Are Hyphenated Domain Names Dead? N0.. Here’s Why
With the recent record breaking sale of a hyphenated domain names fetching top dollar, one would think that perhaps these names are not dead after all. For those who own these domains, this is good news. The question is, how do we best use a hyphenated domains for development?
The down side of hyphenated domains has always been the obvious reasons ‘most people are not accustomed to using hyphenated domain names’ and ‘people simply forget to include the hyphen’. There’s also some belief that multiple hyphens, more than 3 in a domain is largely used by spammers and search engines may discriminate against it. While some of this is true, we really need to take a good look at the pros and cons.
Think out of the box – by using both hyphenated with non-hyphenated domains together, you can increase your marketing and SEO efforts. You simply redirect one to the other depending on what you would like to achieve.
SEO – the advantage of a keyword-rich hyphenated domain names is it has a greater chance of getting a good ranking from a search engine than a non-hyphenated domain. Similar to adding hyphens to a directory or file names making the search engines index it well. In certain specific cases, search engines will recognize hyphenated domain name better than non-hyphenated, i.e. expertsexchange.com vs experts-exchange.com. In this case you would probably want to use or redirect to the hyphenated.
Marketing – a word can project many images. A domain name with a hyphen is understandable, users find it easier to read and quickly recognize it, having a certain stickiness to memory. These domains are great for a visual ads such as billboards, big screens or television. When used in this manner, you would forward the hyphenated to the non-hyphenated, making it easy for the end-user to type in.
Branding – one good example of a hyphenated domain names use is by Harley Davidson Motorcycles. If you type in the address bar HarleyDavidson.com, HarleyDavidsonMotorcycles.com or HarleyCycles.com, you get the hyphenated Harley-Davidson.com. Another example is tmobil.com, t-mobil.com or tmobile.com forwarded to t-mobile.com.
Now if you had to choose one over the other, between the two, the non-hyphenated is always best due to its inherited type in traffic, but in developing a site using both can have its advantages. So in choosing a domain name, stick to the basics keep it short, memorable and it may be worth while getting the hyphenated too.