For those wanting to cut to the chase, the last paragraph explains that you can now read my blog at http://realityme.net/ with post feeds at http://realityme.net/feed/ and comment feeds at http://realityme.net/comments/feed/. The http://blog.siliconholler.com/ links also still work.
Client: "My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org."
Doug, long sigh once again pondering why he hasn’t written this down: *gives viral marketing speech* *gives who controls your business speech*
The viral marketing speech goes something like this: Every time you send an email you are sending an advertisement for whoever is on the right side of the @ symbol in the email address. That means email@example.com is advertising America Online with every email sent. Even non-techies and computerphobes know they can decompose an email address from firstname.lastname@example.org to http://www.aol.com/ to see the business’ website. Instead, this person should buy the domain http://irunmyownbusiness.com/ (domain names are cheap now-a-days: $5.99/yr).
Who controls your business? You should but when you are email@example.com you are letting AOL control your business. If you quit using AOL and relied solely upon Comcast your email address would change from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. Nothing sent to firstname.lastname@example.org would forward to email@example.com. Instead the mail would bounce (get returned to the sender) and your customers would go elsewhere. If AOL’s mail servers have problems, you cannot do anything. If you own your own domain like http://irunmyownbusiness.com/ then you can create as many email addresses as your hosting plan permits (usually in the thousands). So you can have firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and so forth. If your host (the company you rent computer space from and houses your domain) starts having problems you can move to a different webhost and your clients will never know because the client/user looks at irunmyownbusiness.com regardless of which computer serves that domain’s website and email.
More on who controls your business? If you have a domain name, then you can rent some server space (this is called hosting) and setup a website, email addresses, and more. However, instead of spending the $5.99/yr plus hosting fees for http://irunmyownbusiness.com/ many people choose to go with free services like http://korrnet.org/ (now wisely using a better domain name http://discoveret.org/). These free services often put your domain as a tertiary domain to theirs so you become http://irunmyownbusiness.korrnet.org/ which means that at any point in time if korrnet.org goes out of business or changes their domain name that your business suffers. Same thing with services that provide you a domain name as http://discoveret.org/irunmyownbusiness. You are not in control and you are advertising their business.
Let’s talk advertising. Your domain name should be everywhere! It should be on your business cards. It should be in your voicemail greeting. When you shake someone’s hand you should declare "My domain is irunmyownbusiness.com!" It should be on your letter head (you do still send letters right?) and it should be in the email signature of every email you send (in addition to being part of the email address). It should be on your billboards and in your print and television ads. Put it everywhere! Tattoo it on your forehead. Now let’s justify spending the $42 per year by pointing out the savings on printing alone. If you have given out business cards with firstname.lastname@example.org and change to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org then ALL your old print material is wasted and you have to spend a few hundred dollars reprinting. That business card sitting on someone’s desk for a year has a bad email address and you have lost a potential client. If you had printed on the business card email@example.com and you changed hosting from one webhost to another you do not have to reprint anything and you haven’t lost potential clients!
And a stylistic note. A domain name should not be confusing. http://dashes-and_underscore-makeaconfusingdomainname.com/ Ideally a domain name should be meaningful. http://blog.siliconholler.com/ does not relate to Reality Me. That said, meaningful domain names are sometimes hard to come by. A squatter has http://realityme.com/ for instance. http://www.mccaughan.com/ is not me or any of my family to the best of my knowledge. So, when a meaningful name cannot be acquired, get a memorable name.
It pains me to see people using access provider email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to represent themselves professionally. There is so much benefit that can be had from your own domain name for $5.99 a year and a cheap hosting plan around $2.99 per month. For those slow on the math that $41.87 per year (probably tax deductible).
And on following my own advice? I own http://siliconholler.com/ and set my blog up as http://blog.siliconholler.com/ but this both goes against my own advice and is a confusing domain name. Additionally, it does not match the title of my blog "Reality Me." So, I finally listened to myself and now have the blog under http://realityme.net/.