As you've probably already noticed, if you were reading the site before this weekend, I've moved the website to a shiny new URL - http://www.kevinomclaughlin.com. The old site (http://www.kevinwriting.com) is still active, and will be until January - happily redirecting anyone who hasn't updated their bookmark yet. But this new site name will be the permanent new home. In some part, this decision was based on my wife hating the old name. That doesn't mean I changed sites merely to maintain matrimonial harmony though. My wife has an uncanny grasp of knowing when something sounds wrong or feels off. She might not always be able to tell me why something feels off, but she's rarely wrong in her perception.
In this case, it's all about branding.
I started reading a bit of Seth Godin's articles on marketing. He's got quite a few interesting comments. Two things caught my eye:
1) Brand names become more powerful as they become less generic. "Nike" is a good brand name. "The Athlete's Foot" is not, and not just because it suggests a fungal infection. When the company by the latter name first came up with their brand, it was OK - because a funny/punny name was a good idea back then, since it kept it in the shopper's memory more easily. Today, Seth insists, brands should be focused around search engine optimization. If you Google "athelete's foot", you tend to get a bucketload of links about fungus and how to remove it. If you make it "The Athlete's Foot", you get some links to the company - but not everyone will think to do so. So his suggestion is to avoid a brand name built out of commonly searched words - you know, like the fairly common name "Kevin" and the very common word "writing".
2) He also mentions that using your own name as a brand can be powerful, for certain types of business. It has the negative side effect of not being transferable to someone else if you want to quit (no selling the brand away, usually), but that isn't a major obstacle to a writer, who can't really sell the writing business anyway. So for an author, whose sales to a large degree rely on name recognition anyway, using one's own name to "brand" a website is more effective than not. It's also not so good if your name is really, really common (especially in your field!), but on searching Amazon, I found that there was no author listed as Kevin O. McLaughlin. There was a Kevin McLaughlin that isn't me, but no one with a middle initial O. So that's how I'll be releasing books there - and tying that name directly into the new website should make both easier to find.
New site, and new articles coming soon!