How to use a personal domain
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 clever ways you can use your custom domain name 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 sizeable social presence that you want to continue to use. Having a 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 stuff you post on all social networks all in one place, or embed shortcut to your all your social media networks. Naturally, your data seems secure on Facebook, Twitter et al, but, you can’t be 100% sure. With a personal domain, your information is safe as long as you renew your contract.
A place to host a blog
Registering exclusive domains to host a blog is a popular practice. 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.
For 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 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?
There are plenty of free services that help you create a business card on your own domain. Sites like about.com have created a space to easily display all your networks, however, you will have to have an URL which is any username that’s left available.
Alternatively, you could create a site with WordPress and whip something up quickly with a free template like Digital Business Card WordPress theme. The theme divides into a section for your online profiles and another as a contact page with a large picture of your choice. You can even use this template now to display your basic contact information and turn it into your own website later. Your full site might include extra pages for your portfolio, display your client base to date, or even include an automated booking system.
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. Make it easier for yourself with tools like VisualCV, a visual résumé service that uses your LinkedIn profile to automatically generate the relevant graphics. The results are pretty stunning, and of course completely customizable.There is, however, no option to customize your own domain. This is true for most online resume builders, your website’s name will look something like yourname.resumebuild.com. They often add watermarks or ads unless you upgrade to a paid account, which detracts from the ‘professional’ angle. Also, in this sense, they’re not really ‘free.'
There are some online resume builder alternatives where you can use your own domain name. Use an HTML resume template for example, where you simply replace the text with your information. Wordpress is another option. It’s not only free, but you can use your own custom domain and there are hundreds of WordPress resume themes so you don’t have to concern yourself with any ‘coding.'
Register a personal domain to take control of your online reputation.
Prove that you are who you say you are, and control your name in search engines to give yourself legitimacy. First things first, you might think to yourself: What's in a Web Name, really? Well...sometimes, mistaken identity – as is the case of Roger Simon:
Syndicated columnist Roger Simon, with his personal domain “rogersimon.com,” is constantly confused with Roger L Simon. The later is an accomplished screenwriter using the domain rogerlsimon.com. If one of the Roger Simons didn’t create an individual domain, people searching could easily mistake them with each other.
There’s more to it than that. People with the same name might not share the same perspectives as you. For example, the internet houses left-leaning blogger at rogerailes.blogspot.com – not to be confused with former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. While the blogger has not posted since 2016, his site remains online with the deletions that include the following disclaimer ''Not affiliated with Fox News Channel or any other houses of ill-repute.” This way, whether the blog is active or not, people searching for former blogger Roger Ailes will know for sure, instead of assuming that he’s changed his political leanings.
So if you have a familiar name, or simply want more control over your reputation online, take steps to manage what people when they search for you.
For family business
Thinking about crafting a space online dedicated to your family? Use your family name as your domain name. You can set up family members with pages and email addresses like your sons firstname.lastname@example.org. To make it easy to manage, get a hosting contract with a basic email management system. You could even use a .family extension such as lastname.family for example.
To secure your child's namespace on the web
You’ve had a baby and you want to reserve their place online. It’s not just the rich and famous snapping up domain names relating to their children's names. It might sound a bit presumptuous that your newborn will want their own website, but it helps keep cyber-squatters at bay.
Cybersquatting is the practice of buying the domain name of a person or company and making a profit by selling the name to the relevant person. Mark Zuckerberg recently bought a domain name from electronics student Amal Augustine. Amal registered a version of the short form name of Zuckerberg’s daughter Maxchanzuckerberg.org (full name Maxime Chan Zuckerberg). The deal closed at a reasonable $700.
Whether you are famous or not, your baby’s domain name-sake is still at risk of being snapped up by someone else. The number of people registering their baby's name is reportedly growing at 400% each year, so it seems more and more parents are keen to secure a little chunk of cyberspace for their children.
Your own personalized link shortener
Being online is all about branding. If you already have a personal domain, and it’s on the longer side, create a shorter link that’s easier to remember. Shorter URLs keep your shared posts and those of your readers, uncluttered. If you are someone who promotes a lot of their own events, you might want to make the URL shorter. Shorter URLs are easier to share on sites like Facebook, Twitter and the rest.
Let’s say your band wants to link to your tour dates, or you might have some book readings scheduled nationally. You could use a URL shortener. For example, your Beatles tribute band the thebeetles.com could use the URL thebeetles.com/indianapolis for your gig in Indiana. Using a URL shortener not only gives you a more memorable address, but helps track where your traffic is coming from, and what your visitors are doing once they get to your pages, you can even use them to track how well your tweets are performing.
With a unique domain, you can set up your own URL shortener. Bitly is the most popular service to date, but you can host your own short URLs. This involves setting up a few things to get more control over your analytics. It’s also a matter of branding. With short URLs, you get more recognizable links so people who don’t visit your site often will remember your name.
Your own start page
A bit off the wall, but if you like things “just so,” create your own startup page on a custom domain. Many browsers offer the chance to see a selection of your most visited sites when you open a new tab. The benefit of creating your own means it’s always online, so you can access it from anywhere. This means you can keep any bookmarks or other information readily available and accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
A more attractive and customizable option is to take a static site. There are a bunch of free self-hosted start pages you can use. The following options require no coding knowledge and are easily editable. You just need a domain and hosting.
Estacado is an elegant startup page template for web browsers. Group your favorite websites in one place, and as many pages as you like. It’s compatible with many different browsers. You can add your own thumbnails to represent websites, and personalize to your preferences to make this a highly flexible start page option.
Alternatively, check out Startpage.wrt by developer Christian Brassat. This one’s incredibly easy to configure and can be set up in five minutes. Download the package, open up index.html in any text editor and start adding links. You’ll need a URL and a link name in this format: https://namecheap.com || Namecheap.
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.