7 Bad Naming Practices That Can Hurt a Domain’s Quality and EffectivenessPosted: December 13, 2011
Evaluating domains is never cut-and-dry. Even with the most important criteria at hand, you can end up with a domain that is somehow still bad. It’s part of why being in the domain industry is challenging.
Some of these are things that circumstances might cause, making a good domain not nearly as good as it would otherwise be. Some are when going outside-the-box leads to practices that are rare because they’re bad.
In any event, you should generally try to avoid these practices:
1. Double hyphens
Hyphens in a domain aren’t a good idea most of the time, especially for a brand. Having two in a row makes a domain worthless in nearly all cases. It not only serves absolutely no practical purpose, but it kills the SEO potential of the domain. Search engines don’t treat double hyphens as a space like they do a single hyphen.
2. Word + e or i + word
The letters e and i both can be great domain prefixes. They’re not nearly as good at the beginning of a 2+ word domain, and they’re definitely not good between 2 words. The only case this is true is if e or i + the keyword after it has itself become a keyword (such as ebook). Otherwise, it tends to come off looking like a typo or misspelling.
3. Triple repeating letters
In a multiple-word domain, if the letter ending a word also begins the next word, it can cause typos to happen. Those cases however are common enough and not necessary to avoid. However, a triple-repeating letter causes a lot more mistypes and the name in all lowercase (as it is in the URL and status bars) is much harder to read word by word.
If you use such a name, make sure to get the double-repeating typo (i.e. if basssounds.com is the name, get bassounds.com too). Otherwise, you’ll lose a significant percentage of your traffic.
4. Numbers in an abbreviation
Plenty of companies use an abbreviation of their full name instead of their full name. It’s probably not a good idea if a number is in it however. BCF looks normal and like an abbreviation – 1CF or similar names do not, making the name look weird. That said, there are a few cases of common abbreviations that have used numbers, such as b2b for business-to-business.
5. Unnatural word order
There is an SEO belief that a phrase in the wrong word order in a domain will still give SEO benefits. Even if it did, it makes the name much worse. Even matching a phrase that gets some searches per month isn’t that great if it’s not a natural phrase, i.e. HostingVirtual instead of VirtualHosting. You might get some traffic but your name will look bad and won’t be very memorable.
6. Adding a random character to the beginning or end of your desired name
Prefixes and suffixes can help you get the name you want – sort of. We provided 300 common examples of ones used. Adding a random character on the other hand tends to ruin the name. At worst, added letters/digits should at least contribute as an abbreviation, i.e. FHPoker being short for Full House Poker.
7. Using a common misspelling as a brandable misspelling
For some difficult-to-spell words, people have to condition themselves to spell it right over a particular incorrect variation. For instance, if you wanted your company to brand itself as “Wierd”, people will likely misremember it as the correct spelling. A more obvious misspelling of a word works better as a brand name.
An exception is if the word is hard to spell because it’s spelled oddly in the first place. Google notably capitalized on the odd spelling of the word googol to craft an easy to remember variation of it. It’s safe to say that worked out fine for them!
Note that these kinds of naming mistakes are not easy to come up with because most of them are not very common. Feel free to share any bad naming patterns or tactics that you’ve noticed.