Why length matters when choosing a good domain name
Long story short: bigger isn’t necessarily better. Take domain names, for instance, where less is usually more. Choosing a good domain name - one that is memorable, precise, and easy-to-remember - will make it easier for you connect with your audience.
Why choose a shorter domain name?
Often, a shorter domain name will allow you to create an online presence that is unique, catchy, and not easily forgotten. They are typically:
1. Easier to remember
Not many are likely to remember http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com/ which is, in fact, an actual domain and considered by some to be the longest. You certainly don’t want your users to have any problems remembering and, therefore, finding you, so minimising or altogether avoiding numbers, hyphens, non-standard spellings, or unnecessary combinations of any of these elements is a must. If you want your users to remember you, don’t give them any reason to stumble when they are typing your name into a search engine.
2. Easier to share
Shorter domains are easier to parse, copy, share, and embed. And given the undeniable importance of online marketing, any opportunities you have to create a tweet, generate a like, or make a share easier, the better. When 47% of Americans cite Facebook as their top influencer of purchases and more than half of all vendors state LinkedIn helped them to generate a sale, there is no question that you need to consider ways to increase sharing.
3. Easier to type on mobile
Pew Research reports that, as of 2012, nearly 60% of all Americans own a smartphone, with 33% using a mobile device as their primary means of accessing the Internet. And, for Millennials, mobile is already the top choice. Given the importance of mobile, it’s a good idea to select a domain which is easy to type on a small screen and on the go. While short, snappy, and affordable .COMs may be hard to come by, you are likely to find an appropriate TLD alternative. These days, there are literally hundreds to choose from.
In addition, a shorter domain should enable you to clearly and succinctly reflect the following:
- Your focus. How or why are you relevant to users? What service, product, or solution are you offering? Why should users be more interested in you more than the other guys?
- Your vision. What do you stand for? Who is your market?
- Your core values. What makes you different? How will you make users’ lives easier?
In other words, your domain name can be used as a powerful marketing tool, focusing users’ attention on what you do and why you do it better than anyone else. And a carefully chosen domain name can improve your marketing efforts in other ways, too:
- SEO: Whether you choose a conventional .COM or a newer extension is beside the point since Google makes no distinction in its SEO rankings. What really matters for SEO is that your domain name is descriptive and memorable enough to generate clicks.
- Differentiation: While some argue that an exact-match or keyword-loaded domain name is superior, these domains run the risk of getting lost in a sea of similar sounding domains. A domain name like Chocolatechipcookies.com just sounds generic. A shorter, punchier domain name is likely to establish both stronger personality and market positioning.
- Brand stickiness: Of course, online marketing is crucial but don’t forget the world outside the Internet. Offline marketing success depends on users’ ability to remember not only your message but also your domain name. A quick, easy domain name will certainly improve retention.
Choosing a good domain name is one of the most important – and difficult – choices you will make. But with careful planning, you'll find one that is relevant, specific, and memorable enough to help you stand out from the crowd and connect with the users you are looking for.