Your brand can do a great deal of the heavy lifting when attempting to communicate or deliver a message to your audience.
Effective branding will establish you as an authority and will pre-qualify your target audience. Properly branded, makes you more identifiable and accessible to your supporters.
Start with a dot-com to connect your dots.
Who are you?
The very fist consideration in branding one’s self, is to establish your name – and to distinguish it as apart from those who have similar names.
In the current level of technology in the world’s methods of communication, the dot-com is the definitive qualifier for effective branding.
Your ability to purchase your own dot-com may determine what your brandable name might be.
For instance, if your name is John Smith and you discover that johnsmith.com is not available, you must continue to research additional variations until you find a brandable dot-com.
If after exploring all the possible variations of your name to establish your dot-com identity only to find that they have already been scooped up by others sharing your name (which you may have never known how common your name was prior to this exercise) there may be a last-ditch-effort available to you.
You could resort to using dashes, like: john—r-smith.com but if you must do this, I would also suggest in backing it up with another domain extension (like a dot-net or some other available extension without the hyphens).
You should have two dot-coms one representing who you are (your personal name) and what you do.
What do you do?
Next is to establish your brand in your area of interest or expertise.
Let’s say that you make homemade beer; to brand yourself you might attempt to get homemadebeer.com. You discover that domain is taken, so you must do additional work to find an available dot-com that pertains to you.
This is an excellent procedure to encourage you to expand your scope to include an arena for fans and fellow aficionados to interact with you, so you expand your scope to include room for others bolstering your influence.
Your resulting dot-coms from this exercise might result in obtaining:
Establishing your identity and are of interest or expertise in the dot-com arena is your first order of business and all of your activities after securing your dot-coms should reflect your branding.
If most of your friends call you “Johnny,” but your dot-com is John, then start correcting your friends – and by all means, anytime you do anything in public – make certain that you are identified as “John Ronald Smith”. Not John R. Smith. You must identify with and protect your brand, just as if it was your trademark (and it is).
What about the rest of the dot family?
A common question I get asked is, “What if my name-dot-com is not available, can’t I just get the dot-net or some other Internet extension?”
My initial response is, “No.”
The reason is simply that as a general rule, people who use the Internet tend to automatically type dot-com following a domain name. The risk is, of course, that someone else can hijack your identity or fan base by having the dot-com.
That said; the dot-com extension should always be your preference. To establish further protection of your brand, you may want to purchase some of the associated domain extensions (i.e., dot-net, dot-org, dot-info) to prevent someone else from diluting your branding.
Securing your dot-com identity should be your first course of business prior to coming up with a name for any new endeavor. If you come up with a great name for a new project that you are working on and the dot-com is not available… keep working on the name until you find a dot-com-brandable name.