How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Author Website

by | Jun 6, 2016

I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point that every author needs a website. Publishers recommend them for their own authors, and self-publishing writers know that, for most of us, our natural home is online.

But the next thing that comes up when you decide you need a website to advance your writing career, is the question that stops a lot of people: What should my domain name be?

Authors have come up with a lot of creative answers to this question, and in this article I’ll review your most likely options, and give you some hints about how to make this decision.

After all, it’s quite likely that you’ll be living with your domain name for quite a long time. And your domain name is going to be very important for lots of reasons, for years to come. Let’s take a look at your choices.

I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point that every author needs a website. Publishers recommend them for their own authors, and self-publishing writers know that, for most of us, our natural home is online.

But the next thing that comes up when you decide you need a website to advance your writing career, is the question that stops a lot of people: What should my domain name be?

Authors have come up with a lot of creative answers to this question, and in this article I’ll review your most likely options, and give you some hints about how to make this decision.

After all, it’s quite likely that you’ll be living with your domain name for quite a long time. And your domain name is going to be very important for lots of reasons, for years to come. Let’s take a look at your choices.

Domain Name Options for Authors

Domain names for authors fall into a few natural categories, and you may end up with more than one of these names.

Author- and Book-Related Domain Names

AuthorName.com

This is the most common domain name for authors, and once you become well known, you’ll be very glad you own it.

The problem is that you aren’t very well known, right? So how is this domain going to help you? After all, there probably aren’t many people doing searches on your name, so traffic will be incidental.

The best use for a site of this type is to use it as a linking hub, and include pointers to any other sites you own, to your social media sites, and to your book landing pages. You can also host a copy of your author media kit on this site, too.

For many fiction authors, the author name domain is the best choice long-term. No matter what genre you end up writing, your fans will be able to find you.

BookTitle.com

Do you need a domain based on the title of your book? It will help searchers who already know the title, but not many others. You can get the domain name of your title if your title is particularly unique or includes branding you want to carry over into the future.

For nonfiction authors, whose book titles and subtitles usually contain important keywords, it’s much more important to secure the domain name of your title. And you may have to adjust, too.

When I published A Self-Publisher’s Companion, the book was closely associated with my blog, so I set up the landing page on this site, and didn’t see a need for a separate site and domain name.

But when I published The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide, I knew we needed a separate site. We obtained the domain www.SPResourceGuide.com since the full version seemed just too long.

Subject-Oriented Domain Names

This is the kind of domain name that works best for authors who have a clear subject focus for their writing, whether it’s nonfiction or fiction. However, in my opinion, I think this is by far the best kind of domain name for nonfiction authors who are subject matter experts.

The obvious advantage to this type of domain name is that it already contains crucial keywords.

This is why it pays to slow down and take your time when you decide to create a website.

Do you really know what keywords are the most important to your readers? A little research with a keyword tool now will repay you for years to come.

Consider the search benefits—in addition to the simple communication benefits—of domain names like:

BookBaby.com
ClothesForLess.com
BookPlanner.com
TheJoyofNotWorking.com
AuthorityPublishing.com

A Personal Story

Associating your site with an important keyword or phrase has a long term effect. For instance, on my site I wanted to make sure I had keywords in my domain name.

The first domain I tried was taken: bookdesign.com.
So was the second: bookdesigner.com

At this point I stopped to do some research and think through this problem. I was a newbie and not prepared for the fact that the domain name I wanted wasn’t available.

Eventually I came up with the formulation that worked: thebookdesigner.com. Since this is a nonfiction, instructional site, I got my most basic keywords—book and design, as well as the phrase book design—right into the domain name. Using “the” as a prefix wouldn’t dilute the effect of that, so I was happy when my solution turned up as available.

If you write about pizza, just keep going until you come up with a formulation that’s simple, memorable, available, and that includes pizza somehow in the domain name.

 

More Tips on Domain Names

    • If you can, try to include a keyword in your domain name. This is also very helpful if the domain of your name is already owned by someone else.Because every link to your site that’s placed online will contain your domain name, so reinforcing a keyword in association with your site can have good results for you.

