On Domain Names, Size and Quality DOES Matter!


What type of impact will a website name have on the success of the web site hosted there? There are mainly two schools of thought around the net.

a) “The domain is just not an enormous deal” school: those people argue that while a superb domain will help on the success of a web site, it is just not a vital factor, because individuals are increasingly using browser bookmarks and subscription tools like RSS feeds, removing the necessity for them to recollect the name of the web site that they wish to visit.

b) “The domain is significant” school: those people argue that despite bookmarks and RSS feeds, domains still play an important role on the success of the web sites built upon them. A superb domain, subsequently, might be the difference between a successful site and a flop.

Before proceeding with my evaluation, nevertheless, I believe it is necessary to define what a “good domain name” is. Summing it up, a superb domain:

  1. is brief
  2. is straightforward to recollect
  3. is straightforward to spell
  4. is descriptive or brandable
  5. doesn’t contain hyphens and numbers
  6. has a .com extension

You possibly can read more about that on the article The 7 Characteristics of Good Domain Names.

I belong to the “domains are vital” school of thought, and I’ll inform you why, each with words and with numbers that I gathered on a small research.

Keep in mind that each time I mention “domain name” throughout this text, I’m also referring to the name of the web site itself. In nearly all of the cases those are the identical in spite of everything, and for marketing purposes they need to all the time be.

Every little thing Starts with the Domain

The most important flaw on the argument of those who don’t think that domains play a vital role on the success of internet sites lies on the belief that web surfers will bookmark or subscribe to a given website right after visiting it.

That is just not the case. Most individuals need to return across a web site several times before making the choice to bookmark it or to subscribe to its service.

On the primary visit they’ll come to that site via a link on one other website or on a search engine. The domain name, nevertheless, will play a vital role on the following visits. Whether it is short, easy to recollect and simple to spell, a visitor won’t have an issue going back to that site in the longer term. If the domain may be very long, hard to recollect and hard to spell, nevertheless, there are great possibilities that the visitor will find yourself someplace else, and can probably never return.

Now I’m not talking exclusively about users that may remember your domain and sort it directly of their browser URL bar after a few days. In case your domain is long, difficult to spell or accommodates dashers and numbers, there’s a possibility that the user will completely ignore it. After two or three days he won’t even do not forget that your site exists. A brief and catchy domain, then again, will stick on the mind of the visitor. Even when he won’t give you the option to type that, Google is there to assist him find your website again.

One other point to consider is that connection between the domain name and the brand of a web site. When you will have dozens, if not tons of of internet sites competing for a similar area of interest, the brand factor shall be determinant. Should you then realize that the brand of any website is heavily anchored to its domain name, you may see how necessary domains turn into.

The Domains of the Top 250 Web sites within the World

I do know that numbers and facts speak louder than words, so as an alternative of extending my prose I’ll back up my claims with a small research that I did. Mainly I gathered the highest 250 hottest web sites on the earth (in line with Alexa) and counted what number of characters and words their domains had. I also checked in the event that they had a .com or one other extension (e.g., .net, .org, .info and so forth). Notice that sites with a foreign extension were excluded from the list for the sake of simplicity.

The outcomes were pretty interesting. To begin with, the common variety of characters on the domains was 7,15. The graph below presents the variety of characters on the y-axis, and all of the 250 domains on the x-axis. The red line is the common (the statistical mean).

On Domain Names, Size and Quality DOES Matter! Photo

Other interesting findings include:

  • Over 177 out of 250 domains had 8 characters or fewer. That’s greater than 70% of them
  • The typical variety of words was 1,58
  • Probably the most common domain name (statistical mode) had 7 characters and a couple of words
  • 86,2% of the domains had a .com extension
  • only 11 out of the 250 domains (4,4%) contained a number
  • only 3 out of the 250 domains (1,2%) contained a touch

The Domains of the Last 250 Front Page Stories on Digg

One could say that the list with the 250 hottest sites on the earth may very well be biased as a consequence of the presence service portals like search engines like google and yahoo, email services, social networks and upload sites. I don’t think that the bias could be significant, but to be able to remove the doubts I also profiled the domains of the last 250 web sites that reached the front page of Digg. Those are mostly content web sites, so that they should complement the initial findings.

The numbers here point into the identical direction. The typical variety of characters on those domains was 8,47. Barely higher than on the previous case, but still a small number. The graph below illustrates that.

On Domain Names, Size and Quality DOES Matter! Photo

The typical variety of words on the domains is 1,67, which may be very just like the number found on the previous case. Other interesting findings include:

  • 89,6% of the domains had a .com extension
  • 146 out of the 250 domains (58,4%) had 8 or fewer characters
  • only 4 out of the 250 domains (1,6%) contained a touch
  • essentially the most common domain (statistical mode) had again 7 characters and a couple of words (e.g. youtube.com)

Oh But I do know A Website That Is Popular And…

At this point I’m pretty sure that a few of you’re pondering “Oh but I do know a web site that pretty popular and has a very long and confusing domain name.”

Well, you simply found an exception to the rule.

It’s like while you discuss smoking and health problems. Even when the statistics say that smoking will reduce your life expectancy by 20 years, there’s all the time someone that has an uncle or a grand father that smoked his whole life and yet lived to the age of 100 years.

Your uncle or grand father represents the exception, and under no circumstances it diminishes the validity of the statistical findings. The identical applies to the statistics we showed above, even if you happen to know a preferred website with a very long and bizarre domain.

Conclusion: The Law of Domain Names

Based on that evidence, here is the conclusion (or the law of domains):

All other things being equal (e.g., marketing budget, content quality, design, affiliation with larger web sites and so forth), a web site with a superb domain name will all the time outperform a competitor with a foul or average domain name.

Does which means that if you will have an extended or hard to recollect domain you’re doomed to fail? By no means. But when you will have a competitor in your area of interest that has a greater domain, you will want to supply higher content, offer a greater service, or spend more cash in promotion to compensate for that.


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