6 Things to Consider When Using Numbers in Your Domain

Numbers in domains aren’t all that common. Most domains stick with words only, with numbers rarely even considered. You might assume from this that numbers are not good to have in domains. That’s not always true.

Most of the top sites don’t use numbers in their names, but numbers still offer branding opportunity. Certain numbers have a defined meaning overall or in particular context and would act as a keyword. In other cases, can be the brandable aspect of a domain.

What things should you consider when looking at domains with numbers?

1. Try to stick with numbers with meaning

Numbers and terms that contain numbers like 247, 360 and b2b have meaning much like words do. Similarly, 21st in context with a phrase like “21st century” has a clear meaning, as would 21 for blackjack sites. Numbers in these cases are not a weakness but very much act like keywords themselves.

2. Get spelled-out variations when necessary

No one would spell out 21st in “21st Century”, but what about “3rd Planet”, “number 1” or “top 10”? In each case, there’s a good chance someone would spell the number out. You shouldn’t avoid such names, but get the spelled-out variations if possible or you may lose valuable traffic.

3. Try to avoid 4 in place of “for” and 2 in place of “to”

There have been brands that have seen success with these variations, but they are few and far between. These names tend to look more gimmicky and cheap. If you don’t have the “for” or “to” version of the name, you would lose massive traffic as well. It just doesn’t work as well for brandability as it may have in the past.

4. Be aware that arbitrary numbers are replaceable and hard to remember

Arbitrary numbers are numbers that may have a meaning in context but visitors wouldn’t know it. What does the 37 in 37Signals.com mean for instance? While that site has been a success, it may have come harder due to the number use. Arbitrary numbers can be incorrectly remembered rather easily. They CAN still offer branding, but the rest of the name should be great to make up for it.

5. Alphabetically they come before a, pertinent for directories

This was once a major benefit to starting a domain with a number instead of a letter. The web was more directory-driven and top placement would get you much more traffic. These days, directories direct only a small amount of traffic. It’s still something to realize in case directories are a big part of your traffic strategy.

6. Avoid using more than one number (unless a common phrase utilizes more than one)

Since numbers already add a brandable factor to a domain, you generally want to avoid piling on. A phrase like “9 to 5” to describe full-time work might still fly. Otherwise, you’re simply asking visitors to remember too much.

At Domainate, we regularly deal with domains with numbers. Using numbers the right way in domains can giving you a potential worldwide branding advantage. Contact us and we can help you determine whether a domain with a number may work best for you.

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6 Comments on “6 Things to Consider When Using Numbers in Your Domain”

  1. Quinn Taggart says:

    What about phone #’s as a domain? what’s your take on those…..

    • Steve Jones says:

      It depends…I think an entirely numeric phone number domain is probably not a good idea, but a vanity one like 1800Flowers.com can be good. You would absolutely have to have the matching phone number of whatever you use.

      The reason entirely numeric phone numbers in my opinion aren’t good is because they’re too long for a numeric name and numerics don’t say what is on the name. At least with a vanity number, you’d have the opportunity to say or hint at what’s on the name.

      With numerics, very few names beyond 5 digits are worth getting.

  2. Laurentius says:

    Hi Steve

    What`s your opinion about Hologram101.com, Holography101 , I mean 101 in a name.
    Regards
    Laurentius

    • Steve Jones says:

      Hi Laurentius,

      That’s a good use of number – we’ve had names with 101 in the past and have had nice sales of them. 101 has been used enough outside of the college course realm to essentially mean the basics of a subject. Because of that, it acts more like a keyword than a typical number.

      Thanks for the comment!

      -Steve

  3. AJ says:

    What about using l337 speak? For instance if I wanted to buy a domain with my name but it was taken so I substitute a 3 for an e.

    • Steve Jones says:

      I think l337 speak names could have worked in the past, but it’s so rarely used anymore that they’re really not worthwhile. They wouldn’t be taken seriously and even for fun, l337 speak isn’t really “cool” anymore. (speaking of which, the one l337 speak name I sold was c00l.net many years ago)


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