Ending up With a Bad Domain Name

It is unarguably accepted that having a website is important to the success of your business. Having a website starts with having a domain name and if handled carelessly, you could end up with a bad domain name.

What exactly is a bad domain name?

A bad domain name is a domain name that exhibits any of the following characters:

  • It cannot be easily understood, as the case is with some hyphenated and abbreviated domain names
  • It can act like a spam indicator, as it is with hyphenated names
  • It is not easily remembered such as domain names with hyphens and numbers
  • It has a bad past, some folks have bought domains that had been blocked by Google for SEO offences.
  • It is the same with an already copyrighted name

Why have a website at all if people will not remember the name or may take it to be a spam website? Or why have a website if the domain name has been banned by Google? No one will see it on search engine results if it has been banned.

Examples of bad domain names

Below is a list of some bad domain names that people have registered.

  • www.expertsexchange.com: Is that to mean they are exchange experts or that the website is about expert sex change?

  • www.can.com: If you are not a popular and recognised brand, e.g. CNN which uses www.cnn.com, an abbreviated domain name is not a good option for you.

  • www.therapistfinder.com: Is that supposed to be ‘therapist finder’ or ‘the rapist finder’?

  • www.jane-doe.com: According to SeoMoz, hyphens in a domain name can make it seem like spam to people who see it and to Google which will affect your traffic and search engine rankings

How to avoid ending up with a bad domain name

  1. There are good domain and hosting providers that will not only provide you with good domain names but can give you advice on how to choose a good domain name for your website. Getting advice from experts is always a good move.
  2. If you are buying a domain name that has been in use before, do a site search first. Even if you are buying directly from a domain provider, you should still do this because you can never know if sooner had once bought and stopped using that domain name. A site search among other things will help you see if there have been any bad comments about the domain name in the past. You should do the site search on multiple search engines not just one.
  3. Do your research well to learn how to pick a domain name that people will easily understand and remember. Picking a domain name is not like picking a paper out of a hat, strategic thinking and research has to be dedicated to it
  4. Be simple in your choice. Going overboard in trying to be creative and unique can have you ending up with a domain name that hurts your brand.
  5. Use archive.org to show the previous versions of the site linked to the domain name you are looking to purchase. If the domain name has been owned before, you should find its previous versions there. If you are seeing spam content on it, you should avoid the domain

What if you already have a bad domain name?

If you already purchased a bad domain name, all hope is not lost. If your domain name has issues of bad history, you might be able to get help in getting it cleaned up and reconsidered by Google. If you have an issue with the structure of the name such as hyphenations, use of abbreviations or lack of clarity, you can purchase a new and better domain name and have it parked over the existing one.

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