For UGC creators, a portfolio is a non-negotiable. It’s the best tool you’ve got in your arsenal to show brands exactly what you can do, rather than just telling them how you can do it. Luckily, tools like Canva have made creating a unique and professional online identity easy.
With a little bit of magic (and the help of fourteen YouTube tutorials) you can have a beautiful portfolio with zero coding knowledge. The only downfall? When using a generic Canva link, you’ll end up with a link that looks something like yourUGChandle.canva.com.
It’s not offensive, but it’s not ideal. Thankfully, adding a custom domain to your UGC portfolio is even easier than creating it. A custom domain not only lends a sense of professionalism but also provides a memorable and personalized web address that reinforces your personal brand. Here’s how.
Why Do I Need A Custom Domain?
Having a custom domain for your UGC portfolio offers numerous advantages that can significantly impact your presence and professional reputation.
〰️ Professionalism: A custom domain establishes a professional image, making it easier for potential clients, collaborators, and employers to remember and find you amidst the vast sea of online content.
〰️ Credibility and Trust: When your portfolio is hosted on a custom domain, it instills confidence in your audience. A personalized web address shows that you are committed to your craft and serious about your online presence, increasing trust in your work and expertise.
〰️ Custom Email: With a custom domain, you can create custom email addresses, such as [email protected], further reinforcing your brand and professionalism in all communication with clients.
〰️ Easy Sharing: A short, memorable domain is easy to share verbally, on business cards, or through word-of-mouth. It simplifies promotion and ensures that people can easily access your portfolio without any confusion.
How To Register A Domain
This is the easiest part.
Choose a domain name: When selecting a domain, don’t overthink. Make it short, snappy and without hyphens or underlines. If your name was Marissa Kelly, you might go for UGCmarissa.com, or MKUGC.com. If you have aspirations of expanding your business wider in the future, opt for MKcreative or something similar.
Check for domain availability: The domain name system (DNS) helps locate websites when users enter a URL in their browsers. You can quickly check domain availability using free tools provided by reputable registrars like Shopify, Google Domains, GoDaddy, and more. If your desired domain is unavailable, these tools may suggest similar available options. Which brings us on to…
Choose a domain name registrar: A domain registrar reserves and registers domain names on your behalf. Stick to well-known providers, such as Google, GoDaddy or NameCheap. Domain prices are usually annual and it’ll vary based on the extension and domain name. Premium domains may cost more. Don’t hold me to it, but you’re going to be around $20 for the entire year.
- Google Domains: Starting at $7, WHOIS privacy protection is free.
- GoDaddy: Starting at $20, WHOIS privacy protection is free.
- IONOS: Starting at $1, WHOIS privacy protection is free.
- Bluehost: Starting at $2.99, WHOIS privacy protection costs $15/year.
- Namecheap: Starting at $6, WHOIS privacy protection is free.
Once you’ve chosen a registrar and a domain name, proceed with purchasing your domain. Your chosen provider will reserve and register it on your behalf.
How To Connect the Domain to Your UGC Portfolio
Now, how can you get started with connecting your pre-existing domain name to a Canva website?
To begin, select a template that suits your needs, and once you finish designing it, click “Share“ in the top right corner.
Your design will be locked during the publishing process.
Next, you’ll have three options: using the free Canva domain, purchasing a new domain via Canva, or using your pre-existing domain.
If you have already registered your custom domain, choose “Use My Existing Domain” and continue. You’ll be prompted to add your domain name, and after completing this step, click “Connect Domain.”
Canva will guide you through the process, and once completed, your website will be published.
Alternatively, you can connect the domain manually by accessing your domain’s DNS settings and adding the necessary values provided by Canva. While this method is feasible, it might take up to 48 hours for the connection to be completed.
Do I Need To Have a Custom Domain?
Short answer, no. But the right answer is yes, you should have a custom domain if you’re looking to build a sustainable business.
Coaches will tell you that brands won’t care where your content examples are hosted as long as they can view them, but I disagree. This only works when your content is heads and tails above the rest of the creators. As more UGC creators educate themselves on direct response marketing principles and up their game, they level the playing field, and your DIY set-up adds friction on the brand side. Why would a brand go with the creator with a homemade portfolio and great content when they could go with the creator with a professional looking website and great content?
Using a custom domain for your Canva website adds professionalism and personalization to your online presence. Pay the $20, get a domain, and you’ll soon have a beautiful and fully functional website, not just a presentation.