Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ask PZM: December 2010 1st steps: domain names

1st steps: domain names

Q: My book is coming out in a few months. What are the most important first steps I should do now to prepare for an effective online presence?

Your very first steps should revolve around protecting your brand online. What does this mean?

First, get the URL (domain name) of the author name on your book – however your name is going to appear. (If you are using a pen name, it is probably a good idea to also get your own name besides the pen name.)

Get a .com domain name if it at all possible. If you have a very common name, perhaps also use your middle name, even if it is not appearing on the book cover, to ensure that people find you and not another person with the same name.

Second, get the URL of the name of the book. Again, if you have a rather generic book title such as “True Love” (I’m making this up for the purposes of this post), you might want to add something to the domain name. One possibility would be the name of your protagonist. So you might get the URL (always .com) even if the book title is simply “True Love.” (Or get both.)

Now this example connects to the third step. What if the book publisher has chosen a title that doesn’t really fit the book. For example, the title is “An Exciting Adventure.” This title could be about almost anything, but your novel is about being lost at sea.

You might, then, also get the URL in order to grab the attention of people interested in this type of adventure story. (We’ll call this a keyword title – a title with keywords to both attract people and search engine results when people are looking for such a story.)

Fourth, if you have a website built to promote your book (which you should), you can have the website actually built on one of the URLs. Then you can have the other URLs redirect to the home page of the website.

(An example of this is that my business partner has her URL author name redirect to the home page of her as-yet-unpublished Middle Grade novel )

How to use the different URLs when participating in online activities:

Use whichever URL is appropriate for your website activity at the moment. For example, suppose you are leaving a comment on a blog post regarding books about adventures at sea. Then use the URL as part of your signature at the end of the blog post comment you leave.

Or perhaps your book is featured on a book review site. In this case you would probably want to use the URL of the title of the book.

An interview about you and your writing aspirations might be best with the URL of your author name.

And, yes, if you want extra security you could get the same domain names with other extensions, such as .net. But as more and more extensions are being made available, this could get to be overkill.

Finally, it comes down to protecting your brand the same way companies protect their brand names. A book author is a company of one. Use your brand as often as possible to keep its identification connected to you.

Request: I would really like to answer any specific questions that you have. Please leave questions below or email Joylene with your questions for next month’s blog post.

© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) and her social media marketing company partner Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC on Twitter) coach clients on how to effectively use the power of social media to attract their targeted audiences.

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  1. An interesting twist is that once you buy a domain name based on your book title, you may have companies or individuals contact you to purchase variants of the title.

    For example, I own for my novel of the same name. I was recently contacted by a company called Intrust Domains to purchase Such companies troll for titles to sell.

    Generally it's not a bad idea to snap up a few domain names (those that are obvious and necessary), but I agree with Phyllis that there's no need for overkill. Those yearly domain name fees can really add up.

  2. It's a beautiful page, Martha. I'm not sure why I haven't bought a domain name yet. It's all very overwhelming. Do you have a favourite site you can recommend where one might take a look at prices?

  3. Hi Joylene .. Phyllis has done a great job .. and I love the thought of having your book title as a domain name ..

    Hi Phyllis .. one thing .. what about a blog promoting your writing and book .. rather than a website?

    Thanks - Hilary

  4. Good question, Hilary. That's what I've been doing, blogging and promoting my books on my blog. I feel overwhelmed by what I'm doing now, I have no idea how authors maintain 4 or 5 sites, blog, review, market, and write too.

  5. This is good timing. My first book will be released in March. I have a website, but have yet to set up a domain name for it. I see now how important this is.

    Thanks for sharing this information!

  6. I'm afraid I'm with you, Joylene, I find it a bit overwhelming. I also just have my blog, not sure that it does a whole lot of good although it does give people some place to find me should they choose to..

  7. Yes, Carol, if you go to Phyllis' site you'll find lots of great tools to make your job easier. It's a scary enough process without mentors like Phyllis.

  8. Laura, I think it takes a special kind of person to do everything it takes to make a go of selling themselves. I knew a long time ago that I wasn't the type to sell myself the way I should. But even having said that, I've gone so much further than anyone in my family ever expected. Today when I type my name into a Google search window a lot of links come up. That's not to say that I won't one day master the fine art of everything Phyllis is trying to teach me. I will. Meanwhile that's why I feel it's so important to hear her message. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. We use GoDaddy.

    Along the lines on an online presence, can you tell us what your publisher is doing to promote your upcoming book? Will they, for example, create a website for your book?

  10. Thanks, Martha. I've had an account with GoDaddy for some time. I'll check it out. As for my publisher, I don't see them doing it for any of their other authors so I doubt they'll start. They aren't big enough to go that route. I'm in the catalogue and promoted through Facebook, and I get a launch party. I knew going in it would be minimal, so I'm not expecting big things. Their name alone is a big deal in these parts. The oldest aboriginal publisher in Canada.

  11. Joylene and Phyllis, thanks for sharing this. I need to move ahead with a website soon and this info is helpful.

    Thanks also, Joylene, for your support and encouragement these recent weeks. It means a lot and I appreciate it very much. :)


  12. You're very welcome, Karen. Thank you!

  13. I recently set up a new blog with part of the book title as the address - since it has morphed into a series. Never gave this much thought before, but with the sequel coming out soon, it made sense. Next on the schedule - a proper website & buy buttins. Good advice here.

  14. Well that does it. If JaxPop has a doman name then Cluculzwriter better get one too. Thanks, Dave! You're a ying yang fellow.

  15. Hah! I just can't spell the word BUTTON.

  16. Very interesting content I performed searches on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.Thanks Domain name registration india

  17. I think the key is buying a domain that is unique in google but not too SEO spammy.


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