How To Choose a Domain Name - An Author's Guide
What seems like it would be the easiest part of book publishing process, is one of the most important. How to choose a domain name is something all authors need to carefully examine. Do you want a domain name that identifies you as an author (e.g. JohnDoe.com or JohnDoeBooks.com)? Maybe, you want a domain name that identifies your book (e.g. TitleofMyBook.com). How about a domain name that identifies the type of book you've written (e.g. SoulPurposeBook.com)?
All three make sense, and I'd suggest buying up 5 to 10 domain names -- a few that contain part or all of your title, a few that contain your name, and a few that identify the type of book. Domain names that have never been registered and/or that have reverted back to the registration pool, are cheap. About $8-$10 each. There are many domain registrars around. Our company owns more than 1,000 domain names, and we bought most of ours through Godaddy.com.
A great place to start doing a search for an available domain name is DomainTools.com. If a name is taken, you can see who owns it (unless the name is privately registered) and when it expires. If a domain name is available, there will be a link to Godaddy.com, where you can buy the name. Many names with a ".com" extension are already gone. Keep searching until you find one that isn't. A ".com" is still the gold standard of domains and unless you have a lot of internet marketing experience, a .com is best way to go. It's the easiest for your potential readers (and customers) to find and remember.
Domain Name Characteristics for Authors
If you're new to the domain name world, keep it simple. Remember, you want something easy for people to remember and type into a search engine browser. I always tell the authors I work with that they need to envision themselves doing a radio interview and speaking their domain name on the air. The shorter, the better. The less confusing the spelling, the better. And whatever you do, don't have dashes or numbers in your domain if you can help it (yes, Go-Publish-Yourself.com obviously goes against this rule and but for the age of the site and its page rank, we'd use another domain). Remember, if a radio host says, "Tell our listeners where they can find your book," it is going to be a lot easier for the listeners to remember "SoulPurposeBook.com" than it will be do remember soul-purpose-book.com (which will sound like -- "soul dash purpose dash book dot com").
Great Places to Find Domain Names
There are sites where you can visit that sell / auction domains. Sometimes you can find the perfect domain that someone is trying to sell. I use Namejet.com, Snapnames.com, and auctions.godaddy.com to search for names that are being auctioned off or sold. The prices are higher than just buying an original name. If the perfect domain is available for $100, it might be worth it. But, if you aren't experienced with buying and selling domain names, this is an area you should tread cautiously. A few hundred dollars is one thing, but when the prices start going up from there, you really need to know if such an investment is worth it.
Buying All Available Extensions of a Domain Name.
Today, there are literally hundreds of domain extensions. For writers in the U.S., if you can get the .com, .net and .org version of your name, you're fine. Personally, if you are getting a domain name just for your book or your name, the .com alone is probably okay. For businesses, there are more reasons why securing many extensions of your name may make sense (that's another article). Rule #1 -- get the .com if you can.
What if a .Com Isn't Available?
Find one that is. Keep coming up with names or do whatever you have to do to get a .com that has no dashes or numbers in it. Don't settle for a .net because it's there. If you and/or your book start to get a real following, you'll wish you had a .com.
Making Sure Your Twitter and Facebook Handles are Available
When you choose a domain name, it's a good idea to check Facebook and Twitter to see if the name is also available as a handle on those sites. It's not a huge deal if they aren't, but it sure can make life a lot easier.
How To Choose a Domain Name – Conclusion
The above is really just a primer on how to choose a domain name. There are many options and your spending can get out of control quickly. So, stick to the basics