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Should hyphens and numbers be used in domain names?
By SmartBranding Team access_time 3 min read

There are so many elements you need to consider when choosing a domain name for your business that it would make sense to get expert help. This time, we talk with Thinkony about using hyphens and numbers in domain names. Here’s what we learned.

Should hyphens be used in domain names?

Dashes often make brand/domain names difficult to interact with. When most people hear a brand name, they subconsciously create an image of a “straight” name (a name without special characters) in their minds. That’s because they are used to seeing straight names. Now the moment the brand name they see (when they search for it online, etc.) is not in total consonance with the one they hear about—in this case dashes—they may hesitate to interact further with the name. 

The initial hesitation (that’s if they eventually interact) towards the brand name is due to the fact what they see does not match their expectation (seeing the same thing as what they hear). The more reason a name should spell as it sounds! That’s why knowing the psychological interaction of a potential client with a typical brand name is very key when choosing a brand name. That psychological act often determines how the client views the brand bearing the name. The customer acquisition process starts there.

Therefore, we should be careful about integrating dashes into brand names. It is not totally bad when it’s done rightly, though. But we think removing a stumbling block, however beautiful, from a potential customer’s way should be the goal of every business.

Is it bad to have numbers in your domain name?

It depends on how they are used and where they are used in a brand name. How to use numbers entails making sure they blend well with the letters in the name. For instance, F5bot uniquely utilized alliteration “F” and “Five” but in numeral (5). The “F5” in “F5bot” shows how the creator of the Reddit-focused keyword monitoring tool blended the “5” with the surrounding letters “F” and “bot.” The mental picture this creates is “FFive” and not just “F5.” The “F” factor plays a major role here.

About the position (the “where”) of numbers in a brand name, one of the brands that seem to get it is Forever21. Putting ” 21″ at the end of “Forever” places the emphasis of the brand on the number. They are simply saying “with our clothes, you will always look young!”

Hence, putting a number in the right place in a brand name will make the brand name effectively communicate the message the brand is passing across. Every brand name communicates a brand message: whether good or bad. Every brand should consider this fact when choosing its name.

What are your thoughts on domain name extensions?

Brands specifically serving local audiences should use such domains ending in .us, .uk, etc. The .com domain is good for those targeting a global audience. The .org domain is good for nonprofits. 

Such domains as .net, .info, .golf, .agency, etc., are good for brands that target “global-yet-niche” audiences. These newer domain extensions may not have the power of the .com domain yet, but their power lies in the niches they serve. It’s a matter of time & the right efforts.

We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.

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