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I am in the process of developing an online profile for my writing. Something marketable to future employers. I'm hung, though, on whether to use a domain name like "mynamewriter.com" or something unique that speaks to the content there.

Any advice?

  • How varied do you expect the content to be, including over time? – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '18 at 2:00
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I vote for the firstnamelastname.com variant. Not only because of SEO benefits (SEO = Search Engine Optimization), where people will find your site more easily if they search on your name, but also because it gives you a license to create any sub-site for any topic you want under your own name.

For example, my website contains one blog for web programming and one blog for writing. The difference between them is the sub-domain: "jsblog.sarawinter.se" as opposed to "beautifullypeculiar.sarawinter.se" (which is not operational at the moment).

Another thing to take into account is marketing and branding. Are you marketing yourself as a writer (or anything else) and what you are showcasing is directly linked to your name? Or are you selling a product? The thing here to consider is what your audience will be looking for when trying to find whatever it is you want to sell. If it is a book for instance, you could make use of both the name of the book and your own name to get the most search hits: "mybook.myname.com".

If what you are marketing is a product, albeit digital, such as a blog with a particular theme, where your personal brand is not as important, I'd go with a name that describes what it is you are selling. "macrameforbeginners.com" will be easier for a consumer to find than by knowing your name.

You mentioned "mynamewriter.com" which is an option if your name is already taken. But I would still take into account the aforementioned things.

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First of all, if your firstnamelastname.com domain is available, claim it now. Even if you don't decide to use it immediately, it is a valuable asset that you might not be able to claim later.

I would say that firstnamelastname.com is much more effective when people have heard of your first and last name. Until they have, the domain name is not saying much to anyone. I have two main domains that I use. One is analecta.com. Analecta means the same thing as analects, that is "a collection of short literary or philosophical extracts." I chose it as a good site name for a writer no matter what I was writing about.

Curiously enough, my blog is not on that domain. It is on everypageispageone.com, which is the name of my blog and of the book that grew out the blog. Once I coined the phrase Every Page is Page One (which happened more of less by accident) I claimed the domain immediately because I knew I wanted to write the blog and he book under that name. It is now the phrase that I am associated with in the tech comm and content strategy worlds. So that was a case of choosing a domain to reflect the idea and the branding I was developing.

markbaker.com was, naturally, gone long before I thought of claiming it. The curse of having a short and rather common name. I wish I did have it, of course, but I think if I did I would probably be redirecting it to analecta.com or everypageispageone.com until such time as I was well enough known for it to make sense to lead with my name.

However, if I was starting out now I would think long and hard about whether I wanted my own domain at all. I think there is a strong argument to be made that if you are chiefly looking to raise your profile it may be much more effective to publish on an existing platform like Medium or LinkedIn. The advantages of these platforms is that they come with a built in audience and built in facilities for sharing and discovering content. If your stuff is any good, it could find an audience much more quickly on such a platform. The downside is that you give up a degree of control and ownership. But if your goal is to market yourself to future employers, they are much more likely to find you on LinkedIn or similar site than on your own lonely domain off in the corner of the net.

And all this is not to mention that running your own domain is going to set you back some money every year for hosting and domain registration and will require you to master some technical skills to administer and secure it properly. Using a third party site avoids all those costs.

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    There is no reason why you can't get a domain of your own, and simply set up a redirection to your portion of another web site (such as your examples LinkedIn or Medium). A domain name and a small web hosting package (if your domain registrar doesn't provide redirection service already) is cheap enough that for most people, it's a very small expense. It also has the benefit that you can claim an e-mail address that won't change just because you change e-mail or Internet providers. (No, Gmail won't be around forever.) – a CVn Feb 14 '18 at 9:13

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