How many Internet users have the same name as you?
For most of us, the answer will be in the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or more. Right now, this represents a challenge for a growing number of consultants, entrepreneurs, trainers and authors etc, who trade or work in their own names. That’s because right now, it’s almost impossible for them to register their name on social networks or to buy theirname.com.
Whilst there is something nice about owning yourname.com, there are also a number of good reasons why it’s useful for some people to own a version of their name online. For example, if you are an advisor and trade in your name, it’s easier for people to remember your URL / web address, if it’s yourname.com.
Also, as Gina Trapani, the founding Editor of lifehacker.com recently pointed out, there are some great SEO benefits from owning at least one version of your own name online, IF people are likely to be searching for you, by name. I experienced this myself, when I used JimConnolly.com as my primary website and was the number one result on Google for anyone searching for me.
Social media name grab
Until quite recently, it was pretty easy to get yourname.com. I was able to buy JimConnolly.com with zero effort at the first attempt. However, in more recent years the Internet “got social.” Today, hundreds of millions of people are building social networks and blogging. For example, I was the first Jim Connolly to register their name on Twitter, so when my friend, who’s ALSO called Jim Connolly (From Thomas, Connolly & Phelps in Bloomington Illinois) joined Twitter, “his” name was taken.
To resolve this name issue, there are stories of people creating unique names for their unborn children, so that they can get them their own .com address and social media accounts!
Some possible answers
Here are a few suggestions for businesspeople, who do not already own their own name based URL, but would like to:
- The most obvious suggestion, is for you to check now if your name is actually taken. This is especially the case, if your name is uncommon or uses an uncommon spelling. Even if your name was not available the last time you looked, it could be now. I use 123Reg.co.uk to check URL availability. By the way, that is NOT an affiliate link. It’s just a service I use.
- You can also try and get an alternative to the .com top level domain or TLD. For example; yourname.me, yourname.biz, yourname.org etc. However, some TLD’s come with restrictions on how you can use them, so check before you buy.
- Another suggestion is to get creative and add something to your name, such as JaneSmithMarketing.com or MrBobSmith.com or Mary JonesOnline.com etc. This is still pretty effective and provides an easy to remember option, when giving out your web address to people you meet or in radio interviews etc.
So, what if even the most creative versions of your name are taken?
As you can see, even though I own JimConnnolly.com, I still choose not to use it here on my primary marketing website.
By including the words marketing blog in the URL of this site, almost every link that points here also includes those 2 words. This means there are thousands of links, which point here and tell Google that this is a marketing blog. As a result, anyone searching for marketing blog or marketing blogs etc on Google, will find this blog on page one; even though there are over 100 MILLION results listed. It’s also pretty easy to find me here using Google, just searching for Jim Connolly. BTW: Keep an eye on JimConnolly.com!!
With the annual price of a URL around the same as a quick trip to Starbucks, there’s no reason for business owners not to try and get at least one version of their name. Even if it’s not something you plan to use immediately, it could prove useful for a future project.
Do you own a version of YOUR name online?
I would like to hear about your experiences, of either owning your own name based web address or trying to get one. Equally, I would appreciate any suggestions you have, for people trying to get a name based web address.
Photo: Natalie Maynor
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