Yesterday, we discussed Creating an Online Profile, by choosing a name and avatar. Today, let's go to the next step, and talk about how to claim your name online.
The first thing you will want to do is get an e-mail address in your name. I recommend using a web-based e-mail service that you can keep with you even if you change internet providers. Assign a "gravatar" to you e-mail address using Gravatar, which is recognized on many blogs and forums which require you to use your e-mail address to register. This is an easy way to begin to establish your name and avatar online.
The next you will want to do is to register your domain. If possible, get the .com (i.e. www.yourname.com). This can be done from any number of domain name sellers online, or if you are using WebRevelation, the WebRev team can help you with that. If the .com is not available, you may consider getting on the waiting list and/or buying the .org, .net or another TLD that suits you.
Next, open accounts in your name on the major social networks. I recommend at least Facebook, Twitter, Linked-IN, Ning, FriendFeed, and YouTube. This will help you in two ways: it will reserve your name on those networks, and it will help you begin to establish your online reputation. The sites listed above are great for business networking, and rank high on the search engines. Remember to use a consistent avatar on the various networks.
In upcoming posts, we will discuss how to promote your name online while staying safe, and how to earn "page rank," on the search engines.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.