Domain Name Quality: It Matters More Than Size

Steven8 responsesSEO
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I built a website for a client and nothing I could say would make him change his mind about the 24-letter domain name he wanted. The result: He gets zero traffic because of poor WordPress SEO. Yes, when it comes to domain names, size and quality do matter.

domain name

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The biggest reason your domain name is so important is direct traffic. These are people who are going to come directly to your website, either by typing the URL directly into their address bar or by clicking on their bookmark.

Either way, it means these people know you have a website, they’ve probably seen it before, and they want to skip all the search engine crap and come directly to your site. This is a good thing. Direct traffic is already warmed up and ready to buy.

Keep it short

Think about it. Most people wouldn’t even attempt typing in a 24-character domain name. And if they did, they’d probably get it wrong. There’s a reason there are no more 3- and 4-letter top level domain names available. It’s because they’re easy to spell and remember. In the case of domain names, shorter is better.

Make it easy to spell

There are plenty of websites out there with weird spellings – Zazzle, Yahoo and Mozilla are just a few examples. While they may not be easy to spell their owners have put a lot of time, effort and money into branding those sites so people recognize and remember the names.

You, on the other hand, are starting up a brand new website with no brand-recognition to speak of. If you want to take the time to develop that brand around a hard-to-spell word, that’s up to you. If not, choose something that’s easy to spell.

Make it easy to remember

Again, Zazzle is a good example. Unless you’re familiar with the site you’re never going to remember this name if your friend says, “Hey! You should check out” when you’re standing around the water cooler. By the time you get home you’re going to be wondering, “Did he says Dazzle? Or was it Bezzle?” There are millions upon millions of websites on the Internet. Choose a domain name that’s going to stand out from the crowd.

Make it relevant

Not to be knocking Zazzle because they’ve done an excellent job getting their brand across, but if you didn’t know what Zazzle was you’d never visit the site. Zazzle is a site where you can create your own graphics and sell custom printed items like coffee mugs and T-shirts. But you sure can’t tell that from the name.

A relevant domain name is also important for organic searches. If you do a Google search for a movie review and you see a website called or, which would you visit first?

Try to get a short, easy-to-spell domain name that’s easy to remember and uses a keyword for better SEO. It’s not always going to be possible and three outta four is better than that 24-character domain name my client insisted on. Heck, just about anything would have been better than that!

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  1. Kim Maiers

    My website (still under construction) is my name. My company name is too long and my brand is me and my virtual assistant skills. The only problem is my last name isn’t common. I also have the domain name of my company and will direct any of its traffic to my actual website.

    1. Why do you say “the only problem is my last name isn’t common”? When you are using your own name in branding, it really doesn’t matter much.

  2. Scott Mckimmy

    I am moving to a new website soon and I am choosing a new domain same. I have that 24 character domain name and have all the problems that you say people are having. The huge challenge I have found is making the domain name short, relevant, SEO friendly, easy to say and spell all in one. I have found most of those domain names are taken. If I can’t have it all what would you suggest is the “order of importance” in choosing a domain name?

    1. Since Google cracked down on exact-match domains, I would suggest to go for something short, brand-able, that can go through the “phone test” (if you say it over the phone, can people write it correctly without having to spell it?).

  3. Bill Allemon

    What if your long domain name IS your branding? Is this still an issue with the ‘type-ahead’ feature found in most browsers? My site and my wife’s site ( are both known due to their specific names. After the user types the name in correctly once, the browser will auto-fill the name in the future. Or would it be good to also purchase a shortened version and redirect the user to the long site?

    1. Bill, once your website is using a domain name, I would never advise you to change it to something else (except if you have a lot of branding issues). However, for a new site, I always prefer going for short and brandable domains: they are a lot easier to remember.

  4. Annette

    If it is a phase that is easily remembered – does the size really matter so much – ie: ??

    1. Annette, the fact that you feel the need to capitalize the words in that URL completely demonstrates my point.

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