NameStall is an awesome tool for generating domain name ideas, but while you’re thinking about buying a domain name for your next company… have you thought about buying the domain name for your name (eg. FirstLastName.com)? Over 100,000+ domains are registered every day, if your name is John Smith you’re going to be out of luck, but chances are you still share a name with one of the 7 billion plus people on this planet. Buying the domain name for your name is very important, here are a few reasons why:
- Branding – Your domain name is your brand. That’s why companies spend millions acquiring their domains, eg. thefacebook.com bought facebook.com and getdropbox.com eventually bought dropbox.com. domain names are becoming brand name.
- SEO - If you’re an entrepreneur, some of your businesses will come and go. But you will still be there. When I started SorianoMedia.com, I immediately got a homepage link from PR2, PA39/DA27 Domain, which just so happens to be from JaySoriano.com. If you’re not an entrepreneur, at the very least, owning your domain name helps you rank for “Your Name” in search engines.
- Presence - If you’re an entrepreneur, consultant, lawyer, etc., people are going to search for you. If you’re applying for jobs, employers are going to search for you. Plus, by editing “Title Tags” and “Meta Descriptions” you can have Google show anything you want! For example, here’s what you’ll see #1 when you search for “Jay Soriano”:
Now, I’m not really that conceited, I did it more as a joke… I always tell less tech-savvy people that Google automatically generated that description of me and I had nothing to do with it .
What if your domain name is taken?
Truth Moment: My full name is Jonathan Soriano. Although you’d never know about it unless you see my drivers license or talk to my family. I never liked my first name and much prefer to be called “Jay.” Therefore that’s what you’ll see as far as my domain name (JaySoriano.com), social media accounts, etc.
Originally, I set out to register both JaySoriano.com and JonathanSoriano.com and 301 redirect the ladder to JaySoriano.com. However, much to my surprise, JonathanSoriano.com was owned by a Spanish Soccer player. It wasn’t until writing this blog post that I found out that it was dropped, and is now available. I registered it immediately and it now 301 redirects to JaySoriano.com.
Lesson: Use the NameStall Whois Lookup tool and enter yourname.com. If your name is available, register it immediately. If not, look for “Registrar Expiration Date.” People who are serious about keeping their domain names tend to register it for a long time, for example, JaySoriano.com is registered until 2018. Has it expired or does it expire within the next few months? If so, now enter yourname.com into your browser address bar. Is their an active website, or is it just a domain registrar page? If the ladder, their is a decent chance that your domain name will be dropped, giving you the opportunity to be the new owner!
From here, just use a domain backordering service ($21 with GoDaddy) and it will be purchased as soon as the domain is “deleted.” I recommend using that service because it places you first in line for the domain, however, in the rare event that someone else placed a backorder as well – it will go to auction. (This is how it works with GoDaddy’s backorder service anyway, not sure about other registrars. If you know, let us know in the comments section!)
If your domain isn’t expiring anytime soon, go back to Whois Lookup and scroll down for the contact information of the domain owner. S/he could be willing to sell it for a reasonable price. If it’s owned by a domain squatter – you’re probably looking at $500+… even more depending on who you are and what you do.
Domain Variations + Conclusion
If it isn’t expiring anytime soon, and the owner has no intentions to sell at a price you’re comfortable with. Consider adding your middle initial or using a nickname. You can also register a domain name hack, for example, if your name was “Jack Rabbit,” you could use Italy’s domain name extension (.it) and buy JackRabb.it instead of JackRabbit.com. With a little SEO work, people will be able to find you (although using Jack Rabbit is obviously a bad example though, because queries for that will return results for a type of rabbit).
Now that we’ve went over the importance of owning your domain name for your name, and the process of acquiring it if it isn’t available. It’s time to realize that you should not only own your domain name for your name, but also for your (future) kids and wife (if she takes your last name). So if you haven’t already – go register your domains!
What do you guys think? Anyone have interesting stories of acquiring their domain name? Let us know in the comments below!