Why do you need to get your own domain name and build an online presence?
When it comes to personal branding, securing your own domain name is a must. Registering a personal domain that consists of your first and last name is a great way to share your content with the world.
The definition of a personal domain is a web address that’s all yours. You own it, you control what goes on it — it’s a corner of the web, just for you.
How about an online portfolio to show off your work, a web-space to connect with family around the world.
Personal domains aren’t only for personal use. They can accommodate many aspects of your professional life too. Your domain could include examples of your work to date and a link to your LinkedIn profile. It can be a living, breathing business card or a resume to showcase your talent.
You might want to set up a fully-fledged blog and website on it for greater control of your brand, including the address you give to recruiters. Even if you don’t have a new site to launch, or you’re not a fan of blogging, you can use your domain for fun or self-promotion.
Once you’ve got a domain name, and you’re free to use it for whatever you want!
That extends to creating a place to link out to all your social media outlets, a page to link to your blog, or a virtual business card or an online resume.
If you’re looking for good ideas for domain names, we’ll be addressing this later in the article.
Let’s dive in.
Why do you need a personal domain name?
If you’re new to the world of domains, you may be wondering, what does having your own domain name do? Well, for starters it gives you a place on the Internet to call your own, a blank slate to build your dream online. Pretty exciting, right?
There are many benefits of buying your own domain name, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons you need to grab one.
Google likes it
While there’s no way to predict how Google organizes its search results, many SEO professionals believe that keyword relevancy in a URL plays a role. Keywords in a domain name can act as a ranking factor.
Google looks at the domain name when calculating a website’s relevance to a particular search. So, when your name is the keyword, and you’ve used your name as the domain name, you’ve got a better chance of people finding you.
You get a matching email address
If there was ever a reason to purchase a personal domain, it’s for a personalized email address. These frequently come standard when you register. By switching to a personalized domain, you get a slick email that can be set up almost instantly.
The fun doesn’t stop there. With a personalized domain, you can set multiple emails up which end in your website URL. Such as [email protected]
Take back control of your online presence
When was the last time you Googled yourself? What appeared at the top of the results? Your LinkedIn profile? Your Facebook timeline? Perhaps it was the time you featured in a local news article when you played in a death metal band as a teenager? Or was it that NSFW snapshot of your spring break shenanigans in Cancun?
With a personal domain, you have a greater chance of controlling what people see first when they Google your name.
What does that mean, exactly? Imagine an HR manager, a new boss, or a potential customer types your name into a search engine. What are the chances they land on these snippets of your alter ego, misspent youth, or that one problem customer sounding off?
A unique domain with your name on it is going to work in your favor. They’ll see what you want them to see in the search results.
Own your content
When you use free social, blog or website platforms, you are essentially outsourcing your content hosting – and promoting the platform before your brand. You may, admittedly, be sidestepping some technical challenges. But not hosting your own material (on your own domain) can lead to some severe consequences.
When you host your own domain and content, you can switch between web hosts and web designs. Plus, your Google ranking and traffic won’t be affected because you remain on the same website. People can link to your site instead of your Twitter, which further helps with SEO.
Blog and social media platforms come and go. But by hosting your own online content, you have a permanent spot, total ownership, complete control, and greater search visibility. The best bit is that hosting your own site is extremely inexpensive.
How to use a personal domain
So, what do people use personal name domains for? Perhaps you've registered a personal domain name because you thought you'd create a website and never did. Or maybe you're just hosting a custom email address and you wish you were doing more.
There are plenty of benefits to having your own domain, whether you use it to promote yourself, provide quick information, or just do something cool. Here are our favorites.
As a central location for your social channels
In the early days of the internet, it was en vogue to build your own website bursting with content. Today, third-party sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. host most of our content and general online shenanigans.
You may have a sizable social presence that you want to continue to use. Having an individual domain won’t conflict with that. Personal landing pages are commonly used to forward or redirect to other profiles you may have online. Use your personal domain to place the sum of your content spanning the web and bring it into a single, centralized location. Your special domain could then serve as the hub for your digital life. Share the same content you post on all social networks all in one place or embed shortcuts on all your social media networks.
