If you're one of my loyal subscribers, you know that owning Nalie.ca goes far beyond the domain. I own me - all of me - the author, speaker, blogger and talk show host that I am, and all the exhilarating adventures that come with it. I own all the horrific experiences too. The tragedies that come crashing down when you least expect it (i.e. cancer). I own my scars, my flaws, my near-death experiences, and I don't let anyone dictate what I can and cannot achieve despite it all.
My story starts when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 at 24 years old, and again in 2017 when it spread to the lungs after being in remission for three years. It's been a tormenting yet fulfilling journey - one that can't be described in a few words.
Luckily, it's all documented on my blog, Nalie.ca, for you to read, watch and share. With just a few clicks, you'll learn all about me and my quest to turn negative situations into positive ones by creating movements to inspire and empower others to overcome life's most difficult challenges, all while I overcome my own.
As the years passed, my journey evolved, and so did my website! My site had to keep up with the many opportunities that organically arose. Opportunities to make a living by simply being my digital self (which many who know me confirm, is pretty true to who I am in real life).
Owning my .CA domain has unlocked so many doors for me and provided me with opportunities that I could never have imagined.
So, in the style that I am known for on my online talk show, The Nalie Show, let me break down the top 5 reasons why you should own your digital identity.
1. Survive the algorithm, for good!
If you're relying on social media to tell your story, you may have seen the many memes mocking Instagram's new algorithm. Although there are unfortunately many more serious problems in the world today, the decrease in engagement on Instagram has influencers up in arms.
As someone affected by this change, I must admit, it hurt my ego! However, whenever I feel that way, I try to reflect on my why. Why am I sharing my journey online in the first place? What was the purpose of creating my digital self? Was it for the number of likes and followers? Or is it to share my story in order to positively impact people?
These are the people we need to serve. However, the ever-changing social media algorithms make it difficult to be seen. This is why I recommend a website!
The chances that someone will read an Instagram caption you spent three hours writing (it's true!) or click on a picture you edited all night as they relentlessly and habitually scroll through their feed are slim. However, when you drive people to your website, you know that those who visit want to be there! They chose to be there, therefore the valuable content you worked so hard to create will be seen by those who matter most.
Even better, once you have them there it's easier to get them to opt-in to receive more content from you, via email newsletter, to further grow your relationship! The difference between having people actively consume and anticipate your content versus passively see it on social media is comparable to dropping a personal invitation in someone's mailbox versus stapling a poster on their local lamp post and hoping they read it as they walk by. Own your website, and beat the algorithm for good.
2. Connect and engage with your audience - beyond the double tap!
When you opt-in to Nalie.ca, you receive a weekly email newsletter from me. Using an email marketing service, I am able to personalize my emails using my subscriber's first name. I ensure that each email feels like I'm speaking to you, not my thousands of other subscribers, just you. They feel so personal that sometimes my readers, who aren't aware of automation platforms, often reply back saying, “Thanks for checking in Nalie. It's great to hear from you!” It's the most personal way to connect with your audience, who actually want to hear from you (or they wouldn't have opted-in in the first place).
When I started blogging, it was because I felt isolated. My blog was a way to connect with people from all around the world, but especially to find women that I could identify with and share my experience. Having a .CA domain, not only am I immediately associated with the Canadian values I am personally proud of, but it's a great way to connect with other fellow Canadians too.
3. Create the most efficient business card/portfolio
How many times have you printed 1000 business cards, to only waste 500 because your information and branding changed and you felt like it was outdated? Owning your own website gives you the freedom to update your bio, homepage and contact information as many times as you'd like.
My website is my business card and my portfolio. Whenever I receive media requests, I simply send them to my website where they can find everything they need. Include your bio, media kit, contact information, your work and anything else you wish to showcase in the way you wish to present it. This is your chance to get creative and stand out. I always say, actions speak louder than words, and if your brand is meant to be creative, why state it when you can show it instead?
Many choose to rely on social media platforms to showcase their brand. However, if your branding changes, are you really going to delete your Instagram grid and start fresh every time?
Leave it to your website to speak and pitch for you!
4. Make money, for you and nobody else.
If you're surviving off influencer marketing deals, or YouTube monetization and call yourself an entrepreneur, I hate to break your bubble, but you are not. Social media platforms are basically your bosses. They are your landlords, and you must abide to their rules. YouTube monetization policies are constantly changing, and YouTubers must constantly switch up their game to make the most of the tiny percent they get from retention rates, while the big boss makes billions.
When you have your own website, you have the option to sell your own products or services. You can then use social media to drive people to your site, not someone else's. On Nalie.ca, I have my online shop where I sell merch, my e-guide as well as my public speaking services. The opportunities are limitless!
Your website is truly the only digital identity you will own.
5. Be who you want to be.
This is not just a cheesy Pinterest quote. When you own your digital identity, you get to brand yourself the way you believe represents you best without anyone else's approval or having to follow other platform's template.
For example, the moment I gave myself the title of a speaker, I received dozens of speaking requests! We have the power to present ourselves to be the people we know we can be. You no longer need to spend years in business school to start your business. No need to be signed to a record label for your music to be heard. No need to audition to be a reporter or journalist, when you can conduct your own interviews and write about topics you genuinely care about.
Your website is the first step to manifesting the life you desire!
Coincidentally enough, I was asked to write this blog post as I was going through the process of updating my website so that it effectively tackles the five goals mentioned above, and I've never been more motivated!
What a time to be online! I believe us, Generation Y / Millennials have hacked life in the best way possible. We've found a way to be unapologetically ourselves. It's time we take back our pens (or our keyboards) and become the authors of our lives. If you haven't done it yet, I highly suggest you own your domain. The best thing you can invest in is yourself.
Don't forget, if you're looking for more help with your personal brand, visit cira.ca/digitalme.