Personal .com websites (yourname.com) are all the rage! Sure, they’re a great way to start building a presence on the internet, but what are the risks? What are the rewards? I’ve been learning the answers to these questions during the past few weeks and this is some of what I’ve come up with.
Welcome to my very first blog post! I’ve been spending a lot of time learning the ins and outs of web development, and I’m really excited to start sharing everything I’ve learned with you!
We’re living in a digital age where your smart phone gives you constant access to the world’s biggest shopping mall, library and university. The internet has become the new frontier, and everyone who has something to say (or something to sell) wants to stake out a claim.
Of course, this desire to carve out a piece of the internet for ourselves is perfectly reasonable. Domain names are like real estate. They can have inherent value, or they can be built up and improved by hosting popular, high-traffic websites thereby increasing their worth. Just do a quick domain name search with your favourite hosting service and you’ll see that some domain names are worth thousands of dollars even without websites on them!
But what does this mean to us? That all depends on why you want to plant your flag on the internet frontier.
If you’re looking to cut a slice of the internet pie only for personal use, you’ll most likely want a venue for expressing your personal thoughts and ideas or whatever content you feel deserves sharing with the world.
If you’re running a business, then setting up a personal site means that you’ll be showing your customers the “personal side” of your company. You’ll be putting a face with the company name and building your brand right along side your business brand. This parallel branding is important! After all, the image of the business owner and the business itself is almost inseparable.
This is actually a necessity for any business nowadays. Your personal online presence is a crucial extension of your business. As the owner, putting yourself out there establishes legitimacy and credibility in their eyes.
Think about what people do these days when they’re considering doing business with a company. They Google it and see what the internet has to say about them! This is where your personal online presence is key. Your business site gives customers the facts. Your personal site gives them the human element. (We’ll discuss ‘Googling’ and how it affects your business in the next post.)
Now that I’ve embarked on this journey and started my own personal dot-com, I’ve developed a pretty strong opinion about the idea. My advice to anyone, especially the small business owner, is to do it!
I definitely recommend taking some time right now and buying your domain name. There’s no harm from spending a couple of dollars and registering “yourname.com” while it’s still available. What I don’t recommend, though, is rushing into putting content on your site.
I’ve been working on my site for years and it’s still a work in progress. There’s a learning curve to all of this! When it comes to content writing, there are volumes worth of reading material regarding how to create and format the most effective material. When I first got the idea of creating my personal dot-com, I had no business to promote and I didn’t think I had much to share that other people would find relevant or interesting. Working with my ideas slowly over the years ended up being my best option, rather than forcing content on the site just to “have something there.”
As with anything you do involving your business (or even social life) you want to put your best foot forward. Of course, you want to be in the spotlight…but if the spotlight is shining down on something rushed and unprofessional-looking, it can bring more bad attention your way than good.
Take your time and build your website slowly. If you’re not sure at all what to put on the site, it may not be a good time to start creating the content. Take it slow and give the prospect some serious thought. The information on your site will be the only thing that millions of strangers will have to build their image of who you are. I’m sure you want them imagining the best and brightest picture of you!