I just want to say great job so far everyone! I'll give a few more days for more blog URLs to trickle in, but I'll have a complete list together and posted by next weekend--so that everyone can have an easy way to check each other out (in a blogging sense).
Claim Your Domain
For today's platform-building task, claim your domain name. I've never made this a task in the past, because it costs money to register a domain name. Rather, I've strongly encouraged doing it. However, I think it's so important to have a stable piece of online real estate--and the price is really so minimal--that it has to be a requirement for a writer platform.
Why is it so important? Let me share the story of my former boss and current friend Jane Friedman. You see, there are two Jane Friedmans in the publishing world (probably more), but my Jane Friedman is the one who claimed JaneFriedman.com and twitter.com/JaneFriedman and facebook.com/JaneFriedman and, well, you get the picture.
(Editorial aside, my Jane Friedman is also the Jane Friedman who started this blog AND the Jane Friedman who is leading the webinar below.)
It's indisputable: All authors must have their own website. It's critical for effective marketing (both online and offline), as well as long-term career growth. Plus, it's the one piece of online real estate authors can have complete control over.
Learn how to create an effective author website of your very own with Jane Friedman's Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less webinar!
Even with no knowledge of code or technical jargon, writers will learn:
- 5 simple services that will help you create a code-less website (for free) in an hour or less.
- Absolute must-have elements for every author website, whether you're published or not.
- How to integrate social media sharing tools onto your website.
- Common mistakes and pitfalls of websites and blogs--and how to overcome them.
- And so much more!
What's So Important About My Name?
Valid question. Here are a couple answers:
- Search engine optimization. Also known as SEO, search engine optimization is a fancy term for being found in the first couple results of a search on Google or whatever other search engine you prefer. Your URL is a heavily weighted part of search algorithms--so if you want people to find you, you need to make it easy to be found.
- Most offers are made online. As a writer-editor, I get asked to speak at quite a few events around the country (and even out of country) each year. Most of these requests come from people finding me online and contacting me via e-mail. Making myself easy to be found AND to be contacted is key to that working.
- I find writers I like via search engines. Whether it's Google or Facebook (or Amazon even), my first reaction to reading a super poem is to hunt down the poet who wrote it. I might buy the book, or I might ask to interview them for my Poetic Asides blog. But the most frustrating thing I run into as an editor is discovering a poet I love and NOT being able to find them online to continue the conversation. Make it easy for opportunities to find you by claiming your domain.
But How Do I Claim My Domain?
Registering a domain does cost a little bit of money, but it's comparable to buying a hardcover book (and while I love books, the URL is much more important for your long-term writing career). I'm not going to get into which registration/hosting service is the best, but here are some of the big players:
And there are many others. If anyone on here already has a site, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.
What If I Can't Afford to Claim My Domain Today?
That's fine. I'm not going to penalize anyone over that. But take a few moments to investigate the availability of your domain name. That's something you can do for free--and price hunt for a low registration price.
As soon as you are able though, claim your domain. Don't wait for your Jane Friedman to beat you to the punch.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.
A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.