I have had my own domain name of http://www.mikemerrill.com for over 10 years now. I initially secured it as a place to host my resume and as a unique way to differentiate myself when applying to business schools. Moreover, it provided the opportunity to brand my name with every email I sent. Oftentimes people would ask why?
I knew back then with the growth of the Dot Com era that everyone would start to use the web to not only market their businesses but also to market themselves. For graphic designers, photographers, and developers this was an ideal way to showcase your capabilities. Speed ahead 10 years and everywhere you turn folks have their own domains as a hub for all of their online activity. For those of us who are knowledge workers, it’s an ideal place to feature our expertise and opinions on a given topic with a blog.
Using Third Party Email Domains is a Missed Branding Opportunity
This past weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to speak about personal branding at the Kellogg Northwestern Career Symposium hosted by SMU here in Dallas. As I was perusing the list of attendees and their email addresses I noticed that only 3 of the over 128 on the list had secured and used their own personal domain. While there were plenty of people who branded their employers by using their corporate email addresses, I was saddened by the sheer number of folks who used Hotmail, AOL, MSN, GMAIL or some other third party email provider. What a missed opportunity to brand yourself.
You need to own yourname.com or a website that aligns with your name in some fashion.
– Dan Schwabel
Many folks will respond to me with the age old “I’ve had that email address for 20 years. Why would I change it?”. First, if you have AOL or MSN you are basically telling the world you are over 50. Why give anyone a reason to age discriminate. Don’t take that the wrong way, but folks we have moved on. Why not have an email address you can have forever regardless if you change your hosting company, ISP or country for that matter? Yes, you are reading my mood correctly. I feel very, very strongly that everyone should have their own domain. For the cost of 2 Starbucks lattes and a muffin you can host www.yourname.com annually. Call GoDaddy.com today.
10 Reasons Why Having a Personal Domain Name is Essential
- Search Engine Rankings
With the world of the web run by Google, Yahoo and Bing, having your own domain automatically places you higher in search engines for your name and in many cases on the first page. Assuming you can secure yourname.com. If you can’t secure a .com, than try .me, .tv, or .info. If you have a common name, then get a name that references your profession like www.merrillmarketer.com or www.digitalmerrill.com. One more reason to secure it now before someone else does.
Having your own domain name and email address provides a higher level of professionalism and trust. If you have your own domain name vs. some long hotmail.com address it instills a higher level of integrity. If you are in marketing or tech it also shows you understand branding and technology and the value of SEO.
- Brand Recognition and Recall
How much easier is it to remember email@example.com than Joe356TX@aol.com. More importantly, every email you send is your name. If folks can recall your name when they think of a need they have, you are more likely to get a referral or a sale.
- Same Email Address Forever
This one is a no brainer. As I mentioned above, you can now keep your email forever even if you change your ISP or hosting provider. Your domain stays with you as long as you pay the hosting fee every year. The other added benefit is that jobs may come and go, but your personal email address will always be the same.
Even if you don’t plan to do anything with the domain other than redirect it to your LinkedIn profile, secure it so no one else can. Especially if that person could be some worthless celebrity, convict or questionable politician. Remember, very few folks look past page one on Google.
- Advertisement Free Emails
The best thing about having your own domain and email address is you don’t spam your friends with ads with every email you send
- Your Homebase on the Internet
If you ever decide to start you own blog or consulting business, you will have a URL you can immediately point your blog to and start promoting. Your blog becomes the hub of all of your social sites and drives everyone back to content you own forever. Don’t forget to of course back it up.
- Just Google Me – Similar to number one, wouldn’t you love to tell folks to “Just Google Me”. Crowdsourced from @LevelTen_Colin
- See Below
- See Below
Don’t take my word for it, let my friends on Twitter tell you why:
What say you on this matter? Unless you are a child molester and don’t want to be found, why wouldn’t anyone want their own domain?
By the way, I actually have the iPhone app that tells me there is a sex offender one street over. Kind of scary.