Using my own name online in any form (let alone as the title of my website) has been something that I have actively avoided in the past. If sharing content online isn't sometimes daunting enough, it is easy to shy away from the added vulnerability that comes with brandishing your name for all to see and taking full ownership of the things that you create.
However, what I have learnt from my experience as a content creator is that when something makes you feel vulnerable it's usually a sign that your moving in the right direction. When I feel the nagging fears that come with stepping out of my comfort zone, I remind myself that it is important to stick it out - 99% of the time this has led to breakthroughs in the way I think about my online space and has allowed me to connect with my audience in a more meaningful way.
Today I want to share with you the thought processes that have led me towards choosing to name my website after myself. Whilst this is by no means a one size fits all solution to creating meaningful content online, I would encourage you to consider making this change if you:
- are struggling with a website that you feel no longer represents you
- no longer feel enthusiasm for you content
- are having difficulty attracting you ideal audience or connecting with your audience in a meaningful way.
1. Using your own name allows you room for growth:
The biggest problem that comes from using something other than your own name as a title and domain for your online space is the fact that you and your ideas are always going to be bigger and more interesting then any brand name could encompass.
Experimenting with your content is an essential part of finding what gives you energy and best connects you with your ideal audience . In order to do this however, you need to remove any of the barriers that are keeping you from following what inspires you and preventing you from growing into your distinct expertise.
Getting specific in your blog title with the area of content you plan to produce is a really easy way of letting your readers know what you're about as soon as they reach your site (e.g. getgardening.com or bestlondoneats.com). However, it is likely that your content will evolve as your interests naturally change and you hone in on the message or experience you have to share. Using your own name offers you much greater flexibility and room for growth than the examples above.
2. Using your own name forces your website to work for you (and not the other way around!)
With the increasing and exciting monetization of websites, blogs and personal brands, it is easy to miss the essential fact that instead of working for your website, your website should be working for you.
If your website is making you feel trapped in an area that no longer inspires you, it's not doing it's job. If your website is misrepresenting you or presenting a dated version of yourself, it's not doing its job. If your website is preventing you from making meaningful connections with others, it's not doing its job.
What do you want from your online space?
Is it a place to discover what you're really interested in? A place to experiment creatively?Somewhere to uncover your area of expertise? A means of developing your own unique voice? A way of fostering meaningful connections with others? A place to connect like-minded people?
Is your website currently delivering on these things?
Using your own name acts as a powerful reminder that your website works for you. You and your content are not limited to an abstract brand, but rather, you have the freedom to create whatever brings you closer to where you want to be.
3. Using your own name encourages meaningful connection
The most powerful content comes from a place of connection. Think about your favourite content creators that you return to again and again - the reason we return is because we 'get' them and feel on some level they 'get' us.
This basic fact plays to your strengths as a solo content creator - whilst you don’t have the time, money and resources of a larger publishers, you do have the ability to relate powerfully on a human level. Unlike businesses which invest millions into humanising through their branding and adverts you don't need to do this - you're already a human being!
Creating an online presence that is true to who you are will make you relatable, trustworthy and easy to connect with. Using your own name is a great way to begin making sure your website reflects you in an authentic way.
4. Using your own name forces you to be critical with your content
The vulnerability that comes with using your own name online stems from the fact that you are made more accountable for the content you are producing. This increased accountability can be harnessed to your advantage - using your own name not only allows you to grow to your fullest potential but actively encourages you to do so.
If you are struggling to commit to your website, publishing under your name might give you the extra motivation you need to invest the time and energy into creating content that you are truly proud of. It is this content that will transform your online space and attract the audience that need your expertise.