As you already know, selecting a domain name requires a lot of thinking. There are many different factors that go into the selection of a great domain name, and you want to do everything in your power to make the right choice. That's because a great domain name can provide many benefits for you and your website that an average one will not. Additionally, poor domains can end up hurting you right out of the gate, crushing your business before you ever get a chance to get off of the ground.
One of the topics that has many people interested in the world of domain name selection is the usage of dashes and underscores. Many people, including myself, have debated the benefits and disadvantages of using these various methods as opposed to using a domain name with the words not broken up, as in www.youronlinebusiness.com as opposed to www.your-online-business.com or www.your_online_business.com.
To begin with, the usage of underscores in your domain name is highly discouraged. It is frowned upon by the major search engines, including Google, and will only confuse your visitors and potential visitors. That's because it's hard to notice the underscore, and some people will think it's merely a space. You'll end up losing traffic, and your rankings will be tarnished as your site suffers from the inclusion of underscores.
Dashes on the other hand can be quite successful. The first reason that people may opt to use dashes in their domain name is because their first few choices without dashes were already taken. If somebody already owns www.yourprimarykeyword.com, you can opt to select www.your-primary-keyword.com and still have something that's as close to your first choice as possible.
One important thing to note is that while dashes can be advantageous, you never want to use more than one or two in a single domain name. Anything more than that and you are simply making things too confusing. Not to mention that you probably are also using a domain name that's too lengthy all on its own. If you decide you want to use dashes, keep it to one or two at the most to ensure success.
Have dashes been proven to be more successful than no spaces, or vice-versa? They both have their upsides and downsides. Most people prefer to not use any dashes if the domain name they want is available. However, there are many instances where dashes help improve the readability of your domain, by separating the words that may be running into one another. Some people are even beginning to think that dashes are looked upon favorably in the search engines as well, although this is mere speculation at this point.
When you're ready to select your domain name, you have to be smart about the decision process. Whatever you do, you should avoid underscores at all costs. The debate between dashes and no spaces is still going on, but both can be very advantageous for your site. Just be sure to keep the dashes to use to no more than two and you'll be on the right track.