Well, relative failure. Of course, ‘relative’ depends on what success you hope to make of your blog.
The author, Derek Haines, asks: What is a domain name and how can it help in book promotion?
As you can imagine, I read on.
What is a domain name?
The domain name is the address computers use in the world-wide web to find your page. For me, it’s jemimapett.com.
It’s simple, clear, unique, and represents my brand, my author name. If you want to find me, just type my name and it shows up in search engines like Google.
Every blog has a domain name. Not every domain name is a blog. Amazon.com is a domain name, too.
Does my blog name help you find me?
You are unlikely to come across my blog my accident. You’ll click a link, possibly in a network like IWSG, or find me through some very active promotion I’m doing, or from one of my books.
Suppose you want to find an author who blogs about writing, guinea pigs, reading, nature, environmental science, scifi and does great book reviews and flash fiction? Well, even a couple of those. You might Google ‘environmental scifi reviews’.
The panel on the right indicates what happened when I did that. I doubt you can read it, but I did get several hits from reputable book and review sites and some list of best environmental sci fi books. I should add those to my TBR.
But it doesn’t show you my blog.
What Derek Haines suggests in Just Publishing Advice, is that your domain or blog name should help people find you through search engines, without actually knowing your name first..
The example of Just Publishing Advice
In his article, Derek explains how he realised that his old blog name did nothing much for him. He examined what he wrote about, realised most of it was related to publishing advice for self-published and budding authors, and googled various key words to see what other key phrases Google suggested. Those key phrases come up because other people were looking for what he was looking for.
If you use a phrase people are already using, there is a better chance they might find you.
I’m summarising extremely roughly, of course. It’s an excellent article, and I think you should read it! But it does provide a problem for authors who simply want to call their blog by their book or author name, as part of a general tie-in.
Should authors change their blog name?
One of Derek’s points is that authors should think carefully about their domain name when starting a new website. What about existing websites? I’m not going to run another one in parallel.
I think the answer could be to change the sub-title
At the top my blog says “Jemima Pett, Author of the Princelings of the East and the Viridian System series”. It takes little or no effort to change the subtitle (which none of you read anyway), and only really clarifies something to those who find the site by accident, or through blog hops.
What if I changed it to something like “Jemima Pett, author and reviewer of environmental sci fi and fantasy”
You see where I’m going? I could add a domain name that leads to my blog, but still keep jemimapett.com. It’s a secondary domain name.
You buy the name just as you did your equivalent of jemimapett.com, but direct it to your blog keeping the existing domain name that regular readers have bookmarked. And just as important, all your posts and the search engines that have listed your posts have bookmarked. And that existing domain name is already printed in all your publicity materials. So, I suggest you do not want to change your domain name just because it is your author name or book title. You need to add a domain name to point to it.
How do I do that?
First decide on your new keyword rich domain name. For simplicity, use the same people you got your current domain name from.
See if your idea is available, and if not try different ones. Do the research, as Derek Haines suggests.
Then set up the new domain name to point to your existing blog.
I know how to do this because I’ve done it before. It will depend on how you run your blog. If you use a free web service, like WordPress.com or Blogger, I don’t know if you can have a secondary domain name as well as the unique domain name they offer for a small fee. If you use the free service’s domain name (which will be username.wordpress.com or username.blogspot.com), then you can go straight in and get a new domain name to use for it. Check the info from your dashboard on how to do this.
For me, I have set up the princelings.co.uk domain name differently from the viridianseries.uk, and I know I can add more with the princelings technique that point to the same blog. I just have to remember, or even better, look up what they call it…
OK, the Addon domain gives me the Viridianseries approach, where it creates a new sub-website with the additional domain name.
The Alias allows me to use a different domain name to point to an existing blog. That’s what I need to use.
Now all I need to do is work out how to describe myself, research the keywords, and find the suitable domain name.
When I’ve done all that, you’ll see the subtitle of the blog change!
Many thanks to both Derek Haines and the Story Reading Ape for the inspiration.