I’ve seen the “dot com” domain name question many times, but it’s still one that confuses people and I finally came to a black and white decision on exactly what kind of domain names to buy, and what to stay away from, a couple of years ago. Terri from By America For America again posted this great question a few days ago and it always begs for an explanation.
My rule for domain names is pretty simple, unless you have an organization, never, ever buy anything other than a .com name and unless your company name has a dash in it, never, ever buy a domain name with a dash in it. Of course you might want a .mobi name for your mobile phone web site or a country suffix if it is required.
Dot com names have been the most popular domains on the internet since day one. It’s what we all matured on the net with and when you know the name of a company, but don’t know their url, the first thing you’re going to search on is some form of their company name followed by a, you guessed it, dot com. Unless you are trying to be real cute with your domain and come up with something very brandable or memorable like WhatDoYouThinkOf.us, there isn’t any reason for a business to buy anything other than a .com name.
Why no dashes? I learned this the hard way when I bought www.i-work-at-home-based-business-opportunity.com. Stupid, just plain stupid. I was a noobie affiliate marketer and though I would be smart in trying to stuff as many keywords into my domain name as possible and make it easy to read. There are all those keywords, work at home, home base business, business opportunity. What was I thinking? It’s six dashes too many.
That domain has never done well except at the very beginning when I was getting around 200 people a day. After about six months Google and MSN deindexed it and even though I’ve tweaked that monster for 3 or so years and it is now indexed by Big G, I only get about 60 visitors a day (MSN still won’t index a single page of that site). I have read that having too many dashes in your domain devalues it in the eyes of the search engines. But the truth is, no one really knows.
However, there is a much better reason not to put dashes in your domain name. Let’s take a look at a situation where I’m trying to tell someone that long domain name over the phone:
Client – What’s your url?
Me – It’s uh, double-u, double-u, double-u dot i dash work dash at dash home dash based dash business dash opportunity dot com.
Client – What, could you repeat that a little slower?
Me – double-u, double-u, double-u dot… i… dash… work… dash… at… dash… home… dash… based… dash… business… dash… opportunity… dot com.
Client – You work at where?
Get the picture?
You don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you have to spend more than 5 seconds telling someone your domain name. Unless you find a name that is very catchy and brandable I try to find a keyword that fits well with my concept for the site and make the name as short as possible. If you have to explain your domain name to someone, it loses it’s appeal and it more than likely won’t be remembered. Quick at easy is the rule.
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