Choosing a domain name can be difficult, but we're here to help you make the right decision. As well as knowing how to choose a domain name, choosing the right domain extension like .com or and the length of your URL matters too.

Did you know that choosing a long or a short domain name can affect everything from user experience, SEO, and website performance?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the long vs short domains argument, which is better for which use case, and some points to help you decide whether to use a long or short domain name.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the unique address that users use to locate your website on the internet. Thanks to DNS lookups, we don’t have to remember long IP addresses – instead – we simply remember a site’s name. Domains consists of a website name and a domain name extension. For example, the address in the bar at the top of this page starts with – that’s our domain name.

It’s like the street address of your home – it’s the information that users need to find you online. That’s why having a memorable or relevant domain name is important, because if they can remember it, they’re more likely to be able to find your website time and time again.

Learn more: What is a domain name?

What’s the ideal length of a domain name?

So, should you opt for a long or short domain name? In most cases, choosing a short domain name is going to be better than a longer one. This doesn't mean that long domain names are bad however, just that being concise is often the best option. Ultimately, the best approach is a pragmatic, holistic one.

In a study of the top 250 websites in the world, the average length of a domain name was 7–15 characters, while 177 domains (70%) had 8 characters or less. The most common domain name combination included 7 characters and 2 words. Just three domains contained a dash and only 11 out of the 250 domains had an alphanumeric character. In general, we would recommend using these findings as a baseline on how to make your domain name.

The benefits of having a short domain (between 5–8 characters) range from customer memorability to being easier to type on mobile devices and even more marketable. But it’s not always this clear cut, and sometimes there are specific scenarios where a long domain name can be beneficial.

The benefits of short domain names

Often, a shorter domain name will allow you to create an online presence that’s unique, catchy, and memorable. Let us walk you through some benefits of shorter domain names.

1. Easier to remember

In 1956, psychologist George Miller famously proposed that most adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short-term memory, and that the ‘magic’ number was 7. This just so happens to be almost exactly the same quantity we propose as a guideline for your domain name character limit!

Limiting your domain name to somewhere between 5–8 characters will ensure that users don’t have any problems remembering you and finding you online. We would also recommend minimising (or completely avoiding) numbers, hyphens and any non-standard spellings, as these will only make it more difficult to remember. Only use them if absolutely necessary, otherwise, if you give them an opportunity to forget, and they probably will.

2. Easier to share

Practically speaking, short domains are easier to share. Whether this is simply copying and pasting, embedding into a post, or even printing onto physical objects such as business cards, a shorter domain name looks neater and more professional. Not to mention that short domains are easily communicable via word of mouth – drawing new users to your site.

3. Easier to type on mobile

More than half of web traffic comes from mobile devices – 59.16% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to be exact. And this world-wide trend is only growing as the younger generations are increasingly mobile-first. Given the significance of mobile, it’s wise to select a domain which is easy to type and view on a smaller screen.

4. More marketable

When we say your domain should be “marketable”, we mean it should be catchy and convey what your brand represents to the user. An example of a great domain is Facebook. Why? Because it conveys what the brand is to the user instantaneously, while also being short and easy to remember. Top-level domains are also a great way to increase the marketability of your short domain name. For instance adding a .shop domain to your ecommerce store would help users to understand a bit more about your site before they click.

5. Differentiation

Tied into making your domain name marketable is the idea of making it unique. While there’s an argument to be had for exact-match or keyword-loaded domains (more on that later), this can also run the risk of sounding generic and unmemorable. For example, if you sell clothes, goodclothes(dot)com just sounds generic. Thinking of a unique sounding domain name will help to establish a stronger personality and market positioning for your online project.

Having said all of that, there are a number of instances where long domain names are not only unavoidable, but also beneficial.

Limitations of short URLs

Short and concise domain names are no more than two words. While they’re easier to remember than long URL names, you run the risk of your desired name already being taken – especially if the brand name you use is a common word. You’ll have to get your creative hat on to make your domain both unique and memorable (as well as easy to type out), which may involve some some time and effort to get right.

Benefits of long domain names

Here are the most common benefits of choosing a long domain name over a short domain name:

  • If your brand already has a long name, it’s best to stay on brand and use that in your domain name, otherwise you could confuse potential customers.
  • Due to the popularity of domain names that are registered in 2022, there’s a high probability that the domain name you want will already be taken. To combat this however, you can find out who owns a domain and purchase it from them – but only if they’re willing to sell.
  • Domain names that include target keywords in them sometimes rank higher in search engine results pages (SERP). But we wouldn’t recommend stuffing keywords into your domain name.

Does your domain name affect SEO?

The last point about SEO deserves a little more detail, as it’s a contentious topic even for some SEO experts. As of 2024, as far as we’re aware, Google still gives some preference to domains that have keywords in them that the website is trying to rank for, this is called exact match domain (EMD) and partial match domain (PMD).

An example of an EMD would be:

  • seo (dot) com
  • graphicdesign (dot) com
  • smsmarketing (dot) com

A PMD is a domain that features the keyword but also has other words that are not keywords, for example:

  • johnseo (dot) com
  • boutiquegraphicdesign (dot) com
  • simplysmsmarketing (dot) com

Is it worth creating an SEO-friendly domain name? The takeaway point is that having a domain name that contains the search term that you’re trying to rank for can give you an advantage when it comes to SEO, and this is often more conducive to long domain names.

Should I care about the length of my URLs?

For best practice, yes. Search engines like Google favour “easy-to-read” URLs than those with tons of numbers and symbols. For example, a descriptive URL (e.g., /clothing/dresses/party-dresses/) is easier for users to understand and is more likely to be clicked on, as opposed to say /clothing/SKU-4529783%/). Plus, clear URLs with keywords can also boost SEO, particularly when used as links on a homepage.

Plus, shorter, clearer URLs improve click rates and reduce bounce rates, impacting SEO through better user experience.

Tips on choosing the right domain name length

Choosing the perfect domain name can be tough, especially if you’re set on a name, only to discover it’s already been taken. 

We’d advise checking what's available first before getting attached to a brand name. We understand the appeal of aiming for a .com extension due to its popularity and memorability, but if you only aim to trade in the UK, a or .uk TLD or ccTLD may be more suitable. 

However, if you really want to show you offer products and services globally, there are other alternatives, such as .world or .shop domains, which you can register to show you offer your services outside of your home country.

Protect your brand name

Finally, It's important to safeguard your brand by buying different domain extensions and variations, including misspelt versions – particularly if you opt for a long domain name. This can help protect your brand from competitors registering similar domains and ensures users reach your site instead of going elsewhere.

Should I choose a long domain name or a short domain name?

Ultimately, there is no right answer or one-size-fits-all recommendation. You should try and choose a domain name that conveys your products or services to the user clearly, while being as short as possible. In an ideal world, you would be able to choose a domain that includes your brand name, and a word (preferably a keyword) that describes your business.

If you can do this and still come out with a short domain name between 5–8 characters, you’ve hit the jackpot. If this is simply not possible because of the length of your brand name, or the domains you’re after are already taken, it’s important not to get too caught up in the long domain vs. short domain argument. There are countless examples of both being successful.

If you’ve decided on a domain name, length and all, why not choose to host it with us? Or maybe you’re keen to discuss the topic further with one of our experts? In that case, talk to our sales team today.