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Dash Disaster: How a Simple Hyphen May Sabotage Your Success

8 Proven Points To Consider


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Plain and simple, there are no serious businesses or brands that will use a hyphen or dash in their domain. Here are the important reasons why. 

In the digital era, where your domain name is not just an address but the cornerstone of your brand’s online identity, opting for a domain with a dash can be a glaring misstep. It often conveys a sense of cheapness.

A dashed domain not only detracts from the aesthetic appeal and professionalism of your brand but also suggests a lack of foresight or investment in building a strong, memorable online presence.

In essence, settling for a hyphenated domain is akin to voluntarily placing a blemish on your brand’s face, one that could significantly undermine its credibility and appeal in the highly competitive digital landscape.

  • Severe Brand Damage: A domain with a dash can severely harm your brand’s image. It often looks unprofessional or like a cheap imitation. This can significantly undermine your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers.
  • Major SEO Disadvantages: A dashed domain can lead to serious SEO disadvantages. Dashed-domains tend to be more complicated, reducing your site’s backlink potential. This will significantly hinder your website’s ability to rank well in search engines.
  • Increased Risk of Lost Traffic: People are prone to forgetting or mistyping dashes, leading them to a competitor’s site or a 404 error page. This results in a substantial loss of traffic, potential leads, and ultimately, revenue.
  • Communication Nightmares: Explaining a dashed domain in verbal communications like podcasts, interviews, or networking events can be a nightmare. It often requires additional clarification and can be easily misunderstood, leading to missed opportunities and confusion.
  • Email Deliverability Issues: Dashes in email addresses linked to your domain are prone to being mistyped, leading to failed communications and professional embarrassments. This can be especially problematic in critical business communications.
  • Lower Resale Value: If you’re considering the future resale value of your domain, a dash can drastically lower its market value. Premium domains without dashes are far more sought after in the domain resale market.
  • Perception of Being a Second Choice: A domain with a dash often gives the impression that it was the second choice, implying that the business was too late to secure the preferred, dash-free version. This can make the business appear less established or behind its competitors.
  • Difficulties in Numerous Markets: In some languages and regions, the concept of a dash in a domain can be even more confusing or difficult to convey, potentially limiting your brand’s global appeal and accessibility.

It’s crucial to weigh these considerations carefully, especially if the domain name is a central element of your digital marketing strategy and brand identity.

But wait a second…

What about chick-fil-a.com? Two hyphens?

 Ahh. Good question! The odds are, you’re not as prominent as Chick-fil-A, but either way, the company made it an important point to also own Chickfila.com, for all the reasons mentioned above. Their approach to domain management further illustrates the importance of owning a non-hyphenated version of a brand’s domain name. This move is not just about protecting their brand; it’s a recognition of the potential for confusion and misdirection that can occur with hyphenated domains. By owning both variations, Chick-fil-A ensures that customers trying to reach their site, whether they type the domain with or without the hyphen, will be directed to the correct website. This careful consideration in domain selection and protection reflects an understanding of the nuances of online branding and the importance of a seamless user experience in building and maintaining a strong digital presence.

Other larger companies that initially chose hyphenated URLs often recognize the value of owning the non-hyphenated versions as well.

Take, for instance, Fisher-Price. While their primary website is “www.fisher-price.com”, they astutely own “FisherPrice.com” too, which smartly redirects to their parent company, Mattel, showcasing a strategic approach to domain management.

Similarly, the American Automobile Association (AAA), who used “www.triple-a.com”, has moved towards embracing “AAA.com” as their primary domain.

This shift underscores their understanding of the limitations and challenges associated with hyphenated domains.

The adoption of these non-hyphenated versions by such prominent companies is a testament to the inherent advantages of simpler, more straightforward domain names in terms of brand recognition, memorability, and ease of use.

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