Excerpted from 90 DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan
If you’ve ever searched for a domain name to buy on a website that sells domain names, this might have happened to you.
You do the search to see what’s available but you decide to wait and think about it for a day. When you come back the next day, you discover the domain has been taken by someone else. This is not a coincidence. It is called Domain Name Front Running. The details of how this works are beyond the scope of this book. If you want to know more, search for “domain name front running” in your favorite search engine.
The bottom line, though, is you should be ready to buy the domain name when you search for it on a site that sells domain names.
An easy way to see whether a domain is taken that will help protect you from getting scammed by frontrunners is to type the domain name you want into your web browser and see whether a website comes up. If a site does come up, the domain is not available. If you get an error message, there is a good chance the domain is still available (though it could still be taken).
Using this method, you can develop a list of your top three to five picks for a domain name.
Stick to domain names that end in “.com.” That is the form most people recognize. Also, if a .com name is taken and you choose .net instead, you run the risk of a trademark infringement lawsuit (and the loss of your website) later. You must choose your own original name that nobody else has ever used. Google any name or phrase you’re considering to see whether anyone else has a company, product or service by that name.
Buying a Website from WordPress.com
There are lots of options when buying website services. However, in our opinion, the most bang-for-your-buck is a software platform called WordPress.
Originally WordPress entered the scene as free blogging software. Because it had to be installed on a web server to work, it was, for many years, something only computer nerds would use. (In fact, the raw software in all its technical glory is still available for free at WordPress.org if you feel daring.)
A few years back, the creators of WordPress realized that most people are not, in fact, computer nerds and developed WordPress.com – a website hosting service for the rest of us based on the WordPress software.
As with any service trying to make a buck, WordPress offers many bells and whistles you could buy al la carte. But, one nice thing they do offer is a bundle of services to get you started. The most affordable is the Pro Bundle:
As of this writing, the WordPress Pro Bundle is $99 a year and includes the domain registration. WordPress.com lets you set up a free account first, then asks you to upgrade to the Pro Bundle – at which time you register your domain.
If spending money isn’t in the cards for you, WordPress offers a great free option too:
Going the free route isn’t as versatile as what you get when you pay but it is better than nothing at all. And, having a website is a requirement for the strategies in this book.
Public Versus Private Domain Registration
When WordPress asks you to create an account, which they use as the official contact information associated with the domain, whatever you put in these blanks will be accessible to the public unless you pay an extra fee to keep it private. If you have an address and phone number you don’t mind making public, use it at this point to create the account. Otherwise, you’ll have an option to select the “private registration service”.
IMPORTANT: We do NOT recommend making your physical address public. No matter how obscure your book or how small the potential audience, there is always the chance that some overzealous fan or reader might want, shall we say, face-to-face contact with you. This has happened to Angela on occasion and some contacts have been downright scary. We strongly recommend you provide only a P.O. Box if you choose to make your address public.
WordPress has a detailed explanation of public versus private domain registration here:
Involved in Internet marketing since 1995 (when it officially became a profession), Richard Hoy advises on, and helps execute, Internet marketing efforts for solopreneurs and clients of digital marketing agencies. His current focus is search engine optimization for books on Amazon and for local businesses on Google.