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5 Things to Never Include in a Domain Name

Let’s face it—it can be difficult to find an available domain name. There are hundreds of millions of domain names already registered. That means that the odds are your first, second and third choices for a domain name might already be registered.

Because of this difficulty, some choose domain names that leave a lot to be desired just to get up and running with their website.

While you might need to make some compromises or get creative to find your perfect domain, there are five things you should never include in a domain name. If someone at your company suggests a domain with one of these five no-nos, flash a red light and urge them to go back to the drawing board.

1. Hyphens

If the two-or-three word domain you like is taken, it might be tempting to just add hyphens between the words to find an available domain.

There’s a reason the hyphenated domain is available—hyphens in domains are a big no-no!

Why shouldn’t you use hyphens? It’s because hyphens cause two problems.

  • Each hyphen adds another word to your domain. A three-word domain with two hyphens is actually five words because you have to say “dash” twice. That means it takes longer to say.
  • People often forget to include the hyphen when typing a domain name. So they’ll end up at someone else’s website, not yours.

Some parts of the world are a bit more accepting of hyphens in domain names. You’ll see them from time to time in Germany. But it’s best to avoid hyphenating your domain name.

2. Trademarks

Do you blog about a company’s products? Or perhaps you sell plugins for a platform like WordPress?

Make sure you don’t use any trademarks in your domain name. This can be considered cybersquatting or a trademark violation, and either way, you could lose your domain name. This has happened to people who included the WordPress trademark in their own domain name.

The good news is that this is easy to avoid. Just run a trademark search before registering your domain name. Sites like Trademark247.com make it easy to search for registered trademarks.

3. Numbers

Numbers make things confusing,

People who hear your domain name might type the digit or they might type out the word. For example, if your company is Three Dog Daycare, would the domain name be 3dogdaycare.com or threedogdaycare.com?

While not ideal, you can include numbers in your domain name if you take an added precaution.

Just make sure you can register both the spelled-out version of the domain as well as the one with the digit in it. Choose one and redirect the other domain to it. So in the example above, if you owned threedogdaycare.com, get the one with the ‘3’ in it as well, so either way, people will find your site.

There are some exceptions for common numeric terms. And the longer the number, the less likely someone will type it out. If you are a 24-hour store, including 24 in your domain is probably safe because people won’t spell out a number with so many characters.

4. Hard-to-Spell Words

Have a site about allergies? Gazoontite might seem like a great name for your business. But how many people can actually spell that word?

Back in the days of the first dot-com bubble, there was a company called Gazoontite.com that ran into this issue. It knew people would have trouble spelling its name so it tried to register many variations of it. A much better word to use for an allergy site is sneeze.

It’s almost impossible to register all of the possible spellings people might attempt for your domain name. Keep it simple and use only easy-to-spell words.

This also means you should avoid dropping vowels from common words. This can work at companies with huge budgets that can create brand awareness. But you’re fighting a losing game if you have to spell your domain every time you tell someone about your website. Make sure your domain passes the radio test.

5. Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but mean something different. Examples include ‘brake’ and ‘break,’ ‘flour’ and ‘flower,’ and ‘here’ and ‘hear.’

If you include words with homophones in your domain name, you need to make sure that the meaning will be clear so that people type it correctly.

A site about cars can use ‘brake’, a recipe site can get away with ‘flour’. But an audio site probably shouldn’t use ‘here’.

Get creative, but…

It’s okay to get creative when searching for a domain, and we encourage you to come up with inspired domain names that will catch your customers’ eyes. And if you avoid these five domain no-no’s, you’ll be off to a great start!

Looking for a domain name? Register your domain at Namecheap today.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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