I have a confession to make. I used to own my name as a .com, but let it lapse, thinking no one would take it. But I was wrong. In trying to save a few bucks, a squatting company now occupies the place I used to call my digital home, offering to sell the ‘premium domain name’ to me at almost $2,000. Penny wise and pound foolish? Definitely.
My silly choice aside, having your own domain has never been more important. Increasingly, it has become the norm to look someone up on Google before an important meeting, interview or even date. Sure, your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn profile might turn up, but there are also a few compelling reasons why the cost of a couple cups of coffee is worth it.
1. You control what people see when they search for you online
At this point, pretty much everyone and their parents are on social media. Profiles rank decently on search engines but certainly isn’t the best way to represent your identity. Facebook profiles are usually private (for good reason!), Twitter is anecdotal and often paint a picture of a small slice of time. LinkedIn gives a nice professional summary, but is more about telling, not showing. Moreover, how this is displayed is entirely up to the corporations. Having your own domain gives you full control of how your identity is represented to anyone looking for you online.
The difference between saying ‘I have 5 years experience in management of a team’ and having well written thought leadership pieces on your website is night and day, and something having a website on your domain will be able to afford you. At the very least, an ‘About Me’ landing page enables you to point people in the right direction – previous works and articles you have been featured in are just the start!
3. Reputation management
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
If you’re doing anything that’s worth doing, you are sure to have your detractors. But why have what they write about you surface to the top of search engines? One of the biggest tactics that reputation management services use is to create positive content that would push the negative ones further down the search rankings. But why let the negative ones come up in the first place? You can pre-emptively do this with your own domain as well.
Disclosure: One.com is a company that provides domain name services and web hosting.