A great discussion topic came up in the comments of a previous post (on your name as brand currency) thanks to, Scott Ahmed, of the cool branding blog Brand Puba. Is it necessary to buy a personalized domain name for your website, as part of building your online brand?
I think you should definitely invest in a unique domain name for your personal website. BUT, when deciding whether or not that domain should include your actual name (à la abigailgamble.com) ask yourself these questions:
1. Will your audience care?
How much recognition will you receive from the specific community or industry you’re trying to reach for having a personalized domain? People in marketing or real estate may be more likely to a) notice and b) expect or be impressed by a personalized domain name than professionals in say, finance.
Also, will your target audience potentially be searching your name on Google?
2. Is the content of your site about you personally OR a broader topic or concept?
This site is about establishing my brand in the professional world, with links/info that tell you a bit more about my personal interests and perspectives. But the domain I’ll purchase for the site about the book I’m writing will reflect the book only. Is your website primarily an extension of you and your interests/perspectives, or do you want to it to serve as an objective expert source on a specific topic?
3. Where are you going in the future?
Think about your big goals and dreams. Can you picture yourself needing a site to reflect whatever you personally might achieve? If I do happen to become a published author in the future, my actual name as my brand will be quite important. If I am part of an awesome social innovation project instead, maybe not so much.
(On that note, I’ve read a few predictions that suggest domains will eventually be obsolete, thanks to apps and other new tech. But until then, we’ll work with what we’ve got! http://bit.ly/1k70ChE)