The usual advice on the topic of authors choosing website names is that authors should go with something simple and professional. The standard professional template the website for an individual is first name last name author DotCom, but I think it’s boring.
Back in 2017 I wrote a post suggesting several different approaches to naming a website where I proposed names ranging from the topical to the whimsical, with a detour through the absurd. I still think everything I wrote in that post is valid, but lately I have come to realize that I overlooked an important detail at the time.
I was chatting with Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn at the Bookbaby conference last November when she pointed out that we had all overlooked the many alternatives to ending our sites in DotCom.
DotCom is what is known as a TLD, or top level domain.
According to Wikipedia there are over 1,500 different TLDs to choose from. Some are restricted to specific uses (for example, DotGov is restricted to govt sites), while other TLDs are in non-Latin alphabets (and thus not really useful to English-speaking authors). There’s also a double handful that belong to a specific company (the unmentionable people at Amazon, for example, control both DotRead and DotBook), but there are still many TLDs that you might use with your website.
To start, there are the location-based TLDs like DotAsia, DotAlsace, and DotKiwi. These can be useful if they tie into your published works, although to be honest I have not found a use for them yet.
There are also a few slightly absurd TLDs like DotXYZ, DotGripe, or DotWTF. The fun thing about using one of the “absurd” TLDs is that if you are careful to choose the right one, you can either amuse or catch the interest of your audience.
For a while there I owned Ihavea.Gripe, but I let the registration expire because I couldn’t think of anything to do with it. Amazon, on the other hand, was a little smarter; they registered Amazon.Gripe and Amazon.WTF, and redirected both domains so they now point to Amazon’s contact page.
And then after the location-based and “absurd” TLDs are the profession, industry, and function-based TLDs like DotYachts, DotStore, and DotTop. If you can find a TLD for your industry or one that matches your content niche then it can help brand your site.
You don’t even have to have a close match; right now I am looking at DotHelp, DotTools, DotNinja, DotPro, and other TLDs that I think could be useful for my business. To give you an example, eBook.Ninja would be a great domain for a digital publishing consultant, while eBook.Tips is a great name for a help site or blog.
I will be honest with you: I have too much invested in my current website domain to consider replacing it. But I do look at
Authors might want to look at DotPress, DotMedia, DotPage, and DotPub TLDs. A website ending in any one of those four would make a great name for a publishing company.
There is a downside, however; these TLDs can be more expensive when you register and renew. While a website ending in DotCom can cost as little as $10 per year, the four TLDs mentioned above can cost you anywhere from $30 to $75 per year for each website.
This is why I have not used any of those domains yet. But I am still looking, and if I find one I love then I just may change my policy.
How about you? Have you used an unusual domain?