Naming your site: domain pitfalls


Leslie Harding


Have you ever stumbled across a website and had to double take because for a split second you misread it as something else? I find myself scanning web addresses and wondering if people really haven’t noticed the double-entendre or if they just don’t care?

This blog post is all about how to avoid simple but embarrassing mistakes when choosing your web address. All you have to do is follow these simple rules and hopefully we can avoid any confusion and/or violent threats from concerned members of the public.

Using your business name

I know it makes sense to use your business name for your web address but you really need to think this through. Don’t just tell your designer to “go for it!” or you may come to regret it.

Pen Island url


Pen Island Pens is a brilliant example of a perfectly innocent company whose web address would have benefited from a hyphen between the two words.

Keeping with the theme, they also state the following on their homepage:

website mistakes

Lost in translation

funny URLs

Make sure to check your translation if you plan on venturing into other countries with you brand.

Finnish company Apetits business provide its customers with food which is both healthy and locally sourced. Sounds good doesnt it?

It’s just, and I could be alone in this, I am not sure I would want to buy food from! It doesn’t sound healthy or tasty – if anything it puts me off the thought of food!

Apetit is not alone. When thinking about choosing your web address tread carefully; if you decide to translate it, yes, it may sound beautiful in French but does it work as a URL?

URL errors

Les Bocages is a site dedicated to tree surgery and its French name sounds like a fittingly lovely moniker for such a site. However, on an English domain with English speakers checking it out might, have appreciated a hyphen or even a full-stop just to avoid confusion on what it is offering!

They say “Never Work with Children or Animals”

If your website is aimed at providing services for families and children or even just a blog about your newest addition to the family then take extra care.

Here are a few examples of how not to do it:

Kids Exchange – This company helps under privileged children and their families, through recycling and volunteering. At first glance, however, the web address portrays a different idea all together:

Analisa Joy – A blog written by two devoted parents about their new born baby girl has us questioning if we really want to click the link and look at the content:


Know your audience

In all aspects of your business and marketing it’s important to understand how your target markets make decisions, how they think and what makes them tick. The last thing you want is to scare them off before they have even had chance to see your site. You’d have hoped these therapists would have known better:

Therapist In a Box – A unique system of audible therapy for those suffering from various mental anguishes. The only problem I can see is in the address bar of the site –

If in doubt test it out

Really there is only one way to get a good idea of any potential confusion – test drive it. Sending it out to a small group of friends or colleagues will help bring up any issues you may not have seen. They will be able to offer you some feedback and hopefully help you avoid the pitfalls the following sites fell victim to:

I guess the question is, are you brave enough to click on the links? I am sure your boss will be pleased to know you have been looking at!


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