By now, you know how important it is to have a personal resume website in your arsenal. We've also shared a few tips on making your resume website more interactive and provided the crucial mistakes you should avoid.
But, there is another important consideration to make before purchasing a domain name for your website, and that is the domain extension.
When you’re creating a personal resume website, it’s important to go with your name. After all, this website is all about you and presenting yourself in the best possible light to potential employers. Choosing anything else for a domain name would be just plain silly.
Another point to keep in mind is that your site is the very beginning of your personal brand. Changing your domain later on, could hurt not only your brand but your search rankings as well. That’s why it’s crucial to settle on the right combination of your first and last name paired with the right extension now.
However, finding the best domain name extension might prove to be more difficult than you imagine. If you have a relatively common name, there is a good chance that someone already grabbed their personal domain with a .com extension. What should you do then? What if your name is already taken?
In this part of the How to Make a Great Personal Resume Website series, we walk you through important options for choosing the best domain extension for your personal website and give you a few tips on what to do if the coveted .com extension is not available.
Why You Should Aim for .com?
The .com extension is one of the oldest domain extensions. It’s also the most commonly used. Just think for a moment: almost every major website on the Internet ends in .com. The exception to this are government websites or non-profit organizations which usually end in .gov or .org.
Because of this, it’s almost natural for anyone randomly trying to find a website for any business to type in the supposed domain name and finish it off with .com. Indeed, the .com is one of the most desired and preferred extensions.
A Domain Extension With .com Conveys Trust
The .com extension is also one of the most credible domain extensions and it instantly makes your website appear more trustworthy.
And if you consider for a moment that you will share your new website with everyone you know, it makes sense to use .com extensions to make it easier for people to remember.
While it’s true that there are a plethora of new extensions available today, there’s another thing to keep in mind. Imagine for a moment that you decided to use a new extension like .design. You might think this is a good idea, but, in reality, most people will probably wind up typing yournamephotography.com which will lead them to a non-existing domain or worse, someone else’s website. You can easily avoid that risk by sticking with a .com extension.
Finally, another point in favor of the .com is the simple fact that most smartphone keyboards come with a .com button. When you factor in the rise in mobile devices for everyday Internet surfing, it’s a smart decision to go with .com.
What If .com Is Not Available?
Opting for a .com extension should be your top priority, but sometimes that is just not possible. If your desired domain name is already taken, what should you do then?
Step 1 - Get Creative With Your Name
The first thing you can try is getting a little creative with your name. Your domain name does not necessarily have to be firstnamelastname.com. You could try switching it around and putting your last name first, followed by your first name.
Step 2 - Use Your Middle Initial
Another option is to add your middle initial to the domain name or even your full middle name. This could result in your domain name looking like janecsmith.com or janecarolsmith.com. You can also try the combination of first and middle initials followed by your last name, resulting in a domain name like jcsmith.com.
Step 3 - Add Your Occupation
If none of these options are available, consider adding your profession or occupation to your name like janesmithdesigner.com or jsmithphotography.com.
A good example of this is Jen Woycik’s website who opted for adding her profession to her domain name:
Step 4 - Use Another Extension Type, Like .me or .us
You can also opt for a different extension. Recently, .me and .name have become popular with personal websites and many people like Ian Anderson Gray have successfully used them to build their personal brand. His domain name uses only his initials paired with a .me domain which makes it super short and easy to type.
Mike Power on the other hand uses the .net extension for his personal website:
Don’t forget about country-level domain names, which might be handy if you’re focused on searching for a job locally. Domain extensions such as .us, .uk, or .eu are a good choice.
What Extensions Should You Avoid?
We mentioned before that new domain extensions are available nowadays and you are no longer limited to a .com, .org, or a .net domain. The options range from .design, .guru, .rocks, .site, to .online, .xyz, and even .blog.
Seeing all those new options might be tempting and you might fall into the trap of thinking it will make your website more creative and memorable.
The truth is that those domain extensions haven’t been available for long and most people aren’t even aware of their existence. Aside from the aforementioned problem of people simply attaching the new extension to the standard .com, there is also a risk of coming off as unprofessional, especially if you choose an extension like .ninja or .guru.
Should You Register All Other Available Extensions?
