Hyphenated vs. Unhyphenated Domains
It is well known throughout the domain industry that hyphenated domains are considered less valuable than hyphenated domains; in fact, many domain search tools offer a filter option to exclude hyphenated results. If your main concern is buying a domain to flip at some point in the future, the unhyphenated domain is going to sell faster and command a higher price tag. But, for the purposes of building a website and doing well in search engine rankings, there really is no difference between the two versions of the domain.
Pros of Hyphenated Domains
- Hyphenated domains are easier to read. There may be times when a domain includes one word ending in letter “e” and the following word beginning with letter “e,” making it difficult to identify the words in the domain without looking at them carefully.
- There are some domains which could be confusing when the words are not separated. At times, the letters at the end of one word may appear to be part of the following word, reading completely differently than intended. You can see how a domain like womansexchange.com could be interpreted two different ways. For the purpose of clarity to your audience, the hyphens would be beneficial.
- More affordable to acquire.
- They are more likely to be available than the unhyphenated version.
Cons of Hyphenated Domains
- People tend to forget the hyphens when typing a domain name into the search bar. If you don’t own the unhyphenated version of the domain, you will lose traffic to it.
- Significantly lower domain value
- Loss of links that were meant for your website and were improperly linked to the unhyphenated version of your domain.
- More difficult to brand.
If you are deadest on your keywords and the hyphenated version of the domain is the only domain available, you can still buy the unhyphenated version down the line and 301 redirect it to your website. If the unhyphenated version of your domain is a website, that website will be your competition. Users tend to assume the hyphenated domain is the copycat and place less trust in it.
Hyphenated domains aren’t spammy until they have too many keywords in them. A five word domain is less desirable any way, but with hyphens, it’s even more so.
When looking for an available domain for your website, always check for other options first. The search begins with the .com version, but you’ll want to follow with .net, .info., .org and .biz before you settle for a hyphenated domain. Even when the .com domain is available, you might find it so far out of your price range that it just doesn’t make good business sense to buy it. This will depend on the size of your company and the earning potential of your niche. Ultimately, the choice boils down to your budget and regardless of your choice, your website can still rank well and bring in plenty of traffic with a hyphenated domain.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Theresa Happe works with BuyDomains.com where you’ll find thousands of domains of all types with an advanced search tool:http://www.buydomains.com/find-premium-domains/