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Eg which is better:

www.ux-exchange.com or

www.uxexchange.com ?

Background: Looking at what's already registered it looks like the non-hyphened versions are more popular. But does that make them better ?

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7 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Hyphens make it harder to read out the URL, and make typos more likely. As DA points out, though, they might help to avoid inadvertent misreadings of the URL, such as the classic expertsexchange.com (which is now, wisely, experts-exchange.com)

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+1 for saying the classic, good answer! –  Samuel M Jul 5 '13 at 6:06
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I always go with alloneword unless:

  • The words within the url start and finish with the same later e.g. business-shop.com

  • Or if the non-hyphenated version creates something unfortunate e.g. expertsexchange.com an unfortunate error when they clearly run a expert sexchange business and keep getting mistaken for 'experts exchange'.

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..and whenever it's written out, like in a signature file, write it in humpBack –  Susan R Aug 23 '10 at 20:45
    
@Susan: please no... I think that approximately all URLs should be all lowercase. And having the domain name with upper case in it is just ugly. –  Chris Morgan Aug 15 '11 at 12:38
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I first read alone word until I found out it means all one word :) –  Uooo Jul 5 '13 at 6:06
    
I'd go for readable over beautiful in this case - if your URL is written down somewhere, particularly somewhere where it can't be cut and pasted then I think the capitalisation of each word is sensible AllOneWord.com is easier to read than alloneword.com and the former will still enter into the address bar and lead to your site. Combined with just using correctly spelled words and your URLs are very shareable, whatever the medium for sharing is –  ColinSharpe Jul 5 '13 at 7:42
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SEO wise, likely favor the dashes.

Usability wise, you want to use both.

Marketing wise, it depends.

Joke wise, use dashes if it means you will have inadvertent readings

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Nice that you listed three different viewing points! They're all worth thinking. –  Samuel M Jul 5 '13 at 6:14
    
"Joke wise" It actually may hurt your business if you have such a domain name. Article was a good laugh through ;) –  Jop Jul 6 '13 at 7:57
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My take on this would be to do both. Use all one word for the main url i.e. uxexchange.com

But then use hyphens for lower level pages i.e. uxexhange.com/about-us.html

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For SEO use dashes, but for users, shorter is better

Remember to protect your domain name - use both, and don't forget common misspellings (redirect all that stray traffic back to your actual domain)

Dont forget that same approach applies to folder and page names too. Make them meaningful, use dashes if you have long names, and follow a consistent, readable, structure.

///EDIT: Another thought just came to mind. Make sure your site works without the 'www.' you'd be surprised how many sites forget to set this up.///

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[I now realize that is question is almost three years old, but I'll leave my answer anyway]

Avoid hyphens in domains unless there's a compelling reason to use hyphens. Use camelCase for promotional things outside of the web like commercials and brochures, ie wherever the user can't just copy and paste the domain. camelCase will make your domain easier to interpret and remember, especially for people who've never seen your domain beforehand. It should be case insenstive anyway.

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I think it's worth pointing out here that URLs are often shared verbally, over the phone, to the hard of hearing, in the pub etc. and adding hyphens into the actual domain could be very confusing in these contexts.

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Can you back this up with some references? –  rk. Jul 9 '13 at 19:02
    
yes, whenever I tell my mother about a website, but I admit that is anecdotal evidence –  ColinSharpe Jul 9 '13 at 19:03
    
:| I meant a publication or an article explaining a user study on the topic –  rk. Jul 9 '13 at 19:13
    
no. i think there is a place for personal experience when you can deduce that what you observe is likely to be common enough, but it doesn't hold as much weight as properly researched stuff ... with hindsight, my answer would have been better as a comment or not at all, but I didn't see the main answer –  ColinSharpe Jul 9 '13 at 20:10
    
From my experience, I usually end up spelling each and every word of the URL just to be sure there is no mistake, so saying 'Hyphen' or 'dash' is not that big of a deal while talking. It is the same with 'under score' or 'dot' in email IDs. –  rk. Jul 9 '13 at 20:13
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