The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Do you have a blog or a personal web pages? If so, you want to make it easy for others to find on the World Wide Web. Which do you think works better, something with your name in it or a “generic” domain name? For instance, if your name happened to be Bill Smith, which would be better for you:
Insert the name of your own blog or personal web pages in place of “BillSmith” in the above examples.
For instance, many years ago the “real address” of this newsletter used to be http://www.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy, but I found that nobody could remember that. I changed it to http://www.eogn.com and found that most people could remember the four-letter domain name of eogn, which stands for “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” The number of readers of this newsletter jumped dramatically within a few weeks after I changed the domain name.
Another advantage is that a domain name that you own can be moved from one hosting service to another without changing the address. For instance, a few years ago I moved this newsletter from the TypePad blog hosting service to WordPress.com’s service. Yet the address remained the same: http://www.eogn.com. I didn’t have to notify all the readers of the change.
Having your own domain name looks a lot more professional than does “piggybacking” onto someone else’s domain name. I suspect that most bloggers would prefer to use custom domain names, be it “www.BillSmith.com” or whatever name they choose. Many blogging services allow you to use your own custom domain name in place of the default name.
Another huge advantage is that you can also have an easy-to-remember email address that uses your own unique domain name. Using a custom email address also allows you to later change ISPs (or mail hosts) without having to change your address. What happens to your present email address if you move or otherwise need to switch email providers? What happens if you use an email address provided by your employer but later retire, change employers, or get laid off?
Which would you rather use for an email address?
Insert the name of your blog in place of “bill” or “bill34822” in the above examples.
A permanent email address that you control works much better, especially if you want people to find you in the future with genealogy information you asked about years earlier in email lists and in online message boards. As they said in the movie Men in Black, it’s “the last suit you’ll ever wear“.
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