Yeah! You've created a website at one of the managed sites like wordpress.com or blogger. Maybe you went the Facebook or Google route instead. Regardless of how you did it, you now have a presence on the internet where your readers can find you.
Then something happens. You want to move from wordpress to blogger, or maybe it’s time to host your own site on your own virtual server somewhere. What happens to the fans who have bookmarked your site?
You don't want to lose them, and you don't have to.
I’ll use The Independent Writer’s Support Group as an example. It has a blogger address of tiwsg.blogspot.com. That address is a subdomain provided free from blogger. It also has the address of tiwsg.com. This one was purchased through a domain registrar. It costs a little bit each year, but it can be linked to any internet address I control. Today it points to the same address as tiwsg.blogspot.com.
Now, whenever the address of this site is shared, I use the tiwsg.com address. In fact, except for examples, I never use the tiwsg.blogspot.com address. Now if someone links to tiwsg.com and later I move from blogspot to wordpress that link will still work. I can change it to point to the address of my new website. The tiwsg.blogspot.com address will still be pointing here, and that won’t be good if I no longer have access to this site.
Is it foolproof? Nope. You can have links to articles that might change, and if someone bookmarked that article they won’t find it. They will find your website though, and If they can find your website, they can find you.
There are a few other reasons why you should consider a custom domain.
- It will probably be shorter, and therefore easier to remember.
- It looks more professional.
- When you include the address in the back of your book, you won’t have to change it later.
- If you want to, you can set up email for your domain name. author@mywebsite looks better than author@hotmail (yahoo, gmail, or any of the other free email services)
There are lots of ways to get a custom domain. Google now offers them at https://domains.google.com. You can also go through sites like https://www.godaddy.com or https://www.namecheap.com/
I used Namecheap when I decided to get a custom domain for keithkeffer.com. It has a good history of customer support with extensive on-line help. It would not only register my domain name, but I could host my website and manage my email all through the same management module. It worked well for me, but if you talk to five random people about the provider they went with, you are likely to get five different answers, and each of them will be happy with the results.
Do you have to get a custom domain? If you are serious about building an audience, then yes, you should. But, you don't have to. J.A Konrath's A Newbies Guide to Publishing blog is a blogger site listed as http://jakonrath.blogspot.com. He also has http://www.jakonrath.com which is his main site, and from there he provides a link to his blog that points to the blogspot address.