Building a website for your writing is the first step to becoming a professional writer. But how do you choose the right domain name for your writer website? Read on to find out.
Also, full disclosure, some of the links below are affiliate links. If you sign up for one of the services I talk about below, it may earn me a small commission that helps me keep in coffee and Corpse Reviver no. 2 ingredients. But of course this doesn't affect your cost or influence my review of these services in any way.
What is a Domain Name?
A domain name is the URL or web address where your website lives. For example, my personal writer website's domain is joebunting.com.
When people type it into their browser, they will arrive at your website.
How Do You Register a Domain Name?
It's not hard or expensive to register a domain name. Most .com names can be registered for a little more than $10 per year, although some website hosts will give you a free domain, like Bluehost, my preferred host. Other domain endings, like .me, .net, .co, and even .club, can be had for different prices.
To register for a domain, it has to be available, meaning no one else has registered it. Sorry, you can't register stephenking.com.
How do you find the best domain name for your writer website? Here are a few tips:
4 Tips To Register the Best Domain for Your Writer Website
Your domain name is one of the first branding decisions you make as you build your website. The challenge is that as the internet expands, more and more domains are registered and the best ones become scarce. How do you find one that’s both available and right for you? Here are a few important tips:
1. Look around before registering
Your first choice for a domain may already be taken, so it’s important to search before getting too far into the website building process.
You can use Google’s Domain Search tool to quickly look through different domain options
(HINT: Once you find your perfect domain, don’t register it on this tool. Instead, register it through the platform you're building your website on, for example self-hosted WordPress website hosted by Bluehost, Squarespace, or WordPress.com). You can always transfer domain names, but it’s an extra step that can be a little complicated.)
2. Unless you're creating a writing agency, use your first and last name (e.g. johngrisham.com)
If it’s available, that is.
If you want to write under a pen name, then your pen name would be the domain name, and if your name is difficult to spell, then you might consider writing under a pen name.
If your name is not available, you can use a .me, .us, or .net domain, but I wouldn’t use .org unless you write religious or service books.
I would not use a middle initial in your domain name.
You can also append a word to the end of your name, like joebuntingwriter.com or buntingbooks.com. Not as good as your author name, but it can still work.
3. Don’t use your book title as your (main) domain name
Because what will you do when you write another book? It’s fine to have a simple landing page or a basic website for each book you write (like this one), but not for your main author website.
4. Whatever you do, don’t include dashes in the domain
Adding a dash in between your first and last name is an easy way to get your name if it’s already taken, but it makes it a little harder for people to find you. Plus, in my opinion, it doesn’t look very good.
Ready to Register Your Writer Website Domain?
Here are a few places you can register:
Before you choose your domain name, spend some time brainstorming. Take fifteen minutes to write out thirty possible domain names.
Then, register your domain name and tell us what you chose in the comments. (NOTE: Don't share your domain name until you register it!)