Bottom Line — With a custom domain, you have a better chance of ending up on the first page of search engines instead of your facebook page.
I’m talking about getting your own personal domain name. Why? The reasons are: control, professionalism, email, and branding. You can’t lose, other than the yearly $12 registration fee.
What comes up when someone googles you? You’ll probably see links to social media accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn. What if a potential employer or a person of interest tries searching for you to assess who you are? They might stumble upon some of your old unintended pictures or another person with the same name who made off color remarks. Without knowing better, they might think it is you.
If your name is john smith, and you own johnsmith.com, your name is going to be in the first 5 googled results. Search engines prioritize searched words that exist in the domain name. Because you own the domain, you control what’s on it. If you then put a link of your Facebook or LinkedIn account on your domain, google will realize they are connected and prioritize those pages as well.
Professionalism and Branding
You have total control of your domain name. You can put whatever you want on there. If you’re looking for work, put something that is relevant. If you like to write, put links to your writing. You can list your associations and your portfolio. If developing a front page is not your forte, use WordPress.
When you have a domain name firstnamelastname.com, or johnsmith.com, you can make it so that your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s more professional using this on your resume or on your business card. What’s even better is that if you already use gmail, you can use its interface to manage your email.
How to do it?
Buy a domain name at a registrar. I like namecheap.com. Make sure you purchase a whoisguard protection as well (namecheap coupon code: WGSPECIAL). This protects your private credentials from the public. To search for a domain name, use instant domain search.
My Name is Taken!?
It happens. Names are taken, and that calls for creativity. Try first name — last name, and reverse. Try writing something as a prefix, or suffix. Get your creative juices flowing. Finally, if dotcom is taken, try dotnet, or another suffix. Dotcom is preferential because people are more likely to remember it.