I started blogging in June 2008 when I left my job at the Houston Chronicle to travel in Africa. When I returned to the States and began writing a book, and I decided having a blog wasn’t good enough. I wanted my own Web site.
Why? Because without a desk in a newsroom, without an organization backing my work, I felt like I needed a virtual cubicle, a place where people could find me. Since I’m a journalist, there’s a lot of information about me on the Web, from stories with my byline to readers praising or complaining about my work. I wanted to control what Google told the world about me. When people go looking for information about me, I want them to find accurate, positive words, like clips I’m proud of. And I want them to find my contact information easily.
Try Googling yourself. What comes up? For a long time, when I Googled “Alexis Grant,” another woman with middle initial D popped up at the top of the page. Now that I’ve got a Web site, I’m the top link. And that’s what readers will click on first — the information I’ve put out there for them to find.
Jared Novack at Upstatement helped me create alexisgrant.com. (Well, I told him what I envisioned, and he created it.) Not only does it provide information about me, it gives the reader an idea of my personality. The photos at the top of me reporting from various locations, the overall look of the site — it’s a reflection of my character.
Even if you’re not quite ready to build your own site, think about buying your domain name so you’ll have it when the time comes. The longer you wait to buy yourname.com, the less likely it will be available. (Once a name starts becoming more prevalent on the Web, smart techies buy those names so they can resell them at a higher price. I bought alexiskgrant.com for next to nothing, but I really wanted alexisgrant.com, which had already been picked up by one of these second parties. I ended up paying $400 for it.) Not sure whether yourname.com is available? Check at http://godaddy.com.
Do you have your own Web site? Leave the link here so we can check it out.