In an “I Facebook, therefore I am,” era, your online presence matters. Why not take control of it?
You Are Not Anonymous
Whether or not you want to admit it, if you are online, you are leaving a trail. Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter and LinkedIn are all high-ranking sites with search engines and as a result, so are member profiles. It might be deeply buried (yes, I’m looking at you, John Smith) but it still exists!
Even if someone has never used a computer, he or she is probably online somewhere. Noone is safe from various online directories, such as whitepages.com, spoke.com or classmates.com. (They like to publish your information without your consent to build numbers and attract users.)
Is it safe?
My grandma, who has never touched a computer in her life* beyond dusting one, was very worried about my purchase of shaunastacy.com. She felt for sure I would accrue stalkers, a bad professional reputation or – even worse – trojan viruses!
The irony here is the simple fact that if you are on Facebook, you already have a personal website. You might think it’s safe because it’s one of millions or because of Facebook’s “privacy standards” but one shift in their policies and details about your personal life are suddenly hanging out like a person off the side of a boat.
Besides, if someone really wants to steal your identity, they will find a way regardless of whether you have a vanity URL or not!
Visibility is a Good Thing
It’s still uncertain if stalkers are accruing,** but in this job market it’s proving to be a leg up. For savvy employers and prospective clients, a personal website immediately puts a face and a voice to my list of accomplishments. It has upped the number of referrals I’ve received, boosted freelance and contract work, and has come up several times during interviews. A vanity site sets you apart and leaves a stronger and more accurate impression of one’s personal brand than any cover letter ever could.
Just remember: As long as you take the time to develop a clear vision, navigable design, and create clean and articulate content (or find someone to build it for you) the positive results will outweigh even the occasional stalker.
So why should you buy a vanity URL? That’s simple:
- To be easy-to-find, 24/7
- To stay relevant
- To control your online image
If you’re thinking about setting up a personal website but are unsure about what to do next or need some help, feel free to email me by clicking [here].
*(and who is highly visible online thanks to my excessive referencing and quoting of her awesomeness) **Let’s face it, stalking is the sincerest form of flattery in this digital age!