How Concerned Should You Be About Domain Name Length?
This week I'm very happy to have a guest blog post by my colleague Luc Dermul, a Belgian online entrepreneur whose expertise is affiliate marketing. You can find Luc on his website at Affiliate Successes. Luc noticed my blog post about how to name a business and knows that domain name length is a consideration when you are thinking about what to name your business. As Luc said, when you buy professional web hosting to start up a website you'll also need to buy a domain name.
What's In A Domain Name?
In Luc's blog article “So what's in a domain name?” he said when someone hears about your domain name for the first time, they should be able to instantly and accurately guess at the content that might be there. I agree with Luc completely! If you plan to name your business after yourself you'll need a good, concise tag line that tells the user what they can expect to find inside your website (unless you are a celebrity known to millions.)
All excited about your idea of a name for your domain, you might think to use a domain name generator, only to find that the suggested domain names it gives you are all already taken and not available to you. So, you experiment with words relevant to your business to come up with a new domain name. And then the question pops up… does domain name length matter?
Domain Name Length Does Matter
While long domain names don’t affect directly your website ranking negatively, or cause you any kind of penalty in search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo, the domain name length might affect the overall user experience. This is even more true when we know that more and more people use mobile devices to search on the Internet for information. On mobile people don't like having to key in long phrases, as it takes more of their time. And, it takes them longer to get to your website if you have a long domain name. Shorter names are more memorable than long ones and stick easier in someone’s head.
Your email return address will not look so professional either. Look at this example: me@
- Email return address
- Printed on a business card
- Designed on a t-shirt or other merchandise
- How it looks in a clever online or offline advertisement
- How easy it is to key into a keyboard or a mobile device
- How memorable the domain name is
What is the maximum length for a domain name?
A domain name length can be from 1 to 63 characters. (If we include all the URL bits like “https://www” then you've got up to 253 characters.) You may also use numbers, dashes, and hyphens. I don't recommend using dashes, underscores, or hyphens in domain names, and neither does Luc. It's difficult to remember and it looks unprofessional.
The best approach to naming your domainYour domain name should not be longer than 17 characters or over 3 dictionary words. Click To Tweet This does not include the “https://www.” or extension parts like com, net, and so on. Your domain name should always represent your business and the content you will write for your online presence.
Here are a few extra tips:
- Making spelling mistakes in your domain name looks silly. So check not once but twice before purchasing the one you want.
- Most of the time it is better to stick to a .com name.
- Consider buying the other closely related TLDs (Top Level Domains) as well. As an example, my website is confidentmarketer.com but I also own theconfidentmarketer.com and a few other TLDs. This practice helps ward off imposter sites. In fact, some businesses also buy the common misspellings of their domain name.
- It's usually better to stick to words instead of inserting numbers, unless your brand specifically includes a number. As an example, if you are talking about the game of pool you might use behindthe8ball.com or the8ball.com.
- You can use an online thesaurus to try to find words closely aligned to what you want.
- You can also try using a domain name generator (Google to find them).
If you come up with a domain name that is short, catchy, and isn't already taken you are on you way to success. Just remember that domain name length matters.
Many thanks to Luc Dermul for sharing his information about domain name length with me!
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