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I was curious so I checked to see if my 5 closest friends own their name dot com. One by one, I typed in their names and realized (much to my surprise) that each of their names was available for purchase. None of them own their names.
I thought about bringing this up to them, but figured I’d receive the question “But why do I need a website?” Instead of belaboring my point to them 5 times, I’m writing this blog.
The truth is, I can't really answer the question about whether you need a website. That's a personal decision. I can say, however, that there are innumerable reasons why you should buy your name as a domain (if you haven't already). I'll start by outlining 10.
1. The Internet is the newest form of real estate.
Your name dot com is one of the most powerful things you can own about you. Steal your slice of the Internet before someone else does (and, believe me, someone else will).
2. Your name is your identity. Build your personal “brand”.
Sure, you’re signed up for every social media platform available, but that’s not really you… it’s “Facebook/you” or “LinkedIn/you”. Be yourself online with a personal website. Design it any way you’d like. Post whatever blogs you want. Share funny memes, or write about your hobby. Whatever it is you do online, well, that’s your business. But, if you’re interested in “building your brand” as they say, the best place for you to start is by creating a personal website. Your name is a huge part of who you are, so why not claim it?
3. It’s NOT expensive.
Buying your name dot com is CHEAP and costs very little to maintain. Beyond purchasing the domain itself, you’ll drop a few dollars on web hosting (and on a theme, if you’re looking for something fancy). If you use Blue Host to host your site, you’ll actually get your domain name for free.
4. If you don’t buy your name dot com, someone else probably will.
Let’s be honest… if you have a common name, chances are high your name is already taken (see, "What to do if your name dot com is taken" below). If your name isn’t taken, great – go snag it before someone else does.
5. A personal website can be your resume and portfolio rolled into one.
This one is a biggie. If you’re working in any sort of field that profits from having your resume and/or a portfolio posted online (bloggers, web designers, artists, writers, graphic designers, marketers, etc.) you need a website and it’s probably best for it to be under your name.
I’ve interviewed a lot of people interested in graphic design jobs, writing gigs, web design projects, and the like. A surprisingly large handful of them didn’t have personal websites to share. In the 21st century, this is becoming increasingly less acceptable. If you’re trying to sell a skillset that is even remotely related to the Internet, you need to have a personal website. What better domain name than your name dot com? Really, though…
6. Claim your own email address.
Your name @ your name.com can be your email. Besides that just being “cool”, it’s also incredibly professional. If you’ve entered the work force, have a side hustle or run your own business, having an “@yourname.com” email address looks so much better than @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. (Plus, if you’re feeling generous, you can give out emails to your friends and family!).
7. Your strongest competition has a website. You should, too.
There are over 3 billion people across the world that use the Internet and your strongest competitors are among them taking their brand to the next level with personal websites. There’s really no other way to put it.
8. Let recruiters, potential employers or prospective employees find you and see your work.
If you’re trying to sell recruiters, potential employers, or prospective customers on your skills, why not just point them right in the direction of your website? Don’t hand someone a pile of paper with “statements” on why or how you do what you do. Show them with your website. Sure, LinkedIn is great – but a personal website is better. It always will be.
9. You don’t need anything fancy on your site. You don’t even need to make a site at all.
If you’re living and breathing and you have the means to invest a few dollars in yourself, it’s a good idea to buy your own name as a domain name. Buying your name as a domain name, however, doesn’t mean you have to do anything with it. Once you buy it, it’s yours (for however many years you agreed upon when purchasing). You may choose to build a site with your domain, just use it for an email address, or you might choose not to do anything with it at all. But the point is that once you buy your name dot com, it’s your decision how you use it or don’t.
10. Your name will always be relevant.
Your business goals may change, your hobbies may change, but it’s likely that your name won’t change. Your name will always be relevant. So buy it, before someone else does.
What to do if your name dot com is taken.
Short answer: Be creative.
1) If you have a middle name, add that into your search. Maybe you want to even try just your first name middle name dot com. If that doesn’t work, just try your middle initial. If you’re really lucky, maybe your last name is available. Play around, and see what you find.
2) If it’s not your lucky day, take a deep breath and make a plan of action. Chances are the person that bought the domain didn’t buy a lifetime subscription. Try and figure out when the registration expires, set a reminder in your nifty little calendar and sit for a while to see if the current owner chooses to not renew their registration.
3) If that doesn’t work, add a word next to your name. Maybe you’re a designer – janedoedesigns.com could work, or something along those lines.
Should You Buy Your Name Dot Com if You Have a Separate Business?
Even if you’re running a business with a different name, it’s still a good idea to own your own name dot com. Imagine what people will do if they don’t know your business but they do know you. They’ll be searching YOUR name in Google, not some mystery unknown business name. Purchase your domain name and standup a simple site, even if it’s only to point traffic to your actual business. It’s simple, it costs next to nothing, and it serves an important purpose.
How to Buy Your Domain Name and Setup a Website
Step one: Decide on a domain
If you’re building your personal website as a portfolio and resume, I recommend purchasing your name dot com. There’s really no harm in owning your name. Actually, there’s probably more harm if you don’t own your domain name. If you’re creating a personal website for kicks, why not choose something spunky? Have fun with it. Whatever domain you decide upon, you’ll need to search its availability and make the purchase. It’s usually under $20. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see if your preferred domain name is available for purchase!
Step two: Purchase web hosting.
A web host is where you rent “space” in a server for your website to “live”. Unless you have your own server, you’ll need web hosting. I'm moving my site to Bluehost as Godaddy caused me trouble with random error messages all over my site and all of my favorite bloggers recommend Bluehost. If you use Bluehost as your web host, you actually get your domain name for free in addition to free WordPress setup… Pretty cool stuff.
Step three: Install WordPress and start building your website.
Don’t worry, nowadays website building is mostly drag and drop so you don’t need to be an expert web designer, developer, or coder to build yourself a slick website. However, you will need a theme. When you install WordPress, you’ll be able to choose from a number of free themes. These are okay to use if you’re literally just looking for the bare basic functionality to maintain a blog. If you’re looking for anything more than that, it’s best to purchase a theme. My personal website is built on Thrive themes. My favorite theme, however, is Divi. Lots of awesomely designed personal websites and professional websites are built on Divi theme. It's the first theme I ever used to build a website. It’s drag and drop and incredibly intuitive to use. Click here to learn more about Divi theme.
Does this all sound a bit overwhelming? Don't worry... I'll do it all for free. Click here to claim free website setup today.
Step four: Publish!
Is Your Name Dot Com Available?
Check below to see if your name is available. You can get your domain name free from Bluehost if you also purchase web hosting with them.
P.S. While writing this, my Dad decided to purchase the domain "shouldyoubuyyourname.com". Anytime you think of a cool domain name, it's always a good idea to check if it's available. You could buy it now for $15 and sell it later for thousands! Not a bad deal at all...