The ultimate aim of a domain name would be to engage and attract consumers to visit the website, and while domain name length has a significant impact on user experience, at the same time, it doesn’t.
What I mean by this is that user experience is for everyone, but every user doesn’t like, do, or think the same thing. So, user experience needs to be catered to different segments or categories of users, but you can’t please them all. Hence, why domain name length matters to some and doesn’t to others.
“Users and their experiences always exist along a spectrum.”
Domain names have seemingly from the start of the internet had the stigma attached that the shorter the name, the better for a few reasons:
- Shorter = Easier to read, remember, and recall
- Shorter = Easier and quicker to type
- Shorter = Fits on business cards or brochures
Expert question-answerer, Roger Attrill, on ux.stackexchange.com explains:
“… long domain names do affect user experience. Some more than others.
‘Power users’ know how to avoid typing the address if possible.
• there are going to be some users who don’t have a browser with a suggestive omnibox
• there are going to be users who hunt and peck at the keys and don’t even look at the screen until they’ve typed the address
• there are going to be users who always type because they prefer the keyboard over the mouse
• there are going to be mobile device users who never use copy/paste and/or find it extra fiddly to type longer domains
• urls can often be seen or shared in a way that does not allow copy paste. (Try copy/paste off the side of a bus)
and an often forgotten group of users:
• admin, support, management and other in-house employees are users too and they will be using the domain on a regular basis when talking, emailing, or networking with those outside the company – spare a thought for them.
It’s not like user experience having this binary state of being good or bad or people being affected or not affected.
Users and their experiences always exist along a spectrum.”
Although the scenarios stated above are somewhat small groups of users on the internet, they can still potential clientele, or, depending on your business or website, they could be important and/or significant market segments. Missing out on them could be devastating.
On the other hand, you may be targeting the more tech-proficient and/or younger audiences, which in this case, doesn’t really affect you.
Sure, it’s a pretty daring statement when you say “domain name length doesn’t matter”, but hear me out here. If you go to my website, chris.com.au, you can see that… oh, wait, it’s not my website because…
It’s already taken.
Damn straight. It’s taken, and it literally only has an opening and a closing <html> tag on it. Disgusting.
With the infinitely expanding internet in its current state, it is seemingly impossible to get the simplest desirable domain name for a business or website.
So, when your desired domain name is already taken, you’re forced to action other options:
- Add more words (making it longer anyway)
- Pay a little more for a different extension
- Purchase the taken domain name
You can always (if possible) register a shorter-named domain to use for business cards and other marketing collateral, and simply link it to the longer-named domain. Although, there is the hassle of paying for two domains…
Another reason why domain names length doesn’t matter is that with a longer domain name opportunity, comes the opportunity to better describe your business, brand, product, or service, giving a clearer first impression of what you offer.
“My tip: make people want to remember your domain name, no matter how long it is.”
Check out a previous article of mine noting some of the most creative, goofy, and longest (allowed) domain names.
If you’re looking for more guidance on what to look for in a domain name, check out my brief domain name checklist article.