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  1. #1
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    Do you like hyphenated domain names?
    I've spent a lot of time over the last few days trying to find some good domain names to register for building new sites. In the process I have found several popular search terms I could register and which I know I could build good niche sites around. However, it would require using names like "my-name" or "my-name-is".

    My question then is how much luck have others on here had with getting good search engine placement with hyphenated names compared to non-hyphenated names? Ceteris paribus.
    Rick M.
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  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    i've seen some affiliates do very, very well with hyphenated domains. But personally I stay away from them, I just think it's a lot harder to market them (and harder for average joe to remember). Just my opinion though.

  3. #3
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Same here. Stay away from them if you can. Come up with an original name that would make people assosiate it with you and you only.

    Not too long ago I bumped into a short article on the net, entitled "Stay Away From Hyphenated Domains!" The author's argument went as follows:

    Think of ten of your favorite Web sites. Do any of them have hyphenated domain names? No. The first reason is, is that hyphenated domain names are really hard for folks to remember. When picking a good domain name, you want to find something short, relevant, and with a few keywords. Sure, there are a few companies that break that rule, take Amazon.com for an example.

    For the rest of us out there though, the previously mentioned rules are good ones to follow. You want people to be able to associate your domain name with your Web site quickly. hyphenated domain names just make things too difficult. Where does the hyphen go? Did it have one, or were you just thinking that it did? If they the visitor types in the domain name without the hyphen, will they be taken to a competitor's Web site? These are all things you should keep in mind.


    Good luck!

    Geno

  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Hyphenated Domain Names
    Did some more research and found the following:


    DomainGuru answers the question of hyphenated domain name usage as follows:

    If you have the unhyphenated version, then registering the hyphenated version, either as a primary or a secondary domain name is a good idea. If, however, a 3rd party already owns the unhyphenated version, you would be much wiser choosing an alternative name.


    Another website gives a little interesting analysis of this question in advantages vs. disadvantages:

    A lot of confusion persists around the internet over hyphenated domain names. A hyphenated domain name is any domain name containing one or more hyphens: - (also incorrectly called a dash). For example: example-web-site.com is a hyphenated domain name.

    A hyphenated domain name provides some advantages:

    - Easy to distinguish words in a domain name
    - Eliminates potentially embarrassing confusion (is it GoodsExporter.com or GoodSexPorter.com?)
    - Search engines can distinguish every word in the domain name, giving a very small advantage in search engine rankings
    - When other websites link to yours using your domain name as the anchor text, the search engines can distinguish the words in this link, giving a slightly greater advantage in search engine rankings
    - The domain name you want has a better chance of being available with hyphens; most webmasters prefer a non-hyphenated domain name over its equivalent hyphenated domain name


    A hyphenated domain name also has many disadvantages:

    - The domain name because tricky to recall; most people will remember a domain name without the hyphens better than one with hyphens
    - The domain name arguably looks more professional as a single word rather than separated by hyphens
    - The domain name is easier to type when it does not contain hyphens
    - If another website has the same domain name sans hyphens, it will likely receive many visitors who inadvertently mistyped your domain name
    - When speaking the domain name, voicing hyphens becomes a challenge; “my-hyphen-online-hyphen-store-dot-com” becomes a tongue-twister that is likely to confuse
    - When somebody else refers to your domain name, either on the web or off, there is a strong possibility they will unwittingly omit the hyphens, driving your potential traffic to a different website


    Whether you choose a hyphenated or a non-hyphenated domain name will, of course, depend on the circumstances of your website. My recommendation is to choose the non-hyphenated domain name if at all possible, and only go with a hyphenated version if you cannot find a suitable hyphenless domain name.


    Would love to hear other people's opinions!

    Geno

  5. #5
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I always use hyphens to me its a non issue. I am not advertising on billboards so people don't have to remeber my domain name.