A place to host a blog
Why not use your own name as a domain for a blog? It’s a common route to getting your personal brand online. Seth Godin runs one of the most popular blogs on the net using a personal domain URL (sethgodin.com). His site offers a glance at the books he’s published including a link to his blog. White hot truth blogger (Danielle Laporte) has also fully branded her blog around her name.
A domain name for personal branding - present yourself or your business
Everyone has a story to tell, whether it's your business, your day-to-day life, or your passion. Take a domain that’s as unique as you are, to tell your story. A unique URL with personal branding shows interested parties that you’re running a professional outfit.
Trailblazers like (Laura Roeder) branded their entire business and web strategy around their persona. With her signature domain, she’s created a page that reflects her love of videos, and the branding that goes into her products.
Keep your digital profile up to date with your latest work, so your older clients and people that may have heard of you in the past can be impressed with what you're doing now. They may keep you in mind for future projects.
To impress clients and recruiters
“Where can I find you online?”
“Do you have a website?”
These are now common questions, especially if you run a business or are self-employed. In this digital age, people expect businesses and individuals to present themselves in a professional manner on the web. There are a few ways to go about this.
Create a virtual business card
Think of those times you’ve been given a business card. It gets crinkled up in your pocket and becomes indecipherable, lost, thrown away or stuffed in a drawer never to be seen again. That’s why online business cards are becoming commonplace.
You might simply want to be more environmentally friendly, or maybe you enjoy the real estate a website affords you to flex your acumen. An online business card is a smart, and cost-effective way to run your business. Plus, when recruiters Google your name, your digital business card will be presented to them. How about that for a first impression?
We also have Site Maker, an easy way to make your personal website come alive. If you’ve got a business and want to show the world, it’s an all-in-one package — domain name, address, hosting, and site security encryption.
Present your Virtual CV or resume
One step up from a business card is a full web CV. Creating something unique that reflects your personality can be an important asset for your professional career. Having a personal resume site brings benefits in two ways:
- It boosts your credibility
- It makes you easier to find if employers, HR managers, or recruiters receive your resume in their inbox. Chances are, they’ll discover what they can about you online anyway.
You can include as much information as you want and present it in a visually appealing way, compared to the stacks of PDF Word documents recruiters are sent. Compared to your traditional one-page version, a virtual CV can be more elaborate. It can also be dynamic, which will be a nice surprise to anyone browsing between competitive candidates. Just remember to keep updating your site as you acquire new skills.
Best selling author (Joshua Millburn) uses a full name domain as a resume. From there, he uses his full name domain to direct people to everywhere he can be found online and show anyone a glimpse of the press attention he’s had over the years.
Forwarding a virtual resume is miles more professional than a LinkedIn address.
For use at a later date
As long as your desired domain is available, someone else can snatch it. You don’t have to use it now, as long as you renew it. Just secure the name now in case you want it for bigger things later. At a minimum, you should at least use it to redirect people to your current website, blog, or primary social media presence.
Tips to help choose your personal domain name
If you want to choose a personal domain name, it isn’t simply a matter of taking what’s available or picking a name at random. There are some rules to stick to have the best chance of being successful online, whilst equipping yourself with a domain name that’s appealing to you.
I think you will agree that using your FirstNameLastName.com to “brand yourself” with an online calling card should definitely be at the top of your to-do list.
Some things to keep in mind
It’s nearly impossible to claim a domain once it’s been taken unless you’ve got deep pockets, so act fast.
Register it for as long as possible
Registering for longer periods (such as a domain with a 10-year registration price) saves you the hassle of renewing each year, reduces the risk of expiry, and usually means discounts.
Private vs professional
Might make sense to get two distinctive domains, one focusing on your professional life, one on your personal life.
You should build high-quality profiles, and a website if desired, and optimize all to rank as high as possible for your personal domain name.