Startups · Website design

How important is it to use the hyphen that exists in our start ups domain in our logo?

Nerea Anderson CEO at YumClub

November 25th, 2015

Our website uses a hyphen in the name and one partner says it's imperative we use it in the logo as to not confuse our customers and my other partner who owns a branding company says it's not imperative and our company will come up with SEO once it's live as we have a lot of content on the site. I need to make a decision....

Alex Eckelberry CEO at Meros.io

November 25th, 2015

There continues to be some bizarre myth that a hyphen in a URL is a good thing. It is wrong. I had a hyphen at one company (because we couldn't get the URL we wanted, so we did the hyphen). I danced a happy dance when we finally got rid of it. 

If you can't get the name you want, consider using other options, like .co, etc. 

No hyphen. Make the URL simple enough that people can type in your URL and get your site. 

Nick Gray Co-Founder / Sales / Data Architecture

November 25th, 2015

branding = better without

Robinson Kelly CEO Clay Tablet Technologies Inc., President CSC Inc.

November 27th, 2015

All good advice, avoid it if all possible. But here's a tale of a start-up WITH a hyphen. And I sold it for millions. ; )

When we founded Clay Tablet Technologies in 2005 - we loved the name we'd struggled to come up with. It fit our (at the time) revolutionary approach to content management in multiple languages, was catchy - tablets weren't yet huge, so confusion was minimal and our designer came up with great artwork. But the URL wasn't available!

So we went with clay-tablet.com. I've said and typed that SO many times in the last decade that it flows effortlessly. But I too fretted over the "friction" it would cause in those very early days. Further - there was another (unrelated) firm using claytablet.com. 

But we went for it. If your idea, team and timing are right - hyphens, while avoided if possible, won't stand in your way.

We went on to drive millions in revenue through web leads, built a global brand and landed many of the world's largest web properties as clients.I sold the firm last year for 5X. And the hyphen's still there. ; )

The moral of the story is that if the vision is crisp and compelling, and the name is perfect for the brand you're building - while certainly adding a bit of friction - a hyphen won't kill you.

Good luck!!

RK

PS. To technically answer your initial q - our logo omits the hyphen.

Lee Stein Owner, Stein Writes, Inc.

November 25th, 2015

The point that is missing: If you used a hyphen in the URL, that suggests that your URL without a hyphen was not available, meaning in use or potentially in use by someone doing something similar to you. So what's going to happen, even if you carefully brand everything without and include the hyphen in your URL branding, many people will still enter the URL without a hyphen, therefore losing traffic. Even one prospect entering the incorrect URL (even though most will as Ben noted probably be clicking on a link) may cost you considerable business. I'd recommend a URL without a hyphen that does coordinate with your brand. 

Rowan Richards Business Developer at Rowan Richards

November 25th, 2015

I agree with Alex. Remove the hyphen if possible.

Thomas Kaled Business Development Consultant @ thomas.kaled@gmail.com

November 25th, 2015

Nerea,

Purchase both domain names (with and without hyphen) point them at the same IP address (or have the hosting company do it on your behalf) and your partner will never know the difference.

I'm applying for Solomon's job...just don't ask me to settle any further (potential)  conflicts.

Nerea Anderson CEO at YumClub

November 25th, 2015

Thank you everyone for your comments. Based on everyone's comments and  little more research on the internet which states if possible, stay away from a hyphen in a url. As a startup, I want the best foot out the door, so back to basics to finding a url that works! Thanks again!

Chris Taylor Director, Channel Marketing at Yuneec USA, Inc.

November 25th, 2015

Simple rule of thumb - minimize friction. As you say, as a startup and getting your first foot out the door, you want as little friction as possible from discovery by a prospect to conversion into a customer. Whatever path they go.

If you're trying to talk yourself into an answer then it's a problem. If you're getting lots of great answers about the right thing to do but they're on both sides, then it's a problem. Trust me, compromising now is going to really suck six months or a year or two years from now when you're hating the solution that you settled for today.



If you're not sure and the question generates a long thread back and forth as this has, or you're trying to talk yourself into a solution, then it's a problem and if possible you should find another solution.

Ben Rolling CEO, Trusted Voices, Inc.

November 25th, 2015

So much hyphen hate.  Do people type in URLs anymore?  I see a lot more searching and clicking or links from social posts.  SEO will work whether or not you have a hyphen.

Rich Webster Wordpress Training & Development, Communications Consulting, Design and PHP/JS/HTML5/CSS3

November 25th, 2015

Two things, here...

1. Don't screw up the logo with a hyphen to match the URL. From the perspective of bots scanning the site for search engines, a hyphen is a space. You can see if you can get the company name with the words run together (mycompany.com vs my-company.com) but it doesn't matter much. Keeping it the same over time matters more.

2. get all your content together and have an SEO savvy (but also human-savvy) editor organize the words and presentation to maximize SEO. Then, while the site is being built, the site title, page titles, and content structure all should be optimized for SEO while the site structure is being established. It's OK to do things like link titles and image alt-text tags after the site is live, but it should really be done beforehand. If the deadline is super-tight, and you're using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can do some retroactively fairly easily, but it should really be done prior to submitting the site maps via Google Webmaster Tools and setting up Analytics, within a few days of going live. As soon as people start bookmarking pages, you've missed the opportunity to set URLs to match Page Titles, Page Titles to match content, content to be structured with HTML tags in a hierarchical semantic way, which is what good SEO requires. Changing the URL of the page will mean the end user will get 404 errors, unless you set up a redirect every time a URL changes. It's best to have that all perfect before the site is live. Then add content regularly via blog for maximum SEO.