In previous posts, I’ve shared with you my tips for getting started with blogging, as well as my ranking of the best social media sites for personal branding. Something that I overlooked in both those posts was the basic advice to own your name online. By that I mean you own the domain www.yourname.com
Buying a domain name is fast and cheap. Visit a site like www.namecheap.com or www.godaddy.com and enter your name in the search term. If the term you entered is available, you can buy it for about $10 a year.
I wish I would have known this 5 years ago. When I realized that I needed to get serious about personal branding, I went to buy my domain name but there was already a www.bretsimmons.com . Someone told me that I did not need a .com, so I just bought the .org domain. That is technically correct, but bad advice. You want your domain to be a .com because it is currently the most accepted standard for personal brands. Since my first choice name was not available, I had to establish myself as www.bretlsimmons.com . It took me about 5 months of consistent blogging, but now when you do a Google search for Bret Simmons, my name is at the top of the page. That’s the goal.
Use the simplest version of your name that is available. Even if you brand yourself in other ways (e.g. Modite), you always want to own the domain space associated with your name. Your domain name online is an investment and you can take action over time to increase the value of that investment. That’s what personal branding is all about – identifying, communicating, and enhancing the value associated with your name and professional reputation both online and in person.
Even if you are not sure yet about personal branding, go buy your domain name TODAY. It’s a very wise investment of 5 minutes and $10. When you realize that making a commitment to personal branding is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and your career, you will be glad that you took the time to reserve the online domain associated with your name.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.