I'm looking for a domain name for my new project and one of the variants is available but has a hyphen between the two words. The non hyphenated variant is registered in the cayman islands.
Are hyphens considered a big no-no when registering a domain name? Is this a good-idea.com ? Should I search for a different name?
As others have said, domain names without hyphens are preferable to those with.
However, I should add that you better make sure your "one word" name does not have possible bad connotations without the hyphens.
I'm going to go completely against the grain and argue in favor of the hyphen.
Just to share a story, I used to own the domain name Webmaster-Resources.com .
WINDOWS Magazine, which had 1 million subscribers at the time did a full-page write-up. They left out the hyphen.
Ouch! We changed to SitePoint not long afterwards...
I would avoid a hyphenated domain for these reasons:
All that being said I would find an original catchy domain name, then try to register the hyphenated version to avoid competitors/squatters from doing so.
I must argue one point of using a domain with a hyphen.
When people type your company name into a search engine, lets say "Experts Exchange" (to use an example from above), they will almost never search for it as expertsexchange unless they have heard of you previously.
However, if someone searches via the keywords "experts exchange", or they separate parts of your company name when they are not supposed to, ex. barndoor vs barn door, it is my understanding that you will receive more hits because people will search for you with separate words rather than just one and this is how Google will read your page.
But, try it out for yourself :)
As with everything else, it's situational.
Engines do give value based on wether there are hyphens in the domain-name or not. That's a fact (and okay). But there are certainly limits involved. So I would say if you have one or two dashes it is okay (having 1 certainly is if you are connecting two keywords). Having more than that indeed looks spammy and is not a good practice. Not in the eyes of the engines and not in the eyes of the people seeing the serps.
I have registered before a lot of domain names without hyphen. Domains with hyphen are considered lower quality among domainers community but for business it is perfect.
I recently registered some domains with hyphen: When there are no available .com for 2 very good keywords it is better to get the domain with hyphen then .org .net etc.
Also, some 2-3 words domains as previous post mentioned are not easily to parse. I have written some domain name parsers and for most 2-3 words domains there are at least 10 possible ways to split on word parts. The task to disambiguate is not easy for machine (Google do it best). It is more easy for human do disambiguate, but there are a lot of cases that it is difficult, especially when words are longer.
So, domain names with hyphens (when 2 words are longer), is better for business IMO.
I think you ought to look for a domain name without a hyphen in it. Hyphens are unusual in domain names. People trying to find your site will often type the unhyphenated version by accident.
The longer and more complicated the domain name, the less likely your customers or the media will be able to type it correctly. This may not matter but probably does.
I think your primary domain should be an unhyphenated domain name, and be as short as possible.
While I disagree with @waxingibbous about if you owned goodidea.com, Google is smart enough to see that as two words without the hyphen. Having said that, I do believe you should purchase secondary domains (that can contain hyphens) for SEO purposes. I have purchased several domains with hyphens that point to my primary domain, and it APPEARS to have improved my SEO as a result.
Without. You don't want to be saying, "Check us out at 'market-hyphen-sense-dot-com'." It sounds silly and unoriginal.
Going with the hyphen is OK if you own the domain without the hyphen. You want to capture emails and traffic from people who type in the domain without the hyphen. You can almost always get a hyphen added to your domain name, but the reverse is rarely true. For example, on-startups.com is available, and has little risk of being registered.