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I like unhyphenated domains, just because they tend to look better. But for one name in particular, I got the hyphenated version just so it was more (humanly) readable. When I tried typing that one as an unhyphenated name, I thought it looked like mash, so I split it up.

    On the other hand, I have no problem using names that are longer than most webmasters seem to prefer. I only care about length when I want the name to be extra-memorable. Even then, there's going to be at least two words in it--I'm not paying megabucks to get someone to move off of a 1-word dom.

    As for the keyword factor, I've noticed that lately, Google seems to be able to pick the words out of nonhyphenated domains. So the SE advantage to using hyphenated names may be gone...
    Last edited by Leader; June 5th, 2005 at 07:27 AM.
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  7. #7
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    As for the keyword factor, I've noticed that lately, Google seems to be able to pick the words out of nonhyphenated domains. So the SE advantage to using hyphenated names may be gone...
    Leader, both Yahoo, MSN, and many other search engines have been picking up words out of non-hyphenated domains for quite some time already...

    Geno

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    That shows where I usually do my searching
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  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    As someone with a hyphenated domain name, I would agree with those who recommend non-hyphenated. The name is just more professional and easier to convey to other people. I've received quite a bit of press on my site, and when it's been TV or radio coverage, it's quite disappointing when they spend more time reminding people about the hyphen than talking about the site.

    I've been trying to get the non-hyphenated version of my domain for years. I had offered the original owner a pretty penny for it. He was stupid enough to let it expire. I was stupid enough to not have it backordered. The new owner wants about ten times as much as I'm willing to pay for it.

    People talk about the SEO benefits of a hyphenated domain. I think that's basically gone now. Search engines appear to do a good job of finding the keywords in non-hyphenated domains. If you have more than one hyphen, I wouldn't be surprised if it has a negative impact on SEO. Most domains I've seen with multiple hyphens are very spammy, and I'm sure search engines have realized that as well.

    If you anticipate the site being big, always try to register all variations. Pick the one you think is the easiest and use that. Redirect all the others to it. You might grab some misspellings as well.
    Michael Coley
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  10. #10
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I agree with all the answers above and also would like to say this:

    Two months ago I decided to buy my first hyphenated domain name, a good three keywords dot com like this example: leather-clothes-online.com [(note, I just made that one up for this example, so I don't even know if that is available.) - (but as I am typing this, it sounds good. .)]

    Maybe it's because I am not used to type hyphenated domain names or just because my lack of experience with them, but so far I am having second thoughts about my new 1-2-3.com.

    I don't like the way the email address look: contact @ leather-clothes-online.com

    I don't like the way the way I have to say the name out loud: leatherDashclothesDashonline.com

    I don't like the way the site logo and banner look with the two Dashes, but if I don't include the two Dashes, then I think that my visitors may remember the site as LeatherClothesOnline, so then I should have to buy that long name too without the hyphen.

    So far what I have learned is, that unless I buy both versions at the same time and use the LeatherClothesOnline as the main domain and the leather-clothes-online domain to redirect to the LeatherClothesOnline, I would not buy any new hyphenated domain name alone again.

    As for the one that I just got recently, since I still have about ten more months to play with it, I will see how I do money wise before the expiration date come.

    Sal.

  11. #11
    Ms Dumb Ass ... but, *NOT* Today! westgroup's Avatar
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    I like both
    I like to use the hyphenated domain names when the domain looks funky when it's typed as 1 word, or can be conscrewed incorrectly as the example above (sexporter).

    If it is easily interpretable then I'll go with non-hyphenated.

    Most of the time though I'll go with hypenated since it's easier to read.

    Pat

  12. #12
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Sometimes the hyphenated version adds to the readability. I registered alphaebiz.com and alpha-ebiz.com. I had about 50 people rate how memorable different presentation versions of the domain are and settled upon Alpha-eBiz.com with a 301 redirect from alphaebiz.com.

    Here's how the results of study stack ranked.

