How to Select the Right Domain Name for Your Writing Site

You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. Douglas says:

    I’d add to this that you pick up the sub-domains at popular blogging services and redirect readers back to your home base.

  2. Dustin says:

    Douglas: Could you expand on that a bit? If I read you correctly, you’re saying to sign up at, say, and, with subdomains like (not a real domain name — yet?) and direct traffic there back to your home site? Am I getting this? Is there a way to automatically redirect from those services, or do you just use links?

  3. Douglas says:

    After I hit send it occurred to me that I was a bit terse. You interpreted it exactly as I intended. Some of those services allow you to redirect, but I just meant a simple post with a link back to your main writing site.

    Doing this protects your brand ala your Shell Israel notation.

    And on Blogger, at least, it allows me to comment on other Blogger based blogs with the native login while allowing anyone following my link to ultimately locate me. A single post with a link might be a little clumsy, but it sure beats nothing or brand confusion.

    Incidentally, I think this is the number one Internet piece of advice for anyone wanting to make a living writing. I recently found a local writing group. Perusing their “members’ links” made me cry: dead ends, freebie ISP sites, and sites your cousin’s girlfriend did as a favor seem to be the norm among would be authors.

  4. Craig says:

    I bought my own domain name. It isn’t based on my own name, either. And it’s a “net.”

    I wanted a different and unusual web address. I wanted to use it to showcase the creative writing I do for our local writers group.

    I got the name from a conversation I had with my sister a few months back. is memorable and creative, or so I have been told. I believe I also violated most of your guidelines.

  5. Dustin says:

    Craig: I don’t think that violates my “rules”. dot-net is fine; my own site is at dot-org (though I have, too, forwarded to my dot-org site). It’s a little long, but memorable enough. I might not use it for freelance writing, but I could see using it for a clips portfolio to send editors to.

    Douglas: That’s an interesting idea, and one I hadn’t thought of. Better yet would be to feed part of your main site’s RSS to the off-shoot sites, so they have some content in case someone stumbles across them.

    I agree on upkeep, too — nothing’s sadder than a neglected site.

  6. Craig says:

    Dustin: The Web address might be a little long to spell out or to type in, but I have been getting a lot of compliments on it — the contents, not necessarily the name. When I tell people the name, however, I get a very positive reaction. I wouldn’t get that WOW reaction from

    You really have to know when you’ve nailed the name and then go with flow. I’m planning to get a domain with my name, put my official stats on it, and then link to my creative fiction site from there.

    I agree totally on upkeep. Every neglected site I find means LOST POTENTIAL to me. I can see what could have been made of it.

  7. Ben says:

    Shucks! I share a name with a band who has already registered the site and has a site live.

  8. Chad says:

    Hey Dustin,I’m currently writing a book about domaining and one of the sections is “how to value domains” – you’re right on the money.

    The only exception I’d say is if you live in a country other than the US and only provide services for your region, then you should consider a ccTLD such as .ca,, .de – since they are extremely popular and easier to get quality names.

    Thanks for the article!

  9. Dustin says:

    Ben: Are you a musician? If not, I’d say go ahead and register a .net or .org version of the domain name — or add your middle initial, or use first initial-last name. You have to try to be distinct, but there’s a lot of people with sites on the net — and we’re running out of meaningful domain names! So some overlap is to be expected. I once built a site for a friend who teaches music to teenagers; she shared a name with a porn star! What can you do? If people remember you, they’re going to Google you, no matter how clearly you spell out your domain name, and everyone else with the same name is going to come up. The best we can do is make it as easy as possible.

  10. Dustin says:

    THanks, Chad — that’s good advice. I hadn’t even thought of it; obviously what domain names are best-understood will vary from country to country. In the US, it’s .com, then .net and .org; most people don’t even know that we have a .us domain! If you live in the UK, is well-known; in Germany, .de; and so on.

    Basic rule of thumb: Do what Amazon does. Whatever domain suffix Amazon uses in your country is probably well-enough understood that the average person will “get it”.

  11. Chad says:

    “Do what Amazon does” – I like it…great test!

  12. khushi says:

    hi can anyone of you help me in getting a creative name for my website I mean we are two people and thus we cannot just add bothe the names to the domain name thus suggest me something please.

  13. Rachel Shaw says:

    Great Resource! I am adding your blog to my favorites, given my interest in finding domain names. One of the sites that helped me find great name suggestions was I got 400+ domain name suggestions in 2 days for just $50. They engage people across the world who submit ideas – and the best idea wins the award amount. It sure beats the time and energy I would have spent myself to come up with names. You might want to check them out