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Hyphenated Domain Names

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by AwfulSoul
You think of a perfect domain name.  It contains a keyword that is found in search engines, has no trademark issues and is memorable for website visitors.  You try to register your domain name with a domain name company.  It appears to be taken.  So, you put a hyphen in it.  That version of your domain name is not taken, but should you go on and invest in it?  This article will explore what webmasters need to consider if they are deciding to use hyphenated domain names.

First, they need to think about their website visitors.  Most people are not accustomed to using hyphenated domain names.  Even if they like a website, it may be simply a matter of forgetting to include the hyphen.  If this happens then the unhyphenated version of the domain name will be what receives traffic, which is definitely not what a webmaster wants.  Of course, if a domain name is not hyphenated in the first place, then such an issue would never arise.

However, a hyphenated domain name that is keyword-rich has a higher chance of getting a good ranking from a search engine than a non-hyphenated domain that is not SEO optimized.  A higher search engine ranking might outweigh the initial disadvantage of how inconvenient a hyphenated domain name is.  This is because if a website has a high search engine ranking, people won't need to type in the domain name in order to access it.  They can simply click on the listing given in search engine results.  And if they like the site, they will bookmark it, an action that is preferable, since it shows they are really interested in what the site has to offer.  

Webmasters should also consider whether or not their domain name is more understandable if they use a hyphen.  Consider the unusual domain name molestationnursery.com.  This is actually in reference to a website that talks about mole nurseries, not molestation.  Yet, what will most website visitors think if they saw the domain name in that manner?  Including hyphens can make such a website much clearer.

It would also be better for SEO, since search engines would index mole-station-nursery.com with keywords related to moles.

So, basically, there are advantages and disadvantages to using hyphenated domain names.  If a webmaster thinks their domain name is going to bring them a lot of search engine traffic, they should go for it.  And in some cases, a hyphenated domain name is necessary to make its meaning easier to understand.

Otherwise, webmasters should try their best to create non-hyphenated domain names, since these are the types of domain names that rule the Internet world.  If they are having trouble coming up with a better domain name, they can consider using a domain name generator.  Many domain name companies provide rudimentary domain name generators if a selected domain name gets turned down.  Webmasters don't have to settle for these type though, since there are more sophisticated domain name generators that can offer even more suggestions.

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