The ultimate goal of a website is to attract then engage potential customers. The more visitors, the better. The website’s domain name, obviously, is key in achieving this goal. In this article, we will talk about more features of an effective domain name, particularly the impact of length on the overall quality of a domain name, and namely, can a domain name be too long?
So, can a domain name be too long? The direct answer is yes, there is such a thing as having a domain name that is “too long”. The maximum number of characters a domain can be is 67 including the extension. When your domain name has a disproportionate or excessive number of characters, it can be harder for your customers to remember. The simpler your domain name, the easier it will likely stick to a customer’s mind. The last thing any business or organization with an online presence would want is for a potential client to give up on finding your services, simply because he or she could not recall your website’s name (or yes, location, technically speaking).
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It is only natural to want your business name and domain name to be an exact match. The common logic to it is that any discrepancy between your domain and business names could cause confusion for your site’s visitors. But if your business name is quite lengthy, you may have to put more thought into the domain name you choose.
Certainly, no one would want a domain name that has words that are difficult to remember or even harder to spell. A highly complicated domain name may just cause you to lose out on valuable website traffic, not to mention potential business.
Likewise, it may be quite tempting to stuff your domain name with too many keywords. Although it won’t hurt to add more than one, too many keywords could be derailing you from your brand and vision.
It may not be ideal to cram up your full business name into your domain name, but you can very much still highlight your brand via your domain name. You just need to ensure that your branding, website content, and your business’ “message” all support each other. More on branding down the page. Read on.
How long can a domain name be?
A valid domain name has a minimum of 3 characters and can go up to 67 characters long (max) — including the 4 characters used to identify the Top Level Domain (.com, .net, or .org, etc.).
Most experts suggest that actually going all-out with the 67 characters (including the extension) makes for an awfully long URL and, thus, is not entirely recommended.
Why does domain length matter?
The lengthier your domain name, the more likely it is that people forget the address or to commit an error (or errors) when typing it in. Also, if your domain name is too long, it could be a challenge to print on business cards, letterheads, sides of trucks, and so on.
But, as we will discuss further down this article, long domain names aren’t always bad. The real key to an effective domain name, setting length aside, is meaningfulness. Relevance. Recall.
Just that experts would unanimously recommend not overdoing domain naming, particularly in the length aspect. Very long domain names might look rather “spam-my”. It is also possible that extra-long domain names (resulting to long URLs) might have some negative impact on web usage on mobile devices. Even a 70 WPM touch-typist may not be able to overcome the relatively tiny keypads on most hand-held devices. This is not yet taking into consideration the countless people who aren’t familiar with copy-paste shortcuts on smartphones and similar digital devices.
How long should a Domain name be?
Research has shown that the most common domain names are approximately 12 characters long, on average. The data used were based on website popularity. That is, the amount of web traffic. This is why experts recommend that we should aim for domain names with just 6 to 14 characters. If you are not able to find a short domain name (these have likely been sold years ago), at least make your domain name “brandable”.
A brandable domain name is unique and stands out from all others, while a generic domain name is not particularly memorable and is typically stuffed with keywords.
Are long domain names bad?
Come up with an impressive and effective brand name that is easy to remember for the users. Usually, it is the short domain names that stick to people’s minds. In general, SEO experts and other online observers seem to agree with a common rule-of-thumb when it comes to domain naming: a one-word domain name is outstanding; a two-word domain name is good; three or more words is not always bad – though it’s more often NOT a good idea, either.
But a domain name is not “too long” if it conveys real meaning. To illustrate, DomainNames.com is 11 characters long, but sure makes more sense than DMNM.com. Then again, DN.com is golden than both earlier examples combined.
This might be a good rule of thumb: “if it’s meaningful, it’s not too long. But if it’s short, it is more likely to be meaningful.”
Longer domain names, though, have a better chance at being unique, especially if the combination of words is creative. And one may have better luck at getting the URL of choice registered with a provider out there.
Are Shorter Domain Names Better?
In general, when it comes to the length of your domain, shorter is better. Why? Short domain names (one or two words) are concise and thus easier to read. Also, and more importantly, shorter domain names are easier to remember. In practical applications, short domain names are easier to include on any printed material, such as business cards, letterheads, or mobile (as in moving) ads.
There is this one challenge to a short domain name, though. Short domain names have, more likely, been registered already. This is especially true for brand names that aren’t 100% unique and brand names that contain a common word or phrase.
These circumstances may require you to get more creative. You might also need to consider paying a little extra for a domain name with a different extension (.net, .org, .co, etc.).
How to find the best and shortest domain name available?
The reality is that good and short domain names are becoming harder and harder to find in .com. You may have better luck trying to find and register domain names of a reasonably short length that are still available with a different TLD (top-level domain). You may have to start looking at .com.au and the like.
As earlier recommended, if you are unable to find something short, at least make your domain name brandable. You can make up your own catchy, new word, just as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have done. Whip out your thesaurus as you might just find interesting words that fit your brand.
Another great suggestion is to use domain name generators. These tools, such as this FREE online domain name generator tool, can help you come up with a unique, brandable domain name derived from your initial domain ideas and keywords.
Word-of-mouth marketing is an absolutely viable avenue to take in growing your business. For this to happen, it is essential that your website’s domain name is almost effortless to recall. Whenever you find yourself second-guessing your domain name idea, go the “shorter is better” route. Okay, a lot of the shorter domain names will have been taken by now. This is, then, the time to bust out your creative side. You may believe that you’re bursting at the seams with great ideas… but none of that may not matter if the great idea of a domain name is no longer available for you to register. Before moving forward, make sure you periodically stop and do a domain search to check your great idea’s availability. This will save you a lot of trouble down the line. You can just sit back and click here to get started.