How many characters are too many for a domain name’s length?

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Most companies looking to create and launch their digital presence use their company’s name as their domain name.

Although I know there are nearly 350 million domain names currently registered and counting,
I wish I had specific numbers on how many businesses currently operate a domain name that is an exact match of their business name.

I see a variety of partial match, exact match and brandable domains on a daily commuting between work and home.

For instance, I encountered a company, Business Communication Solutions, using the shortened domain bcs-ip.com, yet they don’t own BusinessCommunicationSolutions.com nor do they own bcsip.com.DevOps Days Austin 2016

But this question of how long is too long for a domain name really hit home this week as I was on my way home from DevOpsDaysAustin.com.

As I was waiting at a light, a vehicle caught my eye. The coupe was wrapped with advertising for an Austin-based cleaning company.

As I approached the vehicle, I noticed the domain. It was AustinCleaningContractors.com.

I wasn’t sure what type of a cleaning services are offered, but my guess is that it’s commercial cleaning based on the use of the word “contractors” in the domain.

Visiting the website no help as it looks to be nothing more than a GoDaddy Website Builder splash page.

Austin Cleaning Contractors

Nevertheless, I didn’t think anything of it until my domain character length criterion of 20 characters was violated, realizing the domain was 25 characters long.

It’s not a law or penalty that a domain should be less than or equal to 20 characters. In my opinion, domains with 3 or 4 words and more than 20 characters better be memorable and off the charts popular.

As I continued my drive home, I went back and forth on whether AustinCleaningContractors.com was a good domain.

After all, it’s a 3-word exact match domain. Yes, it communicates what the company does and what market the company services.

But I kept questioning myself, how many characters are too many for a domain name, and could this company not have found a shorter and more memorable domain to brand?

As usual, I mentally made a list of domains to check their availability (see below):

AustinClean.com
AustinCleaner.com
AustinCleaners.com
AustinCleaning.com
AustinCleaningCo.com
AustinCleaningCompany.com
ATXClean.com
ATXCleaner.com
ATXCleaners.com
ATXCleaning.com
ATXCleaningCo.com
ATXCleaningCompany.com
AustinHomeCleaning.com
AustinHomeCleaner.com
AustinHomeCleaners.com
AustinHouseCleaning.com
AustinHouseCleaner.com
AustinHouseCleaners.com

Notice how I shortened the name city name by abbreviating it, transforming it from an exact match domain to a partial match domain.

My advice for using abbreviated domains is that you want to own the full domain name extension in addition to the abbreviated or shortened version of the domain.

I recommend owning as many variations as your company can possibly own, having each domain redirected to your primary web presence.

I encourage you to use a short and memorable domain and redirect the longer secondary domains to the shorter domain.  Don’t forget to track the domain redirect.

Again, it’s not a penalty to use 3+ word or longer character domains.

However, I’m of the opinion that you desire a domain that can be easily typed, memorable, and looks good when advertised.

What is your opinion? How many characters are too many for a domain name?

Alvin Brown
Alvin is a serial entrepreneur and digital strategist with an avid love for domain name consulting. As the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of DNAdverts.com, his assignment is to ensure business and personal brands don't suffer the consequences of common domain name pitfalls.

As a domain investor and business consultant, Alvin actively participates in daily domain auctions. Outside of auctions, he passionately shares his views, opinions, and vision for how businesses should and should not use domain names to generate greater customer growth and revenue.