If the Royal Mail suddenly decided to change the way postal addresses worked, we'd all be a bit miffed, to say the least. Our mail would go missing, visitors wouldn't be able to find your house and your customers would get lost if they were trying to find your business. But, we seem to happily accept that exact same scenario when we create a website with a third-party provider.
When you send me an e-mail, it will be to the same address I've used for the last ten years. I will be reading it using a different e-mail programme than I did then, but the address has never changed. That's because I use my own domain name, and I manage it myself.
I own KevinBeynon.com, it's registered to me. I control it and manage the e-mail accounts related to it. I've set it to automatically forward any e-mail that arrives on to the e-mail service I happen to be using. For the last few years I've been using G-Mail. As far as anyone else is concerned, it doesn't matter what e-mail service I use, my address has always been the same.
When it comes to web pages about you or your company, it's important to ensure you are the one in control. Sites that provide free, public profiles, CV pages or About Me sites are all well and good, but you are never truly in control. They can and will change the way they work or they may even go out of business and take your site with them.
When I recently updated KevinBeynon.com, I connected it to all the other profiles I had on the internet. Before long my site started appearing in the number one spot when searching for my name on Google. That's pretty handy, eh? All down to the fact that I'm the one managing my own property on the internet.
A recent article by Gina Trapani makes the point extremely well and concisely when it comes to "nameplate sites".
To ensure your business or personal site is completely under your control, manage your own domain name.