When was the last time you Googled yourself? Go ahead and enter your name in a Google search to see what comes up. If you have a unique name or spelling, your Facebook or Twitter account might be in the first few search results.

You may find a website owned by someone with the same name. A good way to protect your name or personal brand is to own the rights to “yourname.com” and it’s easier to do than ever.

Google just officially launched domains.google.com after being in beta for about 7 years. The search company makes it simple for even the novice computer user to purchase a domain to use or hold onto for future use.

The case of owning this piece of online real estate is a good idea for many different reasons.

It protects your personal brand.
Imagine if you’re applying for a job and the hiring manager Google’s your name. If they see someone who isn’t you and that person has a rather unpleasant history, it could cause some confusion or even concern.

Now imagine if you own the domain with your name, a “yourname.com”, the hiring manager will see only what you want to make public.

This is becoming more important as many people set their Facebook profiles to private out of security concerns.

If you have a business or hobby you’re thinking about making a business, owning a domain that identifies that interest is even more critical. I think of real estate agents, attorneys, marketing specialists, and podcasters.

Owning your own domain is also a good way to get a private email address that is not controlled by another company. If you own the domain, you can set up a “yourname@yourdomainname”.

There’s a good chance that your name or business name has already been registered as a .com. That shouldn’t be the end of the conversation.

In the past few years, over 100 domain extensions have been made available as .coms have become harder to find.

You’re likely familiar with .net and .org domains, but others may be a better fit for how you want to use the domain.

Real estate agents may like a .home domain extension. Lawyers will benefit from a .law domain while creatives may prefer .art, .live, .media or .rocks.

Purchasing a domain is easy now through Google, GoDaddy, Bluehost, and other domain sellers.

So you’ve got your preferred domain, now what?

Creating a website is as difficult as you want it to be, but building a website using WordPress, Wix or Squarespace has a short learning curve.

You can always forward your domain address to another website such as your YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile or to a LinkedIn account.

This requires only a click on your host’s website to send your “yourname.whatever” to one of the other accounts.

I will also make the argument that buying someone their domain as a gift is a great idea, especially for graduation presents. College graduates can certainly benefit from having their own domain name to post their resume and introduction letter.

Many domains are affordable. ‘.coms’ are usually $10-$17 a year. Some domains are more expensive. .tv is around $49/year while .finance domains sell for $50/year and .ceo domains are $81/year.

A few more suggestions:

● .com is still the best domain extension to own by far. Giving someone your website as a
“.com” rolls off the tongue and they know exactly what is meant by a .com
● Short domain names are best no matter which domain you use. Make it easy to say and
easy to understand.
● The annual cost to maintain ownership of a domain typically goes up for the 2nd year.
You may be able to grab a .com for $10 for the first year, it’s typically $25-$35 after that,
though domain companies discount the cost if you pay for 5 years ownership in
advance.