A personal domain name is one way of registering your own small slice of the Internet. For a nominal yearly fee (or one, larger outright sum) you can loan or own a .com or similar for use with a website and email address, among other online activities.
These days I think it’s important for everyone to at least register (if not use) a domain that is personal to them. Not only are domain names under current top-level domains running out, but it’s often near-impossible to reclaim a domain once it has been taken. This means you should act fast and grab your domain now.
Read on to find out just why that is.
Because Someone Else Will
You don’t want someone else getting their hands on your domain name, do you? The fact remains that for as long as your desired domain is available, someone else is able to snatch it. If it’s your FirstnameLastname.com, then stop what you’re doing and register that domain right now – who knows what you might need it for one day.
If you’re lucky enough to have an unusual name consider it a blessing as there will be far less competition for your domain name. In addition to the usual FirstnameLastname.com you might want to check FirstinitialLastname.com as well if you’re serious about personal representation online.
The Best Email Address
If ever there was a good reason to purchase your surname as a domain it’s so you can have email@example.com. It really doesn’t get much better than that in the email world, but any “professional” looking email address is better than the scrappy @gmail.com or @hotmail.com accounts everyone else uses.
If you’re on the job hunt, are a contractor or freelancer or simply want to diffrentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, class or field then a “smart” email address might just help your cause. It’s not going to get you a job, but it might just make your application that little bit more memorable. It will also make the address itself a little more memorable, and that’s never a bad thing.
A name-based email is also ridiculously easy to quote on the phone or face to face, particularly if the person already knows your name. “My email? Oh it’s me at my surname dot com.”
Businesses need little introduction to the world of online trade and marketing – most new businesses now have websites before they have offices, but just because you’re not necessarily a business owner doesn’t mean domain names shouldn’t still be important to you. The rise of personal branding through placeholder websites like About.me has given way to the online business card, which provides a great use for a personalised domain: an at-a-glance snapshot of you as a professional.
Even if you’re not thinking of doing anything with the domain now, in a couple of years it could form something as important as an online resume, and you’ll thank yourself when you remember you have a personalised domain name ready to use when the need arises.
Don’t forget that if an employer (or potential employer, past educator, law enforcement official – and so on) happens to Google you, having FirstnameLastname.com is almost definitely going to work in your favour when it comes to the SEO value. If you want to be found by search engines, this is the easiest trick in the book. You can effectively control a search result, and in this day and age that’s like playing God.
Because You Can Use It Everywhere
We used to have to buy web hosting in order to use proper domain names, but now many of the world’s busiest platforms of expression are able to make use of them. Blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger and Tumblr are all compatible with custom domains, which means you can retain the convenience of an active community and a free, hosted blog while having the outward-facing professionalism a proper domain name affords you.
Better still you can use one domain name in a huge number of places through the use of subdomains. Your registrar should be able to help you set up subdomains like blog.FirstnameLastname.com for your Tumblr, photos.FirstnameLastname.com for your Flickr and even redirects for Facebook or Twitter. You could even set up simple redirects for all your online personas, like yourname.com/facebook so that new acquaintances can quickly find you.
Because It’s Cheap
Domains are priced competitively, and if your registrar is charging more than the going rate then you need to use a different company. Many hosts offer a year of free registration when signing up for a hosting package, while a year’s worth of .com ownership should set you back around $10. It’s possible you might be able to buy your domain name outright, a more cost-effective option for longterm users or businesses.
The other bonus that cheap domain names offer is the opportunity to register more than one. Don’t just settle for FirstnameLastname.com, get creative and experiment with top-level domains (TLDs) to create names and words. An example would be FirstnameLastna.me using .me or FamilyNam.es using .es. Consider removing vowels (all the rage these days), shortening to initials and using numbers if you’re strapped for choice.
Have you got a personal domain? Why not? Didn’t you read this article? Add your comments below this post.