Since I’m on this great self-pub journey with absolutely no savings or income to utilize, there’s a constant struggle to gauge what is a worthwhile expense and what isn’t. How much can I really afford to pay on this book cover? Since I can only muster up so much cash, should I do it myself and pour all of that into source files or hire someone else with more skills but higher rates for everything? Can I afford a line editor? Ads?
All of those questions and more swirl around in my head every day. If I’m struggling with these questions, probably someone else out there is struggling just as hard, confused and frustrated by the wealth of information urging indie authors to SPEND HERE. Welcome then, to the “When To Pay, When Not To Pay” series on Blargle Splect outlining some of the places I’ve decided to invest my limited financial resources and why.
Why am I starting here rather than discussing web hosts? Because I’m going to do anyone who’s stumbled upon this post the favor of assuming your not stupid – meaning you already know all about free hosted blogs and don’t need yet another long essay on why you should get one. So you already know that there’s a wealth of perfectly reasonable free options available to choose from, what you might not be aware of is the fact that both WordPress and Blogger (possibly tumblr as well but I know next to nothing about that platforn and don’t recommend it for blogging) offer the option to use a privately owned domain name (url) instead of the usual blahblah.wordpress.org names that are assigned when you sign up for a site.
The privilege will cost you though.
Not much really, the cost of the url and the price of upgrading free blog to use that url (in WordPress’ case I’m not as familiar with Blogger). You can even purchase your domain name directly from WordPress or Blogger, though I don’t recommend that just in case you later decide to go to a different host. How cheap is it all told? I think I spent less than fifty bucks all total setting up SarahakaLegion.com.
Was it a hassle? Not really, all in all much easier than navigating the maze of information on self marketing your ebook. The hardest part is simply avoiding the hype (I buy my domain names from GoDaddy, their page is full to bursting with unnecessary but flashy, appealing and expensive addons – ignore them all). Everything boils down to five simple steps: read the information on your blog hosts site about “Domain Mapping,” choose a company to purchase your domain from, double check to make sure your domain is available to purchase, buy domain, follow the instructions previously looked up in step 1. Done.
Why spend the money? Having an easily remembered Url (one without extra characters in it) is rule one in making your brand more recognizable. Also, take a moment and go Google “Sarah aka Legion” what do you see? That’s right, quick and easy Google domination. Branding is a tricksome game, if you’re slow snapping up the domain name for a blog that suddenly becomes popular/profitable – someone else will do it, then sell it back to you at inflated prices or even put objectionable material on it to try and force you to the bargaining table. In the branding war, you want your preferred domain securely grasped in your hand from the earliest possible point! Yes, possibly even before the expense of self hosting your blog becomes reasonable.
All in all it’s pretty cheap to do and it’ll give your free blog the appearance on first blush of being a fully fledged and self hosted powerhouse. I’d also recommend buying at least two domain names the .com and the .net possibly even the .mobi for future proofing (the total for all three should run you about $30, that’s less than a one day ad on Kindle Boards).
After all of that, why doesn’t Blargle Splect have it’s own domain name? Well, no one’s supposed to be reading this thing! (Yes that excuse is getting old but It was valid once upon a time.) Also, it’s my experimental playground Blargle Splect is the place I try all kinds of crap out before it goes on Sarah aka Legion (at least all the stuff I don’t have to pay for that’s usually an all or nothing affair) nothing here is permanent, not even the name (as evidenced by it’s current URL) or at least – it used to be. I’m constantly tinkering and thinking, so maybe it’s time to change that too.