As you search for your domain name, you will notice that more than one extension is available. Should you register all of them? The answer to that question largely depends on your budget, but generally speaking, it’s a wise choice to register the most common extensions as well.
The main idea behind this is it helps protect your brand. In an ideal world, you shouldn’t be worried about the possibility of someone registering your name with a different extension for malicious purposes. In reality, there is always a possibility that something similar might happen. If someone goes out of their way to build up the other site in search engine rankings, you run the risk of having your reputation tarnished.
If you can afford it, minimize this risk by registering at least the .net, .me, and .co extensions. Then, simply redirect those domains to point to your primary domain name.
Tools and Tips for Finding the Perfect Domain Name
So where do you begin your search for the perfect domain name? Below, we’ll show you a handful of resources for researching your domain name options as well as a few places where you can register them.
4 Powerful Tools to Help You Find the Right Domain Name
There are many domain name checkers online as well as a number of domain name registrars. In fact, most of the hosting companies allow you to register a domain name with them for free when you sign up for one of their hosting plans.
However, before you do that, consider using one of the tools below, as choosing the right host is another important factor to consider, deserving of a topic of its own.
Instant Domain Search lets you see the results as you type them out. Aside from letting you know whether your preferred domain name is taken, it will show you other available extensions and offer a number of alternative suggestions. It will also let you see which of the taken domain names are currently for sale.
If you find the domain name you are completely happy with, simply click on the option to buy it and you will be sent to GoDaddy’s website where you can register it.
Panabee takes the domain name search a bit further. It lets you not only search for the domain name and offers alternative suggestions if your desired name is taken, but it also allowing you to cross-reference domain names against popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and others for name availability.
Similarly to Panabee, Knowem lets you search for domain names as well as usernames across a variety of social networking sites. The difference is that Knowem performs the search to include social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Delicious as well as popular blogging platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, and even some of the more obscure and very niche-specific social networks.
The best part about this site is that it allows you to easily claim your desired domain name and usernames for your preferred social media profiles. If you’re serious about building your personal brand, make this website your first stop.
NameCheap is a domain name registrar that is reasonably priced and allows you to search for your domain name across a variety of extensions. They often have promotional coupons and special offers on certain extensions where you can register a domain name with multiple extensions for as low as $0.88 cents per domain name/extension.
6 Killer Tips to Help You Choose Your Domain Name
Before you run off in search of your domain name, here are a few tips to help you make the right decision:
1. Keep Your Domain Name Short
If at all possible, keep your domain name short. Aim for a domain name that is under 15 characters, as anything longer might be harder for people to remember. There is also an inherent risk of typos in longer domain names, which can lead to potential visitors winding up somewhere other than your website.
2. Avoid Using Hyphens
It’s worth mentioning that you should avoid using hyphens in your domain name whenever possible. The reason for this is twofold. First, hyphens in domain names are usually associated with spammy domains, and second, there is a good chance people will forget the hyphen and end up on a non-existent or a completely different website.
3. Make It Easy to Spell and Remember
Chances are, you will find yourself in a situation where your domain name will pop up as a topic in a conversation. The last thing you want to do is give out a long and overly complicated domain name that's hard to remember. Similarly, if you’re talking to someone on the phone, it’s a lot easier to spell out a short domain name than it is to spell out a really long domain name.
4. Avoid Double Letters
Similarly to the point above, avoid doubling up on letters. If your last name begins with the same letter as the last letter of your first name, consider switching them around to avoid any typos and potential loss of traffic.
5. Consider Using Your Domain Name as Your Social Media Username
We’ve mentioned in an earlier article that most employers will turn to Google to find more information about you. To keep your brand on point, use your domain name as your social media username whenever you can. This will help avoid any confusion about whether or not they stumbled onto the correct profile and it adds to your professional image.
6. Act Fast - Grab Your Domain Name Now
Finally, act fast. Domain names, especially good ones, get taken up rather quickly. It’s important not to spend too much time going over your options or leave your decision for another day, as this can lead to the domain name being bought right from under your nose.
Find the Perfect Domain Extension Today
Creating a personal resume website is a must nowadays, but before you set out to purchase the hosting and a great personal resume theme for your site, spend a few moments to choose the best extension for your domain name. Doing so will be well worth the effort and set you on the right path of building a great personal website with a memorable brand.