      For instance, instead of JoelFriedlander.com, I could use JoelFriedlanderAuthor.com.

    • Try to avoid domain names that use hyphens, which make remembering and properly entering the domain name more difficult for many folks.
    • When you’re creating a new site, think about creating your own “brand” by creating a name that relates to your subject. For instance, Brian Clark created the title “Copyblogger” for his site that aimed to teach online writers how to use copywriting techniques. Since he invented the word, he “owned” all the searches on it, with no competition.
    • A domain name that’s easy to spell will be easier for people to type into a browser, and much easier to remember.
    • If you’re having success with your site, consider acquiring all the related domain names to safeguard the investment you’ve made. For instance, after the first year of my blog, I registered all these other names, too:
      • thebookdesigner.net
      • thebookdesigner.org
      • thebookdesigner.biz
      • thebookdesigner.info
      • thebookdesigner.us

      It cost about $10 for each of these domain names, and another $10 each year to renew the registrations. I always set up my domains to renew automatically, and frequently use the “privacy” option that allows you to show your internet service provider as the contact for the site, instead of showing your personal information.

    • Don’t be too cute, it rarely works online. People won’t get the ironic joke that you use for your domain name, so why bother? It seems to me the most important function of a domain name is to clearly identify you for search engines and human searchers.
      Here’s an example. I was studying the ketogenic diet and came across a great site with recipes, menu plans, ebooks, everything you would want. The domain name? ruled.me. Although it’s cute, it has no relation to the subject of the site and will confer no search or “discoverability” benefits on the site owner.
    • Remember you’re not really limited to just one domain name. Using “redirection” you (or your webmaster) can acquire more domain names and “point” them at your site.
  • You can also use redirection to host your book landing pages on your main website. You don’t have to set up a site for every book. But do obtain the domain name of the title of your book and point it to the book’s landing page on your site.

More Domain Name Resources

Author Blogs—Getting Started

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Author Website by Smart Author Sites

How To Choose The Domain Name For Your Author Website by Web Design Relief

How to Choose Your Author Domain Name by Kate McMillan

Author Blogging Archives

Choosing the Domain Name for your Blog by Problogger Darren Rowse (many more on his site)

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

17 Comments

  1. marviniwatkins

    Message utile sur les services de domaine en ligne et je souhaite utiliser ce service pour mon site Web. Mais pour l’instant, je lis pour achat nom de domaine maroc car je travaille sur un site web marocain. J’espère que vos conseils m’aideront avec cela.

    Reply
  2. Jeffery Fernandez

    Nowadays, choosing the right domain name for your website has become more difficult than a few years ago. Many short and brandable domains are already taken and also domain brokers register potential domain names to sell them to website owners for lots of money. However, with some creativity it’s still possible to find great domain names that are available.

    Reply
  3. Vana Verouti

    Author name is the best option for a domain name. You can have all your books in one website and at the same moment, you give “authority” to your page.
    Great post with very useful tips!
    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  4. Radu

    Great tips and helpful! Your domain name and your website should be about your brand.

    Reply
  5. Gabriel

    Those are very good examples on how to choose the domain name, some strategies improve the professional look of the business.

    Reply
  6. gapsel

    Autor name is the best option. So you can prepare pages for all books. Books’ names changes, but author name is always same.

    Reply
  7. Annette

    I registered a domain name that is the tag line for my unpublished book. For people doing Internet searches, this will probably be best because it has a major keyword. If my name becomes well known some day or if I write other books, I would love to have an domain page that is my name (I’m watching in case the current owner doesn’t renew). It could be a mirror or be linked to the other site.

    Reply
  8. AArti

    That’s what I was looking for.
    Very well said.

    But Domains on your name make you popular. Don’t you think they are effective as your personal name promotion on the web?

    Reply
  9. Swati

    Great article. It is very difficult to choose a good domain name among various domain names available over the web. Domain name is something that defines your identity and describes your business. So, one need to be very smart while selecting a domain name for their business. Authorname.com/authorname.website is the best option for an author, if not available there are many other GTLD’s ones can go with.

    Reply
  10. Adrian Dingle

    I thought about this long and hard before I came up with my domain name, http://www.adriandingleschemistrypages.com.

