For the past 16 years, I have owned the domain name of nathanhall.ca. I first got it so I could have a custom email address, but since then I have used it for so much more than that. I have used it to create custom URL redirects. Basically, I am using it to create a custom URL address that takes the place of a really long web address. For example, if I want to share an online document from Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, I end up with a super long web address that nobody in their right mind would ever type out.Lately, I have started using the domain name of nathanghall.ca since it matches up better with everything else I am using (Twitter, WordPress, etc.).
You might be thinking, “Just use a URL shortener, Nathan” and you would be correct. That is a fine answer. But I wanted something a little more custom. Again, I know, some of these URL shorteners offer the ability to put in a custom word in the name, but I am looking for something even more personal. Here are some examples (I didn’t put in the original link because it was so long it was creating problems with my blog design):
From Bit.ly – bit.ly/366hnGZ
From Bit.ly (customized) – bit.ly/actorlessonplan
Using my domain name – actor.nathanghall.ca
As you can see, the URL shortener, Bitly, works fine. I know a lot of people who use Bitly or something like it with their classes and presentation. I even use it from time to time. The thing is that I like to use my own domain name when I am giving a presentation, putting something together for sharing, or simply something I want to easily remember. It looks good and all I have to remember is the first part. The custom URL in Bitly is limited in that the name must not have already been taken. With my domain name, I can create 10,000 custom subdomains (that is what you see above) and I am the only person I am competing with for names. I can also change where the URL redirects if I want to in the future. With Bitly and others, I can’t unless I pay for that option.
How much does this cost are you asking? Not as much as you would think. I use IONOS for my domain names and it costs about $15-20 per year to have my own custom URL. They often have a deal for the first year. For a bit more, you can also add a custom email address and even web hosting.