Summary: Owning your own domain name plunges you into the world of being a true professional with a legitimate business.
Being a true professional takes more than just a business and website. Your business website needs to have a registered domain relevant to the business. Doing so catapults your business into a whole new level of professionalism that will make a statement to your clients. We are here to explain why you need to stop procrastinating and buy a domain name, how to do it, and what to think about when doing it.
A domain name is the name for your website – think google.com for Google. When someone wants to find the business website for Google, they search for it. The same goes for your business. People will search what the name of your business is and expect the website with the name to match it. You don’t want someone else with your business name to own the domain, because then potential clients will be going to the wrong place to find you. One suggestion is to buy your name – the first and last name – even if you don’t have your website established yet.
See Build Your Personal Brand Before Transitioning to a New Job for more information.
Generally domain names end in .com, but there are other options such as .net, .biz, etc. Once you pay for the domain name, you have to keep paying for it, or someone else can snatch it up. You can create a website under your name for just about anything, including finding freelance work, showcasing your work, promoting your brand, helping you find a job, or increasing your visibility in your field or industry.
Custom domains will be easier for people to remember, especially if you are telling them about it at networking events. A short and simple domain also looks sleeker on a business card, on top of a resume, or other places that you use to direct people to your website. You can also create a custom email address when you create a custom domain name.
Read 5 TED Talks to Help You Network for more information.
Your domain name should be 15 characters or less. Read it aloud to yourself to make sure it reads well. If people have a hard time saying it, the chances of them forgetting it are greater. Your domain name should enhance your personal brand.
Once you have settled on the domain you want, search to see if it is available on a domain search engine such as Squarespace. Try the domain you want with a .com first, but if it is taken then try .bio, .expert, .design, .finance … you get the idea. Find a way to tie the extension into your profession. You can also try experimenting with your middle name, just using an initial or using the first initial of your first and middle name if you are intent on keeping the .com extension.
See What’s In A Name? When It Comes To Your Business, Plenty! for more information.
There are multiple ways of purchasing your domain. Common ones are GoDaddy and Register.com. They charge a fee that ranges from $3 to $70 depending on how popular they think the domain might be. After that, the domain is yours for a year, and you just have to pay the renewal fee. You can also choose to select an email to be associated with the domain and extra privacy protections.
Now you have to connect your domain to your website, which requires selecting a host and then transferring your domain. If you don’t have a strong technical background, then this part may be difficult. You can opt to use a website-building platform that lets you purchase the website and domain name at the same time to eliminate this hassle. Sites like Squarespace have this option with other benefits as well.
Photo: wix.comThe Importance of a Domain Name to Your Personal Brand by Amanda Griffin