How To Name Your Design Portfolio Website - Don't Make This Mistake

Your design portfolio URL doesn't have to be fancy but you should keep it simple for now and here's why.

If you are starting to build your design portfolio website or starting your job search then you might be asking yourself, what should I name my design portfolio website? As easy as it sounds, a lot of designers spend valuable time trying to come up with a witty or clever name for their design portfolio website and choose something that they end up changing in a year or two anyway.

Coming up with a name for your design portfolio website can be as easy as using your first and last name together for your portfolio website’s domain. This keeps things simple allowing potential employers or clients to easily search for your portfolio while also saving you time. You can also be proud that it is your name and the chances of you wanting to change it in the future are a lot lower.

Using your name as your design portfolio website’s 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 on my design portfolio website? Wouldn’t it be better to have words like design or branding in my website domain? 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 in your domain. This keeps things simple for you and is easily recognizable by anyone you send it to. I have used my first and last name together(jonsorrentino.com) as my design portfolio website name since I graduated and have never had problems with people finding my work. When you are just starting, you are a small fish in a big pond. Not only to the search engines but also potential clients and employers. Know 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 professional network and send your work to as many of those contacts as possible. By using a simple domain name for your design portfolio website, you let your work speak for itself. It also lets you 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 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 I would suggest using your name. If you answered yes to this, then there you have it. You may want to consider using a 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 a potential client or employer 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 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 this.

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 sole factor that ranks you higher in the search engines. While using keywords in your domain name can help with search engine optimization, you will need more than just a keyword in your domain to help your rank. Using keywords in your design portfolio website’s domain can also help give potential clients or employers a better sense of what it is exactly you do. While this is great, chances are when you are starting in 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 design portfolio website name simple with your first and last name. As you grow in your design career you will also figure out what type of work you like to do. This will later provide the opportunity to consider if you should purchase an additional name for your design portfolio website.

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 remains the case. Try to remember the last time you shared a website with a friend or coworker and it was anything other than a .com. For this reason, I recommend securing the .com version for your design portfolio website first. There are alternate domain extensions 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 website URLs. While that might have been the intention, it has been a slow process for wider adoption of the .design domain. In addition to .design there is also .co, .io, .xyz, and a ton of other domains you could also 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 and type out for visitors. 

Where To Buy Your Portfolio Website Domain?

Now that we have gone through some of the basis 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 a domain for your portfolio website so before scrolling below to the list of my top recommendations, here is a little pro tip. While platforms like Squarespace and Wix allow you to purchase a domain through them so you can use their website builders, 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 off their platform. For Squarespace, this process can take up to several days and some platforms restrict you from doing this all together. Instead, consider purchasing your domain from one of my recommendations below. These domain 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 domains.

  1. Namecheap - Get a .com for only $0.98
  2. Hostgator
  3. GoDaddy

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.

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