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How to Save $39,000 When Choosing a Domain Name for Your Author Website

10 October 2017

From The Digital Reader

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a book must be in want of a website. They need a home on the web to call their own, one safe from the fickle whims of Facebook’s algorithms.

That home will need a name – but what to call it?

. . . .

Some authors choose to go with the perfunctory choice, but others choose a domain of a more personal nature, or a whimsical one.

. . . .

Well, you could go for the obvious and staid choice such as the author’s name, book series, character name, or book title. Those options usually work well – the author name is a great default that brings all (most) of an author’s work together on a single site (but it might exclude pen names), while naming the site after the book series or main character might add a small boost to SEO.

I named my blog The Digital Reader because it referenced the topic I wanted to cover :digital reading, in its many forms. It is a decent choice, but it is not without its problems. For a number of years people kept confusing me with a competitor who hs a similar first name and blog name. (If I had realized that would be an issue, I’d have chosen a different name.) Also, I never did get the domain I wanted – I had to go with the-digital-reader.com because domain squatters were demanding exorbitant fees for the domains DigitalReader.com and TheDigitalReader.com.

One of the domains would have cost me eight grand, and the other is listed at $39,000.

. . . .

Another way to come up with a topical title is to use the “And Method”. This is a trick for coming up with unique names where you combine two otherwise unrelated words, and in this situation an author might choose two words that hint at their work.

Swords & Sorcery, to name one obvious example, suggests a D&D-style fantasy, while Coffee and Corpses hints at police procedural, or detective stories. And then there is Death and Texas, which is both clever word play and possibly a topical reference to for author whose mystery novels are set in Texas.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG has found a site called Nameboy helpful for locating good domain names. This site has been in operation approximately forever.

On Nameboy, you type in a primary word and, optionally, a secondary word. Thereafter Nameboy generates all sorts of possible domain names based on those words. It lists them in a table that shows you which of its generated site titles are available as domain names and which are not.

For example, entering the words dragons and sorcerer reveal the following names are available:

sorcererdragon.com, .net, .org and .info

dragonsorcerer.com, .net, .org and .info

e-dragon.com is gone, as is e-dragon.net, but .org and .info are available.

teamdragon, team-dragon and magic-dragon are gone in all four basic domain extensions

dragoncouncil.com is for sale for $1595, but .net, .org and .info are available

Perhaps the best name (in PG’s non-dragonish mind), thedragonsorcerer is available in all four basic domain extensions.

And for those who seek a more dynamic feel for your website branding – dragons-o-rama.com is available.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Social Media

9 Comments to “How to Save $39,000 When Choosing a Domain Name for Your Author Website”

  1. I was lucky enough to find my pen name (Ashe Elton Parker) available as .com when I needed to buy my domain.

  2. I chose my pen names only after a domain search and a thorough web search for existing uses. I can’t stop new uses but I was happy to know I would be the first online presence for each of them. It meant I had a better than average chance of owning the search results for them all. It worked out that way too. First and last name only. I have a strong suspicion most people don’t search with middle initials unless the first search fails.

  3. I chose mine to describe exactly who I was aiming to attract. For my readership, the name is easy to remember, but it does have the drawback of being a bit hard to spell.

    neuseriversailors.com

    • Yes, it’s easy if you have an unusual name. I have a very common name: Robert Robinson, but when I started writing in 2006, I decided to use my full name: Robert Burton Robinson, so securing the domain was easy.

      A few months ago, I wanted to create a new short story website, but it seemed that all of the good short story domain names were taken. Then I thought of TicklyTales.com. It was perfect for what I was wanting to do. It happened to be available. Sometimes you just get lucky.

    • As one who lives a few miles from the headwaters of the Neuse River, I don’t have any problems spelling it. Of course, the river isn’t exactly navigable on my end, so it wouldn’t occur to me to go looking for Neuse River Sailors, either.

  4. I have had two domains since forever, and neither cost the earth.
    I guess it’s harder to find available names these days, but I’m baffled why people even bother. Websites are static, and unless you’re doing a lot of business through your website, you’re probably better off just using a free blog.
    That opinion may change if I ever start making squillions from my writing, but if it does, I have some domains to fall back on. 🙂

    • “I’m baffled why people even bother. Websites are static, and unless you’re doing a lot of business through your website, you’re probably better off just using a free blog.”

      The primary reason is that you “Own” a domain name, and if hosting company disappears (GeoCities) or doesn’t like your content (Blogger) or wants to charge you to access your followers (Facebook) people know where they can find you.

      Also you can just have your URL aimed at a free host if you want.

      Example: BSSimon.com

      • I agree in principle, which is why I’m hanging on to the two I already have, but implementation is always the problem. If someone has a website but doesn’t do anything much on it, then there won’t be many people who know or care that the website exists. So if the big platforms disappear into the night, you won’t be much better off with your own website.

      • Domain names were more important before the says of search engines; if you were BS Simon, then bssimon.com would help searchers find you.

        But now, users just type “bs simon” into a search engine, and if you used reasonably good meta tags, your site will come up at or near the top of the results, even if your domain is d9d328ccr32.fr

        Also a domain name can be 253 characters long. Sure, your customer might be annoyed at typing “EastPoughkeepsieSteelandIronWorks.com”, but unless they’re complete idiots, they’ll only have to do that *once.*

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