Content Creators July 15, 2020

Does my product needs its own domain?

Joe Previte @jsjoeio

It feels like most of the time people sell a product on its own domain (e.g. https://www.compilerbook.com). I'm curious though, does it need to have it's own domain?

Is it a bad idea to sell from my own domain and make the product landing page something like this i.e. https://mywebsite.com/book/the-amazing-book ?

Or even https://the-amazing-book.mywebsite.com as a subdomain?

What are your thoughts on this?

  1. 5

    I'd go for your own domain. Looks professional and allows you to expand it into a full brand if you want to later on.

    Especially if you pick up traction, any backlinks you get will be good for SEO. You can always move it back to your own site later and do a 301 redirect if you change your mind. Owning multiple web properties on a similar topic is just generally useful for SEO reasons, but too much to explain here.

    In short - I'm a big believer in not being stingy about buying domains :)

    Plus, it's more memorable and sharable. Imagine you get invited on a podcast, way easier to say "Go to myawesomebook.com and pick it up", same for anyone else who's talking about your book.

    1. 1

      Those are really good points too! Especially the memorable part. My naive self wants to say but if "My Awesome Book" has really good SEO, then it won't matter if it's myawesomebook.com vs. joeprevite.com/myawesomebook 😂

      Thanks for sharing that perspective and your advice! Super helpful.

      1. 2

        Just to be super clear, "good for SEO" is an oversimplification on my part because it's a bit complex to explain. But I want to clarify just so it doesn't seem like I'm saying simply having a domain name is "good for SEO".

        It's helpful because of the power of links. Your book launch will probably pick up links from other websites. And the fact that it's easier to redirect an entire domain to another URL than doing parts of it, in terms of getting the benefit from the authority of that domain, if you decide to condense later on.

        Plus, Google often rewards websites that are clearly about a single topic. Because you look like an expert about ONE THING. This is another reason why having a standalone domain can be helpful. To give more concrete input it would be helpful to know the name and topic of your book, but you get the idea :)

        If you do decide to go for your own domain, two important things:

        1. You should buy the domain NOW and put content on it, Google does not rank websites right away. You probably want your domain name to show up for "my awesome book" by the time you launch, and that will probably take a few weeks. To do that, you will want to submit it in Google Search Console and mindfully select some keywords you want to see impressions for.

        For example, I bought bloggingfordevs.com as my newsletter's domain name. I am teaching Google that this website is about developer blogs and SEO. It took me a few weeks for a) the domain to even show up in Google b) the domain to outrank the Indie Hackers page for the brand search "blogging for devs", even though it's obvious to me that it should.

        1. Eventually, linking to your new domain from your current domain will also be helpful. Again, this is because of the power of links. If you can do that in advance of your launch, so Google has time to pick up that link, even better.

        There is a lot of SEO misunderstanding lately on IH so I just wanted to clarify this, so apologies if you already know about these details :)

        (EDIT: Also, because someone else just said your new domain will rank better. This is also not true. It takes time for Google to rank something and your new site will start with zero "credibility" to Google. Maybe it will rank faster on your current website if you go with a directory, that's why I suggest getting set up the new domain NOW. It's a long-term strategy to have your own domain, again, because of links and being niche.)

        1. 1

          Honestly, a lot of this I didn’t event consider. The hard about buying a domain is I have something in mind, but I’m not 100% set on it so afraid to buy the domain lol but it sounds like something to be figured out sooner than later.

          Plus, Google often rewards websites that are clearly about a single topic. Because you look like an expert about ONE THING

          I did not know this!

          Wow. Thank you so much for the thorough response and for clarifying! This is super helpful. I really appreciate it!

          1. 1

            I'm glad it was helpful, Joe :) Of course, it's the "ideal scenario" I'm describing, I'm sure your book launch will go great regardless of the domain. Good luck!

    2. 1

      My reply was the exact opposite of yours, but I still like your take :)

  2. 3

    A couple thoughts:

    • If your product isn't validated, you don't have a following, and you're unsure of how much it'll make, I don't personally think a domain is necessary.
    • I wouldn't go with a subdomain, esp one with dashes. Maybe book or bookname.mywebsite.com. But if you're not getting a domain, just go with a subdir and be done with it ;-)
    • If there's a great domain name that you might want, they do tend to get snapped up quickly, so keep that in mind.