    Alpha-eBiz.com <-- the winner by far
    alpha-ebiz.com
    alphaebiz.com
    AlphaeBiz.com

    I fully agree that if you use a hyphenated domain, you should always try to register the non-hyphenated version and use a 301 redirect for those people who do not remember the hyphens.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  13. #13
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for your feedback on my question. Although several of you mentioned buying both the non-hyphenated and the hyphenated version, in the case of the names I have found tempting, only the hyphenated version is available.

    Although a lot of good reasons have been given for going with the non-hyphenated version, it sounds like if the non-hyphenated version is not available, the hyphenated version might be worth while as a 2nd choice despite its problems.

    I'll have to ponder the all the answers given above for awhile. Hopefully, there will be more people adding their experiences as well.
    Rick M.
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  14. #14
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Good luck deciding, Cagles Mill!

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Brainstorm for a while. I'm sure you'll find a good domain name that's not taken. Despite the millions of names that are already taken, I've been surprised that I've been able to find some really good, short names. Within the past year, I've picked up a couple good, memorable, two-word, six-letter .com domain names for niches that I was interested in.

    The other domain selection advice I would give would be to work with only .com names.

    Domain name selection becomes important if you're expecting any return or referral traffic. If you're just going for SEO or PPC, it's somewhat less important.
    Michael Coley
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  16. #16
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    Depends on how you want to market your site. If you are just using search engine optimization or direct linking from other sites, the end user won't care if you have a hyphen or not. If they like the site, they will bookmark it.

    However, if word of mouth is important, avoid the hyphens.

    When looking for new domain names, I usually go to the Overture Keyword Tool at http://inventory.overture.com/d/sear...ry/suggestion/ and punch in a few search terms. Then see if any domains are available with two keywords or so. It can take a little while, but there are plenty of good ones still out there.

    Good luck,
    Scott

  17. #17
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    I use a hyphanted domain for a specific niche, since the non hyphenated was used by someone else. At Yahoo, my site appears in the #1 spot. Would I have that spot with a My or some other word built into the domain? I dunno. Might not be as memorable a name, but I put something like 'add this site to your favorites' on the site, so perhaps thqat will minimize the disadvantages.

    Overall, I think it has it's uses, though you will lose returning traffic to the non-hyphenated site.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  18. #18
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    "Leader" wrote: I like unhyphenated domains, just because they tend to look better. But for one name in particular, I got the hyphenated version just so it was more (humanly) readable. When I tried typing that one as an unhyphenated name, I thought it looked like mash, so I split it up.

    And there it is: do what makes sense for human beings. When I registered my first domain name (which I no longer own), I was faced with a dilemna. I could register my domain either way (or both), but if I did not use a hyphen, the domain name would be read differently by many people. I decided to use the hyphen, and was glad I did for that domain.

    Just this morning, as I was registering a new "two-word" domain name, I made the decision to register both versions (with and without a hyphen), even though there is no likely confusion without the hyphen. By registering both versions, I eliminate the need to spell it out for someone over the phone -- they can type it either way and it will work. I also reduce the risk of "typo poaching" in the unlikely event that this new site draws immense traffic.

  19. #19
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    In my experience I find that I personally like shorter domains names. I am sure their is an algorthym against long long domain names. I usually have both though becuase your domain name can look adult at times when it is not. I do not want anyone having any negative thoughts or of the such when they see the domain name.

  20. #20
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Whenever we get into discussions like this I always think back to the fellow who owned analbumcover.com, and got traffic looking for anal bum covers, lol. In his case, An-Album-Cover.com might have been a good idea, lol.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  21. #21
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    Oh my GOSH! that is funny as heck man!

  22. #22
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    I guess that is reason to be sensitive, now hopefully those 'adult' searches would have other SANE hobbies.

  23. #23
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    I have both, seems not much difference in se ranking. Depends on the site content more than domain name.
    Deborah Carney
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