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Im asking this question since it will directly affect the user experience.

I am planning to buy a domain name for my new site. I want to use a domain name that directly explains the purpose of the site. But the problem is that, its bit long, 13 chars + .com at the end.

Say something like, doabarrelroll.com

My concern is about the usual internet user behavior. What do they prefer?

  1. Names that are short (even though they're less explanatory)?
  2. Names that can be easily related to the content (even though they're long)

Are there any surveys, studies done around this topic?

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Why not do both? Grab presszorrtwice.com AND zzorrr.com ... –  aslum Jul 22 '13 at 14:25
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I recently noticed that an online radio station 'realhardstyleradio.com'; bought a new domain called 'rhr.fm'; This is because the have a new mobile website, and yes. it's easier on a mobile device to type in rhr.fm then to do realhardstyleradio.com. So in my opinion a short domain is better. –  Kees Sonnema Jul 22 '13 at 14:40
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4 Answers

Depends on a few factors. If most of your visitors will arrive via Google or a link from an ad or another site, doesn't really matter how long the domain name is. In fact, a long domain may be better from a SEO point of view if it includes relevant keywords.

If on the other hand, you expect a significant percentage of visitors will be typing in your address (or even worse, typing in your address via a mobile device), shorter is better.

A third consideration is how easy the domain is to remember. If you're expecting more than a few people to type in your domain, it won't matter how long the domain name is if they can't remember it.

Lastly, consider how easy it is to enter. Auto-correct on mobile devices will make entering domain names with a cute misspelling extra frustrating. i.e., flickr.com Also, some phones have a .com button, so using a dotcom domain can save users a few keystrokes.

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+1 for how easy is it to remember. –  PhillipW Jul 23 '13 at 8:36
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It depends on the type of site you are making, but typically the domain name reflects more on branding and less on the purpose of the site.

According to https://www.quantcast.com/top-sites-1 - the 20 most popular sites on the internet have an average of 6-7 letters in the domain, and many of them are not very descriptive. Sites such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and Bing have no description with the name alone, but these names were chosen as the brand.

That being said, it would help to have the brand name hint at the purpose, but it does not have to describe it in detail. Ensure to have a description/tagline within the site, so it appears under the domain name in a search result.

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Content is king.

The purpose of your site should be evident from what is in the browser window rather than the address bar, as no one is reading the address bar when they are on your site.

By guiding people to your site through relevant content people should never really need to even read the domain, the titles, meta descriptions, designs, other menu items and body text should clearly communicate what your site is about.

Also, when it comes to typing in a web address remember that a longer name is harder to remember, more difficult to type and more prone to mistakes.

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Depending on the availability of short domain names, which can be tricky, I find a good practice is to use a longer, descriptive domain name as the actual URL for the main site. And then to purchase a shorter, corresponding one as well, to make life (at least a few characters) easier on users already familiar with your site.

So, working with your "doabarrelroll.com" example, purchase that as well as "brrlrll.com". Obviously some domains lend themselves to this idea better than others, but by adding a redirect from brrlrll.com to doabarrelroll.com, and mapping email addresses to both domains, you offer a choice while keeping your longer, descriptive URL as the main front-facing one.

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