Why Authors Should Buy a Website Domain Name, and How to Choose One

Setting up an author website or blog can be overwhelming due to technology challenges and an excessive amount of options. If you’re going to spend time and potentially hard-earned money on building a website, it’s important to understand the best path forward for you and your writing.

For some authors, using the domain name that free website and blog platforms like Wordpress offer is a good place to start, especially when your marketing budget is non-existent or an online presence isn’t a priority. But, for authors looking to build a strong online presence long-term, purchasing a domain name is worth considering.

What is a domain name?Authors should consider registering and purchasing a unique domain name when setting up an author website.

A domain name is the name of your website or blog and is also called a “URL” or “web address”. When readers type your web address into their internet browser window, the browser knows where to take them. For example, “authorlearningcenter.com” is this website’s domain name.

The benefits of buying a domain name:

  • Increases your online discoverability – Without a website or blog, you are failing to maximize your online discoverability – this is a reader’s ability to easily find you when searching the internet. A well-chosen domain name will improve your chances of being found.
  • Great for your author branding – Having a website domain name that is relevant to you and/or your books creates brand consistency, credibility, and a central marketing hub that includes all of your information, messaging, and important links.
  • Provides cost-effective marketing – Other than word of mouth marketing which is free, buying your unique domain name for a website or blog is one of the most cost effective ways to support your marketing efforts. Domain names are relatively inexpensive.

Where to buy a domain name and how much will it cost?

Domain names can be purchased from service providers called “registrars”. These three service providers rank high with consumers based on ease of use, pricing, features, and track record:

  • GoDaddy – The largest domain name registrar in the market.
  • Namecheap – Typically the least expensive option.
  • SiteGround – A good option for authors planning to use WordPress to build their website.

On average, a domain name will cost around $10 to purchase and then must be renewed yearly or every 2 years. This does not include the cost of web hosting once you have your website up and running. Hosting is where your website is stored on the internet, and there is a fee for this service as well. Some service providers offer packages that include both the domain name and the hosting.

How to choose a domain name 

The big question – should your website name be your book title or your author name? This really depends on your long term book marketing strategy and author platform. If you’ve started a book series that is a hit with readers and you plan to continue adding to the series, you might want a website name that reflects this popular book series.

If you’ll potentially write multiple standalone books or books in various genres in your writing career, it’s best to use your author name (or pen name) for your website or blog. Even a variation of your author name will work. For example, if your author name is Jane Smith and someone already has the domain name “janesmith.com”, you can use something like, “janesmithbooks.com” or “janesmithwrites.com”.

The most important thing is that your domain name is easy for readers to remember and find. A long, complicated domain name will be forgotten and may also hinder your website from ranking in Google searches.

If there’s even a slight chance you’ll want a specific website domain name at any point in your writing career, you should go ahead and purchase it before someone else does. Securing your name early on will ensure that it’s yours to use when ready. Take control of your author branding now!

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