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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why I violated two of my own rules for websites

(left-click to enlarge)

The first website to use the ubiquitous dot-com "domain" was registered in 1985. Since that time the total number of dot-coms has reached more than 120 million. Lots of those dot-coms are used on websites for authors like www.StephenKing.com and books like www.TheGoldfinch.com.

I have often preached about the importance of devising a suitable dot-com address (Uniform Resource Locator or "URL") because that's the unofficial standard URL for business use.

Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to get the dot-com URL that you want. A great many are used for websites but millions have been registered but are not used for websites. Some are used only for email, or were once used for sites that have been abandoned, or are being held by URL resellers (hoarders?) for sale at high prices.

Some companies have paid huge amounts to buy addresses from hoarders. Others use awkward, long addresses like tmccorporation.com.

I violated my rule once previously for a personal site, www.MichaelMarc.us -- but that's a special case.

A distinctive book title or personal name can be helpful. Orna Ross, author and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors  has www.OrnaRoss.com.

A distinctive name that's also short gives you a big advantage. There's probably no competition for www.AloysiusJosephBacciagalupe.com or www.EverythingYouMightPossiblyWantToKnowAboutFixingSaxophones.com.

Just as many movie makers attach "movie" to a title to produce a unique URL, some authors attach "writer" or "author" to their personal names.

Barbara Barth uses www.BarbaraBarthWriter.com and Jessica Bell has www.JessicaBellAuthor.com. Unfortunately BarbaraBarth.com is being used by a real estate agent who shares the author's name. JessicaBell.com is being offered for sale by a domain reseller that is hoarding "over 5,000,000 domains."

Dot-net addresses are common but are not a good idea because many people assume that a business uses a dot-com, not a dot-net, and they'll either reach the wrong website or no site at all.

Some people and companies use a dot-net version of a dot-com already being used by others -- a very bad idea.  My telecom website is www.ablecomm.com but it gets visitors who want www.ablecomm.net.

I wanted to get DoAsISay dot com for my newest book, "Do As I Say, Not As I Did" -- but a hoarder has it. (If you want to read the book wait until about 7/14. I'm making some revisions.)

Dozens of new "top level domains" were recently authorized ranging from dot-miami to dot-food and dot-xyz. Dot-book has been approved but is not yet available.

I decided to use www.DoAsISay.xyz.

It's short, distinctive, memorable and I like the sound of it. It also cost me just $4.95 instead of the thousands that the hoarders often charge. I don't mind being a pioneer but I'd like to see more authors and books join me in XYZ-land.

PART TWO:

I've often warned about having web pages with "reverse" typography (light lettering on a dark background). I previously said reverse is OK for brief blocks of text but not for entire pages.

I changed my mind.


Millions of kids were able to read white chalk marks on school blackboards and people of all ages have read the opening text "crawl" in the Star Wars movies. Reverse websites are quite common and as long as the type is of sufficient size and not intricate I think reverse is fine, even for a book that does not have a dark mood.

So, my newest book has a website with reverse pages and a dox-XYZ URL. I like it.

www.DoAsISay.xyz


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