As a writer, one of the most important aspects of building your online presence is branding your name. You’ll hear Internet gurus talk about keywords. Your brand, your name is your most important keyword.
Grab your name as your domain as soon as possible, whether you are published or unpublished. Haven’t even thought about a blog or a website? It doesn’t matter. Register your domain name as soon as possible.
You want to register a dot com name. Dot coms are familiar. People will automatically type a dot com after your name to search for you on the internet. Most web browsers will add the dot com if the person doesn’t type it.
If it’s too late and your name is already taken, add your middle initial. Several authors have used this method to gain their unique dot com domain. You could use your entire middle name if necessary.
It’s possible that the person who has your domain name would be willing to let you have it. Of course, some people will ask for a lot of money to release the domain. You don’t need to pay them. You can be successful using a variation of your name or inserting dashes. They may give up and let the domain name expire later anyway. You can grab it then.
Be sure to register any pseudonym that you are thinking of using. It costs under $10 a year to reserve a domain. It’s better to spend the money now and reserve the name(s) you want. It may be too late when you decide you really want to use the name. Finding an available domain name may make your pseudonym decision easier.
Some writers register the name of their book. This works well for non-fiction, but it isn’t necessary for fiction. Unless you are self-publishing, publishers often change the book title anyway.
When you register your domain, you can leave it parked at your registrar until you are ready to set up the site. Some companies will put up advertising on the site and give you some revenue. We’re talking pennies, so it won’t make you rich.
Search engines give more priority to sites that are older or that are registered for several years in the future rather than year by year. This won’t make much difference to a fiction author. People will be looking for you and your book. Non-fiction authors who depend on search engine traffic may want to register domain names for an extended period. Some domain registrars will give you a discount for registering multiple domains or registering domains for several years.
Some authors are very concerned about making the domain registration information private. As a writer, you should be using a PO box or other private mailing address. This is safe to use on the registration form. Not making your domain information public can also hurt your search engine ranking. This may be important for non-fiction writers. I own a lot of domain names, most of them public. I have never received any spam or had any other problem with these registrations.
Branding yourself with your own domain name is the most important first step to building your internet presence and your platform.