A unique online identity is absolutely essential for effective personal branding. Have a look at my ‘NEW PROFILE’ in the table above. Isn’t is awesome? The good news is that it’s quite easy and inexpensive to setup something like that. All that you need is some time and $10.
STEP 1: Purchase Your Domain
One of the best investments you can make today is on a domain related to your name. You are increasingly being ‘Googled’ by people and it’s always better if they get the information set up by yourself.
My surname is very rare to find and hence it was easy for me to find a domain name. It may not be the case for you. However, you can definitely find a domain name since plenty of domain extensions are available today. If you don’t have .com available, you can try .net, .org, .biz, .co, .me etc. Most of them will cost between 8 to 15 dollars. The most popular place to buy domains is GoDaddy.Com (though I use namecheap.com). Domain purchase is the only cost involved in this process.
STEP 2: Setup a Free Website with Your Domain Name
I’m paying around eight dollars every month as hosting charges for my website. However, you can start a free website or blog and use your custom domain. I recommend the sites given below for this purpose.
All these websites are pretty easy to work with. If you are a bit tech savvy you can also use the free hosting service of www.byethost.com to setup a self hosted wordpress blog. The instructions for using your own domain are given in detail in the respective websites. If you’re confused, you can leave a comment below and I’ll try to help you.
STEP 3: setup a Custom eMail email@example.com
I’m using Google Apps Standard Edition for hosting my email firstname.lastname@example.org. However, recently Google announced that it no more allows new free accounts. As of now, you have the options given below to set up a branded email at no cost.
1. The Domain Registrar: Most domain registrars will allow you to create a free email address using your registered domain. You can later forward it to any email id of your choice. If you are using Gmail, you can also change the reply to email address so that nobody will know that you are actually using Gmail.
2. Outlook.com: You can create an email address using your domain and use it with Outlook.com just like your hotmail or live or outlook email id. Step by step instructions for this are given here:
STEP 4: Create Sub Domains and Forward.
When I register a domain like www.moosad.com, I also get a facility to create related sub domains. To get a professional looking LinkedIn URL, I created a sub domain li and forwarded li.moosad.com to my boring and long LinkedIn id ae.linkedin.com/in/ravimoosad. With most domain registrars, you can create up to 100 sub domains and that should be plenty for your requirements.
Thanks for reading and do not hesitate to share your own ideas!