Want to improve your personal brand online in minutes, for pennies a day?
It’s simple, and it starts with registering the domain (website address) for your real name.
That is the first step toward getting a more professional email address tied to your name (vs. a free account from Gmail, Yahoo or wherever), as well as a personal website/blog or landing page.
Surprisingly, many people don’t consider getting their own personalized email address. Maybe they think it’s too complicated or too costly.
Actually, it’s easy to accomplish and inexpensive. Just follow the steps below, and in less than 30 minutes, you can improve how your represent yourself online.
STEP ONE: SEARCH FOR AND REGISTER YOUR NAME
Use a domain registrar to search for your name. I recommend iwantmyname, but there are lots of reputable registrars.
The conventional wisdom used to be to get the .com version of your name. That’s still good advice, but it’s not practical for everyone—especially if you have a common name.
Fortunately, there are many great domain name alternatives now. For example, these include .in, .io, .me and many more extensions.
While some newer domain extensions cost a little extra, they may be more readily available. When possible, I suggest avoiding some of the more gimmicky extensions (such as “.expert”). Try to find a short URL that closely matches your full name.
Most domain names cost about $15-$50 per year to register.
STEP TWO: SET UP AN EMAIL ADDRESS TIED TO YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Once you register your domain name, you can then get an email address associated with it.
While most domain registrars offer email hosting or forwarding services, I recommend using a more robust, dedicated solution. My favorite is G Suite (formerly Google Apps). While this was created for businesses, anyone with a domain name can use it!
The cost for G Suite is $5 per user (i.e., email address) per month.
It just takes a few minutes to get set up with G Suite. The other benefit is that is gives you the full lineup of Google products such as Google Calendar, Docs, Drive, Forms, Sheets and more.
Of course, once you have your own domain name and email address, you might consider launching your own website. That is a more involved process, but there are many options—some as simple as redirecting your domain name to a free landing page.
Remember to use your new “branded” email address to stand out—whether your are applying for a job or just trying to look more polished in your online communications.