    I used to buy domains for my projects, but after 4+ failed ideas, I'd rather just use one domain for everything, and spin off later. After all, if the idea is great, putting it in a subdirectory isn't what's going to cause it to fail :)

    1. 3

      I used to buy domains for my projects, but after 4+ failed ideas, I'd rather just use one domain for everything, and spin off later

      This is the exact reason I asked! I have bought too many domains that end up in the graveyard.

      After all, if the idea is great, putting it in a subdirectory isn't what's going to cause it to fail

      Great point!

      Thanks a ton for the input, Andrew! I think that settles it for me :)

      1. 1

        Yeah, I'm not a domain collector. I started using brisa.io for all of my projects last year. It's in need of a simple CMS, updates, and a theme though haha

        1. 1

          Wow! I love this idea

          I'm Andrew, and Brisa.io is a site for all of the products and projects I'm working on.

          I might have to steal this idea haha

          I see how you have multiple products which are just subdirectories on your site, like https://brisa.io/python/

          Nice to see that it's working out for you!

          1. 1

            Yeah. I do actually use subdomains. /python/ is the landing page, then if you click through to the app, it's on a subdomain.

            Like the comment below mentioned, I figured I want SEO (what little value my pages have) to apply to my domain, and separate apps to subdomains.

            I mostly just wing it, but that's my general convention.

            I also have a wildcard SSL cert on DigitalOcean, and when I'm testing new ideas, I use an nginx template + ssh tunnels to run them as my laptop as, for example, testidea.brisa.io.

  3. 2

    Sharing my experience:

    My main website is Tealpod.com I have few products(not books). Tealpod image resizer was on a subdomain and it never got the attention or money(maybe because it is a desktop app, I don't know). Other two products there https://Watermark.ink and DearEle.com (I have few other simple products like HDRainbow.com ) which are on separate domain and they have excellent visitor base (DearEle is closed now).

    I suggest have a separate domain (for simple side projects it doesn't even need to be .com or great domain name) will greatly help in traction.

    1. 1

      Ah, that is interesting. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 2

    Pretty sure you want to avoid subdomain. Subdomains are split completely for SEO purposes, so you'd be starting from zero and/or if you ever launch additional products under different subdomains then that subsequent subdomain will start from zero.

    1. 1

      Good call! Did not think about.

  5. 2

    It depends on the correlation of your site and the new book. Also, you should consider SEO. Top level domains will be better in SEO.

    Why use domains? Because computer scientists don't want to remember ip. So an easy-to-remember domain is used.

    For a .com domain, I can buy it at $4.xx per year. As an example, I bought my new 3sname.com at porkbun. It should be the cheapest in the industry. I think the cost should not be a concern

    1. 1

      Right, hes basically diluting his ranking power by having a page for the book over a whole website for it.

  6. 1

    My book has its own domain and website where we aggregate the various resources related to the book (source repos, various sales channels, possibly thinking to add a link to the various translations soon). Not to mention that the book also has over 300 followers on Twitter ;) https://twitter.com/k8spatterns

  7. 1

    I ran this experiment with https://whereami.dev Joe. I am writing a blog post about what I found and the experiment. In short, people do care about branding and well designed sites. I had a great conversion rates on the app's own domain with a decent landing page. So domain is important.

  8. 1

    You will get more SEO ranking power for your book by having it on its own domain, ultimately leading to more sales.

    1. 1

      Ah, gotcha. So it sounds like the main reason for it having it's own domain is SEO.

      1. 1

        Note: this is actually not true if your existing domain already has decent authority. If you want, send me your existing personal domain and I'll check it's "domain ranking" on my paid ahrefs account. There's a lot of misinformation in the SEO world, unfortunately.

        1. 1

          Ah! I see. Wow, that’s very nice. It’s https://joeprevite.com

          Yeah, I think it could be a good use of my time to study it more. I know the basics, but more would help.

          1. 2

            It looks like you've got a very solid domain name there. I would absolutely recommend not getting another domain name, and not even to use a subdomain. Just use joeprevite.com/book, or something like that.

            https://imgur.com/a/8AQaiUf

            1. 1

              Alright! Thanks for looking into that for me. I appreciate it! 🙌🏼

      2. 1

        Ya, but. You could also make a page for it on your own domain. Opens up a new channel for growth

  9. 1

    I would go the "general domain + specific subdomains" way :-) My current website is https://cubitoo.com and I have /coaching, /blog etc. namespaces, but at some point, the product namespaces will be separated landing pages with their own content etc. This is a nice mix of strong domain SEO with variety and the possibility to test different things in a clear way.

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