Quick-Start Guide to Buying a Domain for Your Writing Business
This week is all about getting off the dreamer fence and launching your paid freelance writing career in earnest. That’s why I’ve asked you to make two big commitments so far:
- Choose a way to improve your writing craft on a daily basis
- Choose a writing direction for your freelance business
Those are vitally important commitments … but they pretty much take place inside your head. That’s why today, we’re going live and online.
I’m not talking about surfing the Web. I’ll bet most of you can simultaneously scroll through search results while half-reading your email while peeking at your Facebook feed every five minutes.
Nah, I’m talking about putting yourself online.
Here are the two main hurdles to scale:
- The technical side, like buying a domain name, setting up hosting, and choosing a template.
- The personal side, as in writing your website. (To a lot of us, this stage feels like being 14 all over again and not having a clue what you’ll wear to your first high school dance because you don’t want to be laughed out of the building.)
That’s why all we’re going to do today is choose — and ideally, buy — a domain name for your writing business.
If you’re totally new to domains, think of them like addresses. (Indeed, that’s what they are.) Your domain name is the address people will type into a browser bar to find your website. Example: www.ThisIsYourDomainName.com.
You can use your name, or the writing opportunity you’ve chosen, or a combination of the two. Or, choose something original that’s meaningful to you. That’s what e-newsletter writer Michael Katz did when he named his business Blue Penguin and bought the domain www.bluepenguindevelopment.com.
If you’ve never before considered what you’ll name your writing business, here are some tips. Bottom line is not to stress about it.
Right now, set your timer for 10 minutes while you scribble out a list of domain possibilities. Rank them. Aim to have three top contenders by the time your buzzer dings.
Then spend five minutes on www.whois.net checking to see which of your preferred domain names are available.
If you chose something ordinary, like copywriting.com, chances are it’ll be taken. In that case, put your own spin on it — like adding your initials at the front. (That’s how I came up with MTMCopywriting.com years ago.) Or, combine a color and animal in Katz-like fashion for something like RedZebraCopy.com.
Don’t bother worrying if you’ve picked the best name. The best domain name is the one you actually buy and use.
Next, give yourself five minutes to buy the domain. I use BlueHost.com, but there are loads of decent hosting companies out there. Domain prices range between $10 and $14 for the year … and they’re worth every penny, if it means you’ll have a functioning writing business.
Okay … ready, set, GO!
[20 minutes later]
Interesting … I just tried this 20-minute process myself, since I’d like to add a new income stream to my writing business. I’ve always dreamed of branching out into white papers but haven’t taken action till now. So, I’m tickled to tell you I just bought myself a new domain! I’ll tell you what it is if you ask me here. What’d you pick? Or, if you haven’t yet bought a domain, what’s holding you back?)
Tomorrow, we’ll dive into writing the single most important part of your website.