Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

What's in the name? The story behind my domain

Matthias Ott runs a newsletter Own Your Web and in its second issue he wrote about the domains that people have chosen for their personal blogs. And like so often happens in the great interconnected blogosphere, other people started writing their commentary. Michelle Barker of css-irl.info wrote about her domain and the decision process that lead into that. After that, fLaMEd of flamedfury.com joined the discussion writing about their blog and the domain. And now I am here, talking about mine.

To kick off the discussion, Matthias asked a few related questions:

What is your website’s URL and why did you pick it? And are you happy with it or would you choose a different domain name today?

My website is my digital home in the Internet. There’s been quite a few before this but the past 5-6 years I’ve been very happy to grow this one. The domain I chose for this one is hamatti.org. I’m “Hamatti” in many places around the web and the nickname backdates 20 years. When I was in 8th grade, I picked up theatre studies as my optional courses and during one of our classes, a classmate had to write my name on a chalkboard but felt Juha-Matti was too long so he wrote down Hamatti. And I took that immediately as my own and for a good 15+ years, that’s what I was known for amongst my friends for a long time.

I am generally happy with my domain and given I’ve been known for so long as Hamatti around the web, it would feel silly to switch to something else and start rebuilding that familiarity. I did buy https://juhis.dev when it become available but right now it’s just a simplified landing page that links to this site. I could do a full redirect but I don’t want to split the links in the web so I’d have to maintain both of them until the end.

But I have been switching my nickname from Hamatti to Juhis in most of my circles for the past decade or so, so it would make sense at some point. Or maybe I’ll come up with something else to do with that secondary domain in the near future. Because are we even web developers if we don’t own dozens of domains that are waiting for the right time?

Tying the domain to the “real” person or not?

My blog itself doesn’t really have a name. It’s just a blog on my personal website. During the Blaugust blogging month I ended up into many discussions with people whose blogs had distinct names, often more reflective of its contents than its author.

I like Michelle’s pondering between a personal vs business sounding domain:

“CSS IRL” also sounds more like a business than a personal name, which can be a good and bad thing. On the one hand, sounding like a business probably does contribute to the steady and increasing flow of traffic I get, and people seem to find it fairly memorable. On the other hand, I get a lot of email spam, mainly from marketing companies wanting to pay me to let them publish (probably AI generated) content on my site!

fLaMEd writes about the same thing from a different point of view:

I, on the other hand, prefer to keep my online and work life separate. My website has no bearing on my career, and I have no need to use it for self-promotion. I’m content with my unconventional domain name and have no intention of switching to a more conventional, real-name URL.

I’m somewhere in the middle but heavily leaning towards the person side. While hamatti.org is not exactly my real name, it is very much personal and tied to my person and it has had a huge impact on my career and life. And I’m not exactly hiding who is the real person behind all of this. It comes with ups and downs but I do enjoy when people mention in discussions that they read my blog and we can discuss about the topics.

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