Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's in a Domain Name?

Many moons ago I wrote an author.  Back then I had to scour her book for an address and finally resigned myself to addressing the envelope to her publisher.  I never did hear back from her.

Not that I'm bitter or anything...

A few weeks ago, Paul called me from the road, "Hey cutie, turn on Hugh Hewitt. He's interviewing a mom-author."

Wiping my hands on my apron, I turned on the radio program in our kitchen. Within seconds I was listening in, within minutes I was emailing the author. And, within the hour I was chatting with her via email about the learning curve of author-marketing.

How did I find her? I googled her name and book title - up popped her site.

If you're a  nonfiction writer like me, you need to be within reach of your readers. Could your readers find you if they wanted to?

When you're building your brand, your domain name is an integral part of your platform. Choose it wisely.

A few tips for domains:

Purchase your name.
Hands down this is the most important domain to own. Even if you're not published yet, grab it! If you're already an author, purchase the title of your book and anything else you think a reader may google to find you. There's nothing wrong with pointing more than one address to your website.

And, there's nothing wrong with snatching up a domain and doing nothing with it. Domains are like real estate. Give yourself some time to figure out what you want to build on your little piece of world wide web.

Laura Christianson from The Blogging Bistro says, "I not only purchased my blogging bistro domain name, I purchased a few misspellings of the word 'bistro' too. That way, no matter what, I can be found."

K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple, seriously!
If you write about cooking, don't have some long obscure address about your cutesy-culinary-ness. People aren't going to take the time to figure it out. You just aren't that important (yet).

If you want to see if a domain name or vanity url is available go to NameChk. A writer-friend suggested it to me a few weeks ago. I think I'm in love.

Your name is taken?
Don't fret. You can use a middle initial, or a pseudonym. You might even try contacting the domain owner and inquiring about purchase. You never know.

Domain police.
I can't tell you how many times I read an amazing domain name and excitedly head over for a visit, only to be disappointed in my discovery.

In a perfect world I have the authority to seize all fantastic domain names from unworthy owners.


Marsha said...

Great tips, Joanne! I need to go and snatch up Grace Cafe if it's available. I'm getting ready to develop a website for my radio show. Speaking of which....when would you like to come on to talk about your book? Does it come out in June? Do you want to come on in June?

Love you my precious Possum Blossom.

Keli Gwyn said...

Great info, Joanne.

Early in my writing journey, I snagged the URL for my name. Since I'm the only Keli Gwyn in cyberspace, I didn't have to worry about others wanting it. My challenge is the unique spelling. I bought the domains for every version of my first name I could think of and have those URLs directed to the actual URL of my website.

Another tip I read and followed was that of being consistent throughout cyberspace. I'm Keli Gwyn on Facebook and Linked in, @keligwyn on Twitter, and my blog is Keli Gwyn, Author. When I leave comments on blogs, I input--you guessed it--Keli Gwyn as the name in the comment info. Since, as writers, our names are often our brand, it's important to use them.

Kela said...

I purchased my domain name several months ago.
I'd wanted to do it but couldn't decide if I wanted it to be my actual name or my website's name.
After asking friends in Twitter, my friends said what you did, Your name is your very own real estate.
I snatched up my name.

I wanted to use it for my current blog, but the downtime that it was taking to switch over was depressing and SLOW.
Now I'm back on the quest to see how to make it work correctly.

Any tips on that?

Tana Adams said...

Oh gosh, this is all beyond me. I know I should have this, because it makes sense, but at this stage in the game I'm not sure if it's overkill? I guess better safe than sorry. I'll loo into this Joanne, thank you!

Chris Pedersen said...

I finally checked my name out on NameChk. Sucks to have a common Danish name, but found that each use was not being used. How would I go about trying to get those to be deactivated (on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress, etc) so I could get them?

Janet said...

Thank you for the tips!
Blessings on your manuscript!

Sue Tornai said...

Thank you, Joanne and Keli. I have kept my name consistent on my website and in the social media. Your example of finding the author was great. Maybe someday someone will google my name. :)

Laura Christianson said...

Joanne - Thanks for mentioning my tip about purchasing misspellings of your name.

...Which leads me to how I found your post. I have a Google Alert set up for "Blogging Bistro" (put your name in quotation marks if it's more than one word). And it led me straight to you! That's another good thing to do when researching a particular domain name. Set up a Google Alert for names you're thinking of buying a few weeks in advance, so you can see who might already be using it, and if so, how they're using it.

Susan DiMickele said...

This is good advice!

Let me know how I can help (give-aways, reviews) with your publication launch. I need lots of reminders and nudges but will generally follow through!

Erin MacPherson said...

This is fabulous information... so helpful! I actually purchased BOTH my name AND my book title and have them go to the same site... that way people can REALLY find it REALLY easily.

Warren Baldwin said...

Great suggestions. Thanks. And I like Keli's ideas, too. I haven't purchased my book title, but know now that I need to.


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