If you are starting to build your design portfolio website or starting your job search then you might be asking yourself, what domain name should I choose for my design portfolio website? As easy as it sounds, a lot of designers spend valuable time trying to come up with the perfect domain name.
Coming up with a domain name for your design portfolio website can be as easy as using your first and last name together. This keeps things simple allowing potential employers, and clients to easily find your work while saving you time. You can also be proud of using your name and the chances of you wanting to change it in the future are a lot lower.
Using your name as your website's domain name can sound scary right now. You may be saying to yourself, what if I want to focus on more down the road? What if I only want to show web design work in my design portfolio? Wouldn't it be better for attracting clients to have "design" or "branding" in my domain name? In this article, I'm going to answer all of these questions and tell you exactly why using your first and last name is the best option for you today.
Should You Use Your Name or A Creative Name?
When it comes to naming your design portfolio website I recommend starting off by using your first and last name together as your personal domain name. This keeps things simple for you and is easily recognizable by anyone you direct to it. I have used my full name together(jonsorrentino.com) as my personal domain name for my professional portfolio since I graduated and have never had problems with people finding my work.
If you are looking for ways to quickly build your design portfolio website, check out the article I wrote here with my 10 top tips to quickly create a design portfolio website.
When you are just starting, you are a small fish in the big pond that is the internet. Not only to search engines but also to potential clients and employers. No one knows you or your work. One of your main priorities, when you are starting as a young designer or creative, should be to build up your business and professional network and send your work to as many contacts as possible.
By using a simple domain name, you can let your work speak for itself. You will also have the opportunity to expand on it later on once you build up your resume experience.
If you are still questioning whether or not you should use your name or a creative name for your domain then I would ask myself this. Do you currently have a roster of clients that you work with consistently that come to you for a specific service?
If the answer to this question is no then it is worth ensuring purchasing a domain using your name.
If you answered yes to this, then there you have it. You may want to consider using a site name that is more tailored to the specific type of work you do as a designer or creative.
What If Your Name Is Long Or Hard To Spell?
If your name is long or hard to spell then this might be a small issue. You can run the risk of potential employers or clients misspelling your name and never actually seeing your design portfolio.
Don't worry, there is an even simpler solution for this. If you have a long first name or long last name, then try to use an initial along with whichever option is easiest to spell. For example, if my name was “Johnathan Sorrentino” then I might choose jsorrentino.com for my design portfolio domain name instead of my full name.
If you run into the situation where both your first and last name are difficult to spell or too long then consider using initials for both and adding the word “design” or whatever service you provide behind it. So something like jsdesign.com could work for your domain because it has few letters.
What About Using Keywords In Your Website Name?
As I mentioned in the example above where your first and last name are too long or hard to spell, then using your initials plus a keyword may be a better solution. While there are many SEO experts out there that will repeatedly say having keywords in your website's domain will help with SEO. It will not be the determining factor that ranks you higher in search engines.
While using keywords in your domain names can help with search engine optimization, you will need more than just that in your domain to help your rank. Using keywords in your design portfolio website's domain name can also help when attracting clients, brands, or employers.
While this is great, chances are when you are starting your design career, you will have many jobs and experiences doing a lot of different work. So other than using “design” I wouldn't recommend digging too deep in the keyword library. This is also the perfect reason for keeping your domain name simple with your first and last name.
As you grow in your design career you will figure out what type of work you like to do and how you want to conduct business. This will then give you a better idea if you should purchase additional domain names for your design portfolio site.
Should You Use .com or .design?
Since the beginning of the internet, .com has been the most popular domain to use for any website and this still remains the case. Try to remember the last time you shared a site with a friend or coworker and it was a custom domain name other than a .com.
For this reason, I suggest you register the .com version for your design portfolio website first. There are alternate custom domain names that you could consider purchasing in addition to the .com like .design.
The .design domain extension became available to the public for purchase in 2015 and was seen as a way for all aspects of design to have a way to brand their site URLs. While that might have been the intention, it has been a slow process for wider adoption of the .design domain extension.
In addition to .design domain there is also .co, .io, .xyz, and a ton of other domains you can purchase for your design portfolio website. At the end of the day, the most important thing to keep in mind is keeping your URL easy to remember for visitors.
Can You Have Multiple Domain Names For Your Portfolio?
Yes! There is nothing stopping you from purchasing multiple domains for your portfolio website. In fact I have more than a few personal domain names myself.
For example, I have my own blog(Wellfed) and brand that uses multiple different URLs. I have also seen many brands use multiple URLs when creating different marketing campaigns or product releases for their business.
Where To Buy Your Design Portfolio Website Domain?
Now that we have gone through some of the considerations for naming your design portfolio website, you are ready to purchase your domain! But where is the best place for purchasing domains?
There are more than a few places to buy domain names for your portfolio website so before scrolling below to the list of my top recommendations, here is a pro tip. While platforms like Squarespace and Wix allow you to purchase a domain name through them so you can use their website builder, this isn't always the best.
While it's great that they offer this, in a way it forces you to have to use their platform. If in the future you decide to use a different website platform then you will have to go through their process for transferring the domain name off their platform.
For Squarespace, this process can take up to several days and some platforms restrict you from doing this altogether. Instead, consider purchasing your domain name from one of my recommendations below. These domain name services are agnostic of what website builder you use and allow you to switch at any time without any hassle. These recommendations also have the best prices available to allow you to save some money when purchasing your domain names.
- Namecheap - Get a domain for only $0.99
- Bluehost - $12.99 for 1st Year
- Bluehost - Free domain when you purchase Wordpress hosting at $2.95/mo
If you have any questions about your design portfolio website you can always message me on TikTok or Instagram. Also consider signing up for a free 1-on-1 review where we go over any questions you have about your portfolio, projects, resumes, and more.