    Now, some of you will scoff at the length of this name, and I will certainly acknowledge that it is a little unwieldy, but judging by the success of the site, it really hasn’t been an encumbrance at all. I was anxious to incorporate my name since my personal brand is really important to my success, and it had to have ‘chemistry’ in there somewhere too.

    I would say that working on SEO is really the key to any web presence, and whilst domain names are certainly not completely trivial, there are more important things to consider such as the content!

    Reply
  11. Kristen Steele

    I’d have to argue against the “more the merrier” stance. It’s a lot of work to manage one website well, never mind lots of websites. It’s better to focus on one site rather than stretch yourself too thin.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Have to agree, Kristen. I spent 3 years working on just this blog before I opened an e-commerce site.

      Reply
      • Jennifer Graham

        I’m glad to hear you saying you spent three years working on your blog before opening up an e-commerce site, because I spent that amount of time learning about blogging and promoting my book. I felt badly spending such a long time blogging and making very slow progress, but for me it’s been a huge learning curve, and I continue to learn.

        Reply
  12. ggrl37

    Thanks for the info. I’m new to the site, writing my first book and just now getting into blogging (creating one) as well as getting my own domain name. This post is very valuable for my journey.

    Reply
  13. Ernie Zelinski

    I am surprised to see my book and website “TheJoyofNotWorking.com mentioned here. This has to be my ugliest website (out of my 10 or more ugly websites). It still does the job to a certain degree because having a pretty website is not relevant to book sales. It is not my most important website, however.

    Just a note that my author website erniezelinski.com is also not the most important website for driving traffic and book sales to Amazon.com.

    My most important website (out of my 10 or more websites) for generating book sales on Amazon.com is The Retirement Quotes Cafe (retirement-quotes.com). The reason is that it gets the most traffic due to Google ranking it really high for search terms such as “retirement quotes”, retirement poems”, “retirement letters”, and “retirement speeches”. Believe it or not, there was a time that I had the number 1 ranking on Google for all of these four retirement-related search terms.

    In short, having your author name and book title as websites are important, but these are not necessarily the most important websites for selling a lot of your books. If you can come up with a website that gets a lot of traffic due to it being ranked really high by Google for frequently searched terms related to your book, this is the best website for advertising your book with links to Amazon.com. Then extend yourself a little and build another one or two websites to compete with your best website. For example, type “retirement quotes” into Google and you will see that not only does The Retirement Quotes Cafe appear in the top 10 listings, but so does another of my webpages from my Sensational Quotes for Smart People website (sensationalquotes.com/Retirement.html).

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 275,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working”
    (Over 290,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

    Reply
  14. Michael N. Marcus

    With websites, the more the merrier. The more sites you have, the more likely it is that people will find you, and the more opportunities you will have to sell books. Your site or sites should have information that will be useful and interesting to potential readers, as well as to members of the media, and booksellers.

    Many potential customers don’t know that your book exists, and don’t care. While some customers will find your site(s) by searching for the book title or your personal name, it’s likely that many more will search for a subject — such as movie monsters or Italian food — that your book deals with.

    If your book is not nonfiction, but is a novel or poetry, it will be much more difficult to attract customers with web searches. Some genres such as dystopian fiction or romantic poetry include so many thousands of books that it will be extremely difficult for your work to stand out.

    Just as each of your books should promote your other books, if you have a website for one of your books, it should also help to sell your other books!

    You can have a website to promote one book.
    You can have a website to promote a series of books.
    You can have a website to promote a cause you support, and also promotes a book.
    You can have a website to promote your publishing company.
    You can have a website to promote you as an author.
    You can have a website to promote you as a person.
    You can have a website to promote the subject of a book.
    You can have a website that promotes an organization or location related to your book, and also promotes the book.
    You can have a website that deals with a subject unrelated to your book, but also promotes the book.

    I currently have sites for seven of the nine functions above.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Graham

      Appreciate your comments, Michael. Linking blogs such as (WordPress.com or Blogger) pertaining to different facets of product, to your website also work well and are less costly than having to pay for multiple domains.

      Reply

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