A domain name with numbers makes perfect sense in many situations. However, you might also wonder whether you both can and should do this. After all, there’s user comprehension to think about, and your own brand’s presentation. As such, a factor that seems simple becomes a minefield fast.
For this post, we’ll look at whether a domain name with numbers is something you should invest in. The first part of the post will talk about the issues you should be aware of. The rest of the post will offer some tips to make your domain name shine regardless of its makeup.
The issues around using a domain name with numbers ⚠️
So, right off the bat, let’s get something straight. There is no inherent penalty, law, guideline, or restriction on using a number in a domain name. This means, if you want to set up 123456789.biz, you can do that.
However, there are a few reasons why the majority of sites don’t use a domain name with numbers, even where it would otherwise make sense:
- Reading and spoken comprehension. If your business name is “Come2Eat”, this represents a conundrum for the user. For example, if they hear about you through word of mouth, do they type “to” or “2”? This can be confusing, and bring about some unwanted side effects.
- User aversion due to malicious intent. Typosquatting is a serious business that can net you in all sorts of trouble. Imagine g0ogle.com, netf1ix.com, or even doma1nwheel.com. All three of these take advantage of mistyping or substitution errors. As such, users who find a domain name with numbers might think twice about clicking through.
You can extrapolate from this last point into general hacking scams. Many malicious email addresses will use numbers to make themselves look like they come from large companies, so there’s a natural aversion for many.
You should also take care not to infringe trademark or copyright through changing words to numbers. For instance, you can’t register 6flags.com, even though the famous amusement parks use the name “Six Flags”. Remember this particular example though, as we’ll mention it again later.
5 tips for creating a domain name with numbers ☑️
In general, we’d shy away from using a domain name with numbers if there is any chance of misinterpretation. However, there are a few tips we can give you if you do want to consider it. Some of the tips below also matter based on appropriate usage. In fact, this is an ideal place to start.
- Match your branding
- Check the domain name’s history
- Marry your domain name with numbers with a reputable TLD
- Don’t worry about using common words or acronyms that include numbers
- Buy two (or more) versions of your domain name
1. Match your branding
The number one reason you should use a domain name with numbers is that it matches your branding. Think about some of the major brands that use digits in their names, and how this would translate if their domain names didn’t use those numbers.
For instance, adhesives and laminates company 3M – yes, the tape people – would have comprehension issues if its domain name were threem.com
First of all, the URL wouldn’t match the company name, which will cause confusion. Second, it’s hard to know how to pronounce that domain. Is it “three-em” or something different?
It’s the same for Microsoft’s Xbox 360. The gaming console uses numbers, so a URL that reads, “xboxthreesixty.com” wouldn’t be accurate. It’s arguably more cumbersome to read too.
To sum up, if your company branding uses numbers, a domain name with numbers makes perfect sense.
2. Check the domain name’s history
If you want to register a new domain name, it could be that you aren’t the first owner. In fact, it’s highly possible that you will buy a domain that used to be another site entirely. Given the way that hackers tend to use numbers in domain names, it makes sense to first check that your desired domain doesn’t have a shady past.
The best way to do this is through a service such as DomainIQ. This takes the typical WHOIS lookup and adds in a full registration history. This lets you see exactly what this domain’s past life was really like.
However, you could also carry out a cruder search using a site such as the Wayback Machine. This gives you the chance to see the history of a domain for yourself. To go back to our Xbox 360 domain, this wasn’t always a Microsoft holding. Instead, it has roots back to 2002 as an unofficial Xbox community portal:
Of course, in this example, the old site was legitimate and either went through a sale or re-registering once the domain went out of service. However, if its past was murky, you could find that your search rankings suffer, it has an existing ban, or even that your inbound traffic wouldn’t align.
There’s also another aspect many site owners don’t think about: if a site had a different focus under the same URL in the past, plenty of third-party sites may link to it. As a result, your site may see less valuable traffic hitting the server.
3. Marry your domain name with numbers with a reputable TLD
Much of our advice about how to use a domain name with numbers stems around legitimacy. This is because of the issues we talk about at the start of the article. As such, it’s important to think about the other side of the period – your Top Level Domain (TLD), also referred to as a domain extension.
Here’s a quick test: why don’t you see many legitimate, formal websites using TLDs such as .live or .cn? The answer is because they have negative connotations as malicious TLDs. Of course, the TLDs themselves aren’t malicious, and do have legitimate uses. However, the cheap cost means hackers will appropriate them for other means.
This reputation could rub off onto your own company. Think about whether you would rather head to captialone.com, fiveguys.com, or fourseasons.com rather than captial1.cn, 5guys.fyi, and 4seasons.zone.
The Spamhaus website lists the most abused TLDs :
You don’t need to choose a .com address though. For instance, many tech companies use .io. Our advice is to stick to tried and trusted TLDs, unless there’s a sound and solid reason to make a switch. As an example, while it isn’t a a domain name with numbers, Matt Mullenweg’s domain name – ma.tt – is novel and appropriate.
4. Don’t worry about using common words or acronyms that include numbers
So far, you may understand when and where to use a domain name with numbers, and decide you don’t need to. However, what if your brand and company name uses a common word or acronym, such as “B2B” or “MP4”. It could even mention the Covid-19 pandemic in the URL (although there are restrictions around this).
If a common word in your domain uses a number, it’s a good idea to keep it as such. This is what a user will recognize, so you should preserve it. B2B Wave uses the common acronym for “Business to Business”. This is a perfect example of where you’d use a domain name with numbers without worry:
This point talks about common words, but really, it’s important to exercise common sense when it comes to your domain names and using numbers within. If using a number is likely to confuse your audience, you probably shouldn’t use it. And if you still feel a need to use it, our next tip is a sensible action to take.
5. Buy two (or more) versions of your domain name
Let’s go back to one of the examples at the start of this post. Six Flags uses the sixflags.com domain name, but it’s not beyond the possibility that a user would want to type “6flags”. However, that’s not the exact brand name, so what can you do? In this situation, the right idea could be to buy both sixflags.com and 6flags.com.
This makes sure your business parks the domain before cybersquatters or typosquatters can get there. In fact, Six Flags has done this and uses the 6flags.com domain as a staging environment:
However, you don’t have to do the same. You could redirect one domain to the other, which is a more common application. You may even opt not to redirect or use the domain at all. Ownership can be simply about keeping hold of Intellectual Property (IP), potential trademarks for yourself, or a domain you think could be cool!
It pays – almost literally – to think about your choice of domain name.
One aspect that you may not think is important is whether to use a domain name with numbers.
While many sites won’t need to worry about this, if your brand uses numbers in its name, you’ll want to think about whether this translates to your domain too.
However, matching your brand is almost the only time you need to consider this. If you choose to use common words in your domain name, this is another situation where digits deliver. The better option for choosing a domain name is to settle on something that’s readable, easy to type, and memorable.
For some inspiration, why not try our free domain name generator? You’ll be able to see which domains are available for your keywords, and DomainWheel will exclude those you can’t purchase or use!