How to pick the best domain for your website
Are you trying to register a domain for your new website or blog and [yourname].com is taken? Does someone else have a website similar to what you want to do? Don't fret! We have four tips to help you choose a web address that help you stand out online and get that web traffic you're looking for.
1) Don't pick a domain that's too similar to an existing website
Adding a dash or using .net instead of .com for your website to make it different than another website that already shows up on Google will probably just confuse people. Make sure your domain is as distinct as possible - even if you go with a new TLD like ".me" or ".guru" (".books" will be available soon). Do a Google search to see what else is out there. One trick if [yourname].com is taken is to go with [yourname]books.com (or whatever your trade is). And if both are available, it would be good to grab both so someone else isn't tempted to "set up shop" too close to your location.
2) Make your domain as short and memorable as possible
This especially comes into play if you set up email for your domain. No one wants to type [yourname]@[yourname]bestwebsiteeverontheplanet.com. This can be tough since available ".com" domain names are slim pickin's nowadays, but it is doable. One of my goals is to have a domain that is easy to verbally tell people, and that they will remember and be able to find when they get back to their computer. That's a good test for a lot of these tips (like not using dashes).
3) Choose a domain name that is pertinent, but not too restrictive (thanks Wendy Lee!)
One of the biggest mistakes we see are websites set up using the name and branding of their first project. As an author (or whatever your skill), the goal is for people to follow YOU and not your book or story or characters. Your website should exist to promote you and all of your work and ideas, being a visual and written representation of your voice. Your website is your home base for people to get to know you. Limiting the scope of your website to a particular project will not serve you long term.
If [yourname].com or [yourname]books.com is not available or is too long and confusing for users to remember, you can choose a memorable name that conveys your primary message or slogan or "mantra".
For example, one of these days I'll get around to starting my own personal blog about nerdy web, computer and audio tips, which are my passions. The domain I have chosen for this is meonlylouder.com, which I feel can pertain to my web voice as well as sound reinforcement and recording. But I digress...
All of this said, you still want to make sure you own the appropriate domain(s) for each of your projects. You can set them up to redirect to the product pages on your primary domain's website. And there are search engine benefits to keeping things centralized and having all traffic route to one website, as opposed to creating separate hosted sites for each book. Same goes for your social media accounts! Which brings up another point...
4) Try to have your social media accounts match your domain name
Making your Facebook vanity URL and Twitter handle the same as your website's URL (when feasible) will only help solidify your brand and name in your audience's minds. Keep it simple! Just like with your domain, your Twitter handle should be easy for you to verbally convey and easy for people to remember.
So now that you have our tips on how to choose your domain name, keep in mind that while your domain is important for your online brand, it's not the "be-all end-all" for your online presence. A killer domain will do you no good if there's no quality content to give people a reason to go there. And if your site has no traffic, you won't show up on Google. If you don't show up on Google, then you miss out on reaching more people and selling more books.
While your website and online presence begin with your domain, remember that a steady flow of great content is what effective and high traffic websites are all about.
What are some bad website domains you've come across - or even owned yourself? What domain's have you registered recently? What domains do you now want to register? We'd love to hear from you! Please let us know via comments, Facebook, Twitter, and email.
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