Traffic Analysis: A Guide to Acceptable Domain Names

When it comes to creating the ideal domain name that will get potential customers visiting your web site on a regular basis, coming up with a unique, catchy and unregistered address can prove more difficult than expected.

Some creative webmasters attempt to work around the limitations of available possibilities when they register domain names through iiNet by using uncommon characters as part of the address to create an effectively new domain name, but certain logistical realities mean that this type of tweak isn’t always the best idea.

Green Light

Any of the 26 standard letters in the Roman alphabet is obviously eligible for inclusion in a standard domain name and can be used in any combination desired. A domain name can be up to 67 characters long including the domain name extension such as “.com” or “.net,” and although the registration system of most hosting services will allow you to enter any terms you like, it is best to avoid intentional misspellings, slang and uncommon words that may be mistyped by a visitor.

Yellow Light

While numbers 0-9 as well as some special characters are technically permitted to be used in domain names, the confusion they can sometimes create means they should be used sparingly if at all when creating a domain name.

For example, a curious prospect may type “kingsoflondon1.com” as “kingsoflondonone.com” or even “kingsoflondonwon.com,” and although webmasters can mitigate the misdirecting effect of such misinterpretations by purchasing multiple variants and misspellings of their trade names, the hassle of doing so is avoidable in many cases.

A similar concept applies to the use of special characters such as dashes or hyphens, which may be mistyped, inaccurately rendered or omitted entirely, resulting in broken links and frustrated customers.

Red Light

Any other characters including periods, commas, and exclamation points such as exclamation points and quotation marks cannot be used in a standard domain name. One of the reasons for this is that these characters often correspond to special commands and protocols in the most common programming languages, and allowing widespread use of these characters would likely lead to unforeseen effects on browsers, computers and networks depending on their individual characteristics and configurations.

Another core reason for disallowing these characters is that they are unlikely to be typed in properly by users and would result in many more misdirected traffic compared with a chiefly alphanumeric system. In short, these characters are not used because they are not deemed useful in this context, and so the most influential programmers removed the some of the guesswork of domain name creation by disabling their use.

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