How To: Add Spell-check To Your Domain Names

Unless you have some policy about only selling to customers who got an A+ in spelling and can type 40 words per minute, you’ll probably want to register “typo domains”. A typo domain is exactly what it sounds like — a domain that is a common misspelling of your real domain that you register and point to the “correct” URL. I like to think of this as creating a spell-check feature in web browsers so people can find you even if they aren’t 100% sure about your web address. This raises the question of which typos are worth registering and redirecting.

There are three kinds of typos you want to check for; misheard names, keyboarding errors, and sloppy spelling.

Here is my strategy:

  1. Call 10 people and *tell* them your domain. Then have type your domain ten times and e-mail you the list unedited. This will provide you with common “mishearing” of your domain. For example, if your domain is “fonex” you might have people typing “phonics”. And you may also get correct guesses but with bad spelling.
  2. Email 10 people your domain. Then have those 10 people type your domain ten times and have them e-mail you the un-edited results as well. Having them send an unedited list helps you find *keyboard errors”. For example, many people when typing fast will reverse certain letters or hit a nearby key. You might find that people type “form” instead of “from” or friemd for friend.
  3. Look for patterns and register any common mistakes. Register anything that was done more than twice.
  4. If more than 20% of the guesses are incorrect, think about getting a new domain.
  5. Point all these new domains to the “correct” (official) version of the domain.

In effect, you have now created an “auto-correct” for those visitors with less-than-perfect typing skills.

Originally published at on April 21, 2005.