so why not take advantage? A good domain name can help build trust which leads directly into sales later on down the line!

Generic domain names are more available when using dashes/hyphens. Especially with a .com, .au or another popular extension that suits you best.

Some believe there are still SEO benefits to non-hyphenated domains, but it is no longer so important as search engines have become quite adept at differentiating between individual words in a domain or anchor text.

Even John Muller by Google answered that question recently in a hangout.

The question was

“Is it OK to choose a domain name with two hyphens? Or is one hyphen better or should hyphens be avoided completely?”

Google’s John Mueller answered:

“Up to you. Whatever you think makes sense. Some websites have hyphens, some don’t. I don’t think anything in our algorithms looks specifically for hyphens in domain names.”

See his answer to the question at the 41:30 Minute Mark

Hangout with Google’s John Muller

Cons against the hyphen

Dashes and Hyphens: although there are a lot of benefits to using dashes over spaces, it also means that you’ll have to use one more character than if you just used two words without any separators. It might not seem like much but this could be important for search engine optimization (SEO), especially when trying to rank high on Google! Not only does using these tricks help people find your site easier, it also helps improve your site’s ranking so more potential customers can see what makes yours unique from everyone else out there!

Spam sites: back in the early 2000s some businesses would go ahead and buy up all sorts of numbers after their business names because it was so cheap and easy to do at the time. This also worked for some brands because it helped them stand out more than if they had a hyphenated name instead – even though Google did eventually crackdown on this practice later on!

Negative connotations: using dashes in your domain name isn’t really that important anymore unless you’re trying to get into search engines but there are still reasons why people might not like seeing these separators all over their screen when browsing sites. One of the most common complaints is that these symbols make things look unprofessional, especially with big companies who have been around for decades without adding any sort of dash or another separator within their names before! It’s true; sometimes simplicity is key which is why just using two words may be the best for you instead of trying to get fancy with dashes, underscores, or other symbols.

Two Words: remember how we mentioned that sometimes simpler is better? That applies here as well! If your name consists of only one word then hyphenating it might not make much sense especially if you’re looking to target people who are searching online for what your site offers them specifically. For example; a blog post about blogging should use “blog” in its domain name because there aren’t any other relevant keywords needed to answer someone’s search query!

It’s more difficult to advertise for – radio, word of mouth, etc.

You might not be able to re-sell your domain as easily if the name of it has a hyphen in it, but that’s probably because people would know exactly who you are talking about.

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Author: Richard Buettner
B2B SaaS marketing a challenge? Not for me! With my proven track record, I'll execute inbound and content strategies that deliver. Let's grow your business - and enjoy the ride!

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