Does Spelling Still Matter?

To create a brand new domain name these days, businesses often take the least expensive route and play with the spelling of proper names instead of making the initial investment first and get the right domain from day one. Unfortunately, many choose their domain names poorly early on and face vast issues as the business grows. Cheaper is not always better. It does not always pay to fool around with spelling when it comes to domain names and it may cost you a fortune in the long run. Most novelty spellings confuse consumers, hurt business reputations, confuse your business with others, lose Direct Navigation traffic to the proper spelling, and make business websites hard to find. Using standard spellings of domain names ensures that your business website will be found easily in organic search results.

A recent article on focused on a poll by Barclays Business in which UK consumers were asked whether the name of a business can help or hinder trade.  It found that small and medium businesses with good spelling come out on top with a whopping 89 percent of shoppers saying they were more encouraged to shop there. This was followed by having a memorable business name as the second most compelling factor when attracting customers (87 percent).  Apparently, the first impression customers have about a business name and branding process greatly influences future company success.  Barclays’ poll demonstrated that it is important not to overlook fine details such as grammar or spelling which, if incorrect, could be detrimental to business.

Think about this: many phishing scams begin with emails that appear to be from a well-known brand.  These emails often contain malware designed to hack accounts, steal passwords, financial data or other personal information.  However, checks against the actual brand’s domain name and URL can unmask scammers because the fake emails are riddled with poor spelling and grammar mistakes which are unlikely to be genuine messages from the professional team at most reputable brands.  Misspelled words and grammatical errors make consumers suspicious.

Of course, this isn’t to say that novelty spellings and abbreviations cannot find permanent places in our language and as domain names.  The modern usage of ‘app’ for applications is a great example of an appealing mass adoption of a novelty abbreviation as a legitimate permanent word in our collective lexicon.  So is the evolution of the app Twitter since people did not always ‘tweet’ information. When Twitter launched, the corresponding domain name was unavailable so the company used “twttr.”  How many users would have naturally gotten this spelling correct during a search?  The company made the right decision for the future of its brand when it purchased six months later from the domain owner.

Ultimately, taking the time and money to invest in a great domain name is always better than simply accepting a sub-standard name. Spelling still matters.  The fact is, a business creates more work for itself by registering poor domain names. In addition to making and maintaining a great website and brand, it now has to explain how their name is spelled, overcome consumer bias, suffer lower rankings in organic search results, and deal with the many negative perceptions associated with misspellings.