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I'm looking to create a website to use with a small business. However, due to the specific domain name I'm looking at being far too expensive for me to purchase, I'm forced to use one of two domain name patterns. Either I will be using example-company.com or examplecompanyaccessories.com.

Both of these break the guidelines of picking a domain name by either containing a hyphen or being 20+ characters in length. I personally believe that using example-company.com will be more concise (thereby reducing the chances of misspellings), easier to remember, and easier to articulate verbally, however, I am concerned about using a hyphen.

Is one domain name pattern preferable to the other?

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I think neither of these is perfect, and it would be opinion based which one would be a "lesser sin". You have several options, though, I would give a try:

  • checking another top level domain, such as .co or .eu in case you are located in Europe. Both look quite international and strong, and it is a matter of a business decision. I think using something easier to remember, even if the tld is not the common one, may work better.

  • explore on your unique value proposition to see if there are any additional candidates. Your domain does not need even to be your company name, but something deeper. Focus on what you give your Users or Clients. Sometimes it is not what you sell directly, for example: selling foldable scooters you may actually sell freedom of commuting.

  • The similar name that is more descriptive to what the business does is a great idea I hadn't considered – Kyte Aryus Mar 27 '17 at 21:02
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What about buying both domain names and redirect one to the other?

We have a similar issue with my company, where some of our customers write the domain name with one D and some with two Ds. That is why we have bought two domain names.

As for which you will keep as your main domain name, I would say the example-company.com. It seems to be more high-level than examplecompanyaccessories.com and it seems to be easier to understand.

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You want your domain to be a short and simple as possible, for various reasons, one being prestige.

so if you have keyword1 and keyword2, that you feel must be in your domain your options are:

keyword1keyword2keyword3.com

keyword1-keyword2.com

or keyword1keyword2.co (an alternate TLD)

3 keywords does start to get on the long side, a little clumsy, and it can be difficult to decide what that 3rd keyword might be, Facebook chose The - TheFaceBook for example. However, you will be using a credible TLD and avoid dashes, which can also have a somewhat spammy connotation.

A dash in the domain will also have a somewhat spammy connotation, if you have to use this approach, definitely make sure you only use one dash, and if it is a .com, then its probably not so bad. This would be my option.

With a different TLD you lose the prestige of .com, and thus your brand will not look as credible, this would be my last choice. If you have to take this route, I would suggest a .net or .co. or a TLD germane to your industry e.g. .lawyer

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Domain names with hyphens are less common, and are somewhat harder to pronounce. Compare: "The big chill", vs "The, hyphen, big, hyphen, chill".

Domain names are case insensitive, so nothing stops anyone from using camelCase or PascalCase on print, albeit quite uncommon. And at any rate a hyphen makes domain names more readable as no need for the brain to work out the word breaks. Compare: whatididlastnight.com, vs what-i-did-last-night.

The less words in a domain name, the easier they are to remember (unless the extra word is a notable one - twodevelopers vs twofuckingdevelopers).

So, it seems to me that example-company.com will be better in your case.

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