Domain Name Basics for Your Author Website

As you start the development of your author website, you need to decide on a domain name. It is helpful to decide before you start development because it could impact the design of your website, for example the name in the header of the design. When deciding on a domain name there some things to consider: what to choose, availability, and buying.

What to Choose

Ideally, your domain name should be yourname.com. In many cases, your name may already be taken. There are other options to consider — you can use yournameauthor.com, yournamebooks.com, or your-name.com. If all of your preferred options are taken, you could consider yourname.net or even yourname.org. However, ‘.com’ is the preferred type of domain name.

If you have multiple books, you should consider consolidating under one website using your name. Obviously, you do not want to start developing a new website for every book you publish because it splits your book marketing efforts, money, and time. With just one website, people can find the site, and learn about you and all of your books, in one place. Even if you are a first time author with one book, your domain name should still be yourname.com. Think about your branding and the long term.

Buying Your Domain Name

You should buy your domain name yourself with your email address and credit card. You should always know the username and password of your domain name account and where is is registered (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com, etc.) You should be listed as the "Registrant", meaning you own it. If someone is registering for you, make sure they follow these guidelines. It should not be registered in the web developer's account with other domain names because you will not have access to it.

If your web developer registers your domain name for you, make sure you know what happens to your domain name registration if you want to move your website hosting somewhere else. If you can not leave it there and still have access, you will have to transfer it elsewhere. Transferring is a hassle, and this is another reason to register your domain name at an independent registrar like GoDaddy or Network Solutions, not through your web hosting company or website developer.

Things to Keep in Mind

Domain names usually expire, or come up for renewal every couple of years or so. Another reason you should have your domain name registered in your name and email address is so that you will get renewal notifications. Keep an eye out for emails reminding you to renew it. If you don’t renew it you can lose it.

Some domain name registrars also offer email addresses using your domain name, for example, you@yourname.com. It is an additional charge, but a relatively small one. If you want this, check into the registrar's offerings before choosing one. Do they offer rmail? How much does it cost? You can also use Gmail's G Suite to do this. The advantage of doing it with your registrar or G suite is that it's permanent— no matter where you host your author website, now or in the future, your email, and domain name, is set where it is. Then you can also host your website wherever you want, or move it, without having to worry about your domain name or email.

Give thought to your domain name — it's part of your branding and overall book marketing.