With the economy in the dumps, unemployment growing, and the housing market in shambles, why not invest in a sure thing – yourself! If you haven’t already, it’s high time you pony up and buy yourself an Internet domain name (aka URL).
For roughly $10/yr*, you can (and should) stake a claim to your own “piece” of the ever-expanding World Wide Web. Why? Well, for one thing, as time marches on, more and more of the Net’s prime “real estate” continues to be gobbled up. As people around the globe spend increasing amounts of time online and as companies begin to pay more attention to potential partners’/clients’ and employees’ web presences, having a personal domain is helpful for a variety of reasons.
For starters, having a personal URL – www.YourName.com – puts you in the search engine driver’s seat. Although nothing is ever guaranteed with regards to search results, having a personal domain definitely helps to curb misinformation and provides potential contacts (be it business, personal, or other) with an easier way to find the “real” you. Don’t let Facebook, MySpace, or some other social network be your only lingering results…take charge!
In the same vein, having your own domain puts you in charge of what “official” information you actually want published about yourself on the Net. Whether you use your domain to display/distribute your resume, share your photographs, or just to blog, there is something more “professional” about a real domain – www.yourdomain.com – when compared to a hosted domain – www.thirdparty.com/yourdomain.**
Furthermore, having an email address at a non-third party site – [email protected] – is another wonderful reason to have a personal URL. As anyone who has ever been on a job hunt knows, it’s all about marketing…yourself! Nothing says professional like [email protected], especially when compared to a competitor who still uses her old webmail address – [email protected] – on her resume.
Finally, beyond playing a more proactive role in your online presence and providing yourself with a more professional web and email address, owning your own domain (whether it is personal, www.yourname.com, or more random, www.anonymous.com) will become increasingly necessary. As the world continues to become more interconnected, and as we continue to gain access to the web from anywhere and everywhere, having your own little digital island will be essential to your daily life.
Maybe not today, maybe not next year, but at some point in the not to distant future you will look back and be glad that you spent that $10 on your domain…on your own “piece” of the Net. You don’t have to do anything with it (although, it’s always nice to see more contributions to the intertubes), but at least you won’t feel left out when everyone else is handing out their respective domain names in place of their antiquated business cards.
P.S. While .com used to be the coolest kid around, .net and .org (not to mention .us and other top-level domains) have gained tremendous interstreet cred, and should no longer be considered second-class extensions. By the same token, .com is still considered (in most intercircles) to be more desirable.
* There are countless places to register a domain online. I use iPower due to its cheap prices. GoDaddy and even Google (which provides limited web space and other features for $10/yr) are also decent places to get your own URL.
** This post is about domain names. If you want to actually upload a website/blog/photos/etc, you will need to purchase an accompanying hosting package. These packages have a large range in prices based on the particular needs/features you are looking for. For example, Boilr.net is registered through iPower but hosted with HostICan.com. For most uses, people can/should register a domain and buy a hosting package from one vendor to avoid any potential confusion.