Reserving a great username is increasingly important as social media continues to affect our lives both in a personal and business context. If you would like to build an online platform, it’s important to have a consistent brand across every online channel that you occupy. In an ideal world, your real name is available for any website that requires a username. However, if you don’t have a unique real name, reserving it as your username is becoming harder to do as more people join social networks. When deciding what term or phrase to use to describe yourself, ask yourself these questions.
1. When I say it, can people spell it?
Phonetics are grossly underrated. While it may seem cool or cute to use a made up word or phrase for your username, it can be a barrier to sharing it easily. That is, unless, it is spelled exactly how it sounds. Imagine yourself at a networking event in a crowded room. A gentlemen next to you pulls out his phone and asks for your username. Will he know what to type in to his phone when you speak it out loud? If not, then don’t use it. It’s that simple.
2. What is the longevity of this username?
You will likely change jobs, hobbies, location, clothes – you get the idea. The username you select should last forever. This is why using your real name is typically the best option. However, as I stated previously, your real name may not always be available. Many people use their first or last name paired with another simple yet descriptive word in these situations. For instance, my username on Twitter, “socialcade”, will always be relevant. Though it is based on my career, it also describes the context in which I’m using it. Be as generic as possible while also using something that is a reflection of who you are.
3. Is this username widely available?
Once you select the perfect username, check if it is available on the sites you plan to use. Though it sounds like a big hassle, namechk makes this process incredibly simple. Visit their website and type your username in the box at the top. It will show you where the username is available on up to 159 different sites. If it is not available on the sites you plan to use, it’s time to go back to step one and start the process over again.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Before reserving your username, try to avoid these common mistakes:
If you must abbreviate your name or business name, choose something clean and simple. When your name includes very long or multiple words, do not create a nonsensical acronym out of it. It will confuse people more than if you extract one or two words and only use those.
Many sites suggest usernames based on your birthday or by applying random numbers. Unless it is critical, do not use numbers. Numbers in usernames suggest that you or your business is not unique. It also makes a username harder to remember.
Never use underscores. Refer back to question number one. If you tell someone your username and have to explain where the underscores go, it’s too complicated.
Keep It Simple
Always keep your username simple. It’s better for your brand. The easier you make it for people to find you, the more likely they will.