Should I use my personal name in a domain name? Or a business name?

Perhaps the best way to answer this question is by example:

I am Joel Hughes and I am the founder and owner of Glass Mountains. Glass Mountains is run by a team of people and so it makes sense that our domain name is (note: had I known 5 years ago that we would do so much work in the US, I might have opted for a .COM domain name instead. However, the does not seem to put off US clients and I could always change it later).

Whilst I own the domain name, there is nothing on that website. If I wished to present myself as an independent person outside of Glass Mountains, then this could be a vehicle to do that. A personal website would then ‘allow’ me to blog on content which is perhaps outside of the general scope of what generally goes on at Glass Mountains (i.e. mainly WordPress & website related topics).

If I was presenting myself as a speaker or an author, then a personal website may well help because, if you think about it, if someone who is looking for a speaker on topic X, lands on which has a big picture of me, details of how to book me as a speaker etc – then they’ll immediately feel at home and more amenable to taking the next step (book me). But that is not me at the moment, so I’m happy for my details to be tied into the Glass Mountains websites. A personal website may also make sense if I were thinking of selling my company in x years time as this would then mean I already would have my own separate, personal internet presence established (rather than everything being tied up in the website). A bit of future planning pays off here.

If you are starting out and have the choice between the two routes (personal website name or generic business name) then perhaps you want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you the focal point of the business? (and will you continue to be?)
  • Will your enterprise consist of a team? Or are you the sole component?
  • How do you envisage your business changing?
  • Does your name easily translate into an internet domain name?
  • Is your name likely to change? (think marriage/think divorce)

None of those questions provides the whole answer but they should help guide you as to the choice here.

Bear in mind one thing: you don’t have to get it 100% right now: we can unpick this later on. We can change your domain name down the line; we can split websites into multiple websites with differing offerings etc. Yes in the ideal world we would create the perfect foundations for your internet presence and then 5 years down the road those foundations are still perfectly aligned with your current business vision – but that is not always possible.

As a final tip: internet domain names are fairly cheap, if in doubt, buy the domain name and put it on your back pocket. As a general rule, I’d typically only go for a .COM or .CO.UK domain name but there are other useful versions as well.