Domains with Hyphens, a Bad Idea

domains with hyphens

Domains with Hyphens are a bad idea.  I would avoid them at all costs honestly.

I can understand the inclination of wanting to register or buy a hyphenated domain name though.  Most of the time the exact match domain (EMD) or partial match domain (PMD) with the keywords you are looking to rank for is not available.  You've seen other people use domains with a hyphen before and rank well or even in the first spot in Google.

If I am advising a client or company about a domain name I do not recommend buying or registering any domains with hyphens.  A hyphen in a domain name or even several hyphens makes the domain hard to remember and hard to spell or type.  You might remember my article “7 Slick Tips for Choosing a Good Domain Name.”  You will see I discuss the fact that a domain should be easily heard on the radio and you should be able to write it down without trouble.  This is what's known as the “radio test.”  A hyphen ruins the train of thought and flow of spelling it's not likely people will remember a domain with a hyphen when typing words or letters into a browser.

To be honest I am actually a domain name hyphen expert.  Why is this?  Well you might see that this website is my name, Adam Yamada, but my full name is “Adam Yamada-Hanff.”  I have a hyphenated last name and you'd be pretty surprised the amount of people I come into contact with that do not know what a hyphen is.

There have been many times when I am spelling out my full name over the phone and the person is confused because they are not sure what hyphen is.  (Even if they don't want to admit it.) Even if I am filling out a form or working with someone in an office directly they can still be confused.  This usually means I have to explain, “You know it's a dash.” or something like that or even fill out the form for them, doing their job.  It's been quite frustrating over the years and makes you realize how many dull people there are in the world.

Imagine spending all that time explaining your business web address to client or customer?  It's annoying for both sides and I know from a lot experience dealing with a hyphenated last name.  Domains with hyphens are something you should try to avoid if you can.  I'd recommend registering or buying an. ORG domain over a hyphenated .COM domain actually.

Honestly people should know what a hyphen is!  Why they don't I am not really sure if that is a sign of basic English skills going out the window or something else.

Have any thoughts about a hyphenated domain names?  Have you ever registered or bought domain names with hyphens?   If you have used domains with hyphens did it hurt your business and make it hard for people to remember how to find you?  Let's hear stories and experience below.

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  • I have very few hyphenated domains in my portfolio and they are slow to move on in terms of selling.

    • Yeah, generally I do not recommend people buy hyphenated domains unless it is some super strong keyword phrase.