Domain Names: To Dash or Not To Dash?

Picking a name for your website can be tricky. You want to make sure that it’s a descriptive name that’s easy for your ideal clients to remember.

Dot com’s (such as cullenwebservice.com) are always the best for your small business, if possible, because they are the most popular and people will assume that’s the TLD (Top Level Domain such as .com) for your website when they are trying to remember your website address.

Your potential clients may forget your website name if you are using a Dot info (something.info or Dot org (something.org) or a less popular top level domain. When I choose a domain name, if the dot com is taken, I move on to another name that DOES have a dot com available. I do make some exceptions to this rule for non-profit organizations or other non-business websites.

Your website can have more than one domain name pointing to it. You will need a primary domain name for your website, but you can have as many other domain names pointing to your website as you want. I always recommend at least two domain names for business websites. The primary domain name and the dashed version of the domain name. The only exception is if the name of your website is only one word.

For instance, my website name is cullenwebservices.com or cullen-web-services.com It doesn’t really matter which of those is the primary domain name. I prefer to make the dashed version the primary because it’s the easiest to read.

Some domain names without dashes could spell out different word combinations. For instance, is ‘nowhere.com’ really ‘no where dot com’ or ‘now here dot com’? I could use other examples in which the words that run together spell obscene phrases. But, hopefully, you get the idea.

You may be asking, “Why not just use the dashed version all the time?” Because I don’t like saying the dashed version. It’s much easier to say, ‘Cullen Web Services dot com’, than it is to say, ‘Cullen dash Web dash Services dot com.’

I use the dashed version in print – on business cards, flyers, brochures, newspaper ads – anywhere the domain name needs to be read. I use the non-dashed version anytime I say the domain name – on the phone, in person, or in radio ads.

I can’t talk about domain names without talking about domain registrars. It is imperative that you trust your domain registrar. Your domain registrar actually controls the rights to your domain, not you. Your domain registrar should be someone you can trust and who will give you good, honest support. If your registrar has tacky advertisements, extremely high or low domain costs (the cost should be about $11-15/month for dot coms), slow websites, or bad, slow support, you should look for a better registrar.

There are lots of good, honest domain registrars out there. Each domain registrar sets their own price, but each must pay a base price to the TLD (Top Level Domain such as .com.) Many domain registrars mark up the domains an incredible amount. Unless the TLD is somehow giving breaks because of volume to more popular low-cost registrars (which is doubtful), the low-cost registrar is sometimes taking a loss just to get you in their site to buy their other over-priced services. Cullen Web Services offers you domain names and other services at a reasonable cost.

You can transfer your domain at any time without losing time on your registration. When you transfer your domain name, the additional years you pay for are added to the time left on your current registration. Be warned though, if you change contact information on your domain name, you will have to wait a period of time (30 to 90 days) before you can transfer the domain name.  If you want to transfer your domain name, you may be interested in this article: How to Transfer Your Domain Name

Many web designers resell domain names and other services for larger registrars. Web Designers, make sure you trust your domain registrar! I’ve had a popular registrar take my clients away from me so that I had to start from scratch at building my client base. Cullen Web Services has reseller opportunities which provide you excellent service and support at a very reasonable cost.

Comments

  1. Elaine says

    Excellent article Cindy, I had no idea about the fees related to the dot coms. I’ve been seeing more suffixes related to the country where the business is based, hence the .ca for my own site, and .au for Australian businesses. Thanks for the great read.

  2. says

    Thank you so much, Cindy. I use Go-Daddy and they have worked. I like the idea of the dashes. I had never really thought of that. I use a dash with my blog domain, because I couldn’t decide on the preposition to use so I just used a dash. I regret that a little.

    Carol

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