Create your online identity

If you’ve decided you want to make a name for yourself on the Web for any reason, you will quickly discover that an effective Web presence will require you to utilize a number of services, such as e-mail, registrations to allow you to post comments, Flickr/YouTube/Twango file-sharing accounts, and many others. Many (if not most) of these services will require you to create some sort of an online username by which you are known to the Web community.

Before you get started registering for all of these services, it is a good idea to stop and think about how you want to be known on the Internet. Most services that you will utilize will allow you to create an online username. This moniker, or alias, will be how people get to know you. Joe3437912 is probably not a good way to get people to recognize your “name” when they see it. In addition, JoeTheWanker may not be a good username if you are trying to build a respectable Web presence. It might be good if your Web presence is primarily devoted to humor or satire, however.

Your online moniker should be something that is unique to you, so that it can be used consistently throughout all of your services. JoeSmith might be available as an e-mail address from your Internet Service Provider, but it probably won’t be consistently available everywhere you want to leave your mark. Furthermore, your moniker should be something easy to recognize, simple to remember, and related to the presence you want to establish. This is particularly the case if you are starting an online business.

Keep this information in mind as you begin to establish your online identity. When you sign up for a Web service, you should use the same (or at least a very similar) moniker everywhere you go. Eventually, people who tend to frequent the same Web sites and services as you will begin to recognize your online identity. If your ultimate goal is to gain subscribers to your blog, or bring people to your Web site where you sell your products or share your ideas, this name recognition will be very important over time.

In the next few posts, I will explain how to register your own domain name (for free) so that you can create your very own personal, business, or family Web site. It might not be a bad idea for your online moniker to be related to the domain name for your Web site (For example, I go by the name Lockworld, which is a derivation of my Web site’s domain name: http://www.lockworldherald.com/).

If you are at a complete loss for creating your online identity, you might want to try out a few services that will help. I recommend the Web 2.0 Company Name Generator, which creates unlimited domain names for you to choose from by combining trendy words. The names are purely random, but sort of interesting, and it can be a fun way to create a unique and catchy online identity. Some of the names generated may already be registered, so if you want to use them as your domain name, you may want to check their availability first.

If you’re serious about using a specific set of words in your domain name, you might want to give NameBoy a try. This service allows you to pick up to two words, and generates a list of available domain names that combine these words (or derivations of these words).

The most important step in registering your domain is to pick a domain name that is easy to remember (for both you and your clients). Once you register this domain and start driving traffic to it, you won’t want to change it later, or you’ll loose all of your traffic (not to mention all of the time and effort you put into creating the Web site).

That’s all for today. Please stay tuned to this blog for some exciting ideas that I will be presenting to you this summer and fall.

Preview of upcoming posts:
Over the next few months, I will use this blog to show you how to use a variety of free services available to you to create your very own Web site and use additional free resources to make your site interesting, engaging, and interactive for your users. I’ll even explain how to combine several free services to create a single e-commerce solution to allow you to sell products or services on your own Web site without spending a single dollar. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own online business, but lacked the capital to make it work, this blog will show you how to proceed. I will be modeling the steps that I show to you on my own Web site (http://www.lockworldherald.com/) so you will be able to see how it all comes together.

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