by Lori Devoti
Even unpublished writers these days may choose to have a website. It gives the writer a place to talk about themselves and their work, network through a blog with other writers, and establish a web presence for when they do have books to sell. It can also, if the writer chooses to add affiliate links or advertising, make them a bit of cash.
But where do you start? Do you need to hire a professional or will your neighbor’s ten-year-old who works for cookies do just fine? Do you need a blog? What’s it for anyway? And what about Twitter, Facebook and all those other crazy places where people catch up with high school crushes and stalk their favorite movie stars? Is any of that really necessary for an author?
I’ll address all of these questions for you during this week long series on website design and living on the Internet as an author.
First let’s work through a few basics.
What is it? – A domain name is simply your www, It works as a front so to speak for your IP Address, a number that would be a giant pain to remember. Your domain name should include whatever term people will most likely use when searching for you. The most obvious choice for an author or writer is your name followed by .com. There are other choice like .net or .biz, but if yourname.com isn’t taken, buy the .com Even if it is, you may want to consider a hypen so you get your-name.com rather than yourname.net or even authoryourname.com
Why? Because people still default to .com and chances are that is where people will look first. In fact if you share a name with someone who has already nabbed yourname.com you might want to contact them and work out a link trade where you each acknowledge the other’s existence with some front page wordage like. “Looking for the author, Lori Devoti? Click here.” (Luckily, I am the only Lori Devoti out there for now. So, I haven’t run into this.)
Do you need a domain name? – Not necessarily, but I highly recommend you get one. There are Web Hosts who provide you with space and a sub-domain rather than your own domain. There are many examples of this. The structure will be something like www.AuthorName.WebHost.com. However, getting your own domain is cheap and easy and it will help your rankings in search engines, not to mention be easier for your readers to remember/type in. Spend the little extra and get your own domain.
What does it cost and how do I get my own? – There are a lot of places you can use to register your domain. If you go with a group site, it will probably be part of the package. You should be able to register your own for as little as $8 a year.
Here are a few options for you for both domain name registration and web hosting, which we will discuss further tomorrow:
LunarPages (home of How To Write Shop)