I have purchased a lot of domain names for many different reasons. Sometimes domain name is for a business purchase, such as an ecommerce site. I have purchased many domain names for simple personal reasons, and occasionally purchase was just to keep someone else from obtaining name and abusing it.
Personal Domain Names
There are many reasons to get a personal domain name. Sometimes it's vanity, sometimes it's a hobby and occasionally purpose is more serious and purposeful. No matter what reason, it's important to get just right domain name to portray exactly desired image. Remember, domain name is one of first things seen by your visitors, and it tells a lot about you.
Many people like to purchase their name as a .COM address. My friend James Huggins (http://www.jameshuggins.com) has done this, as have my wife (http://www.claudialowe.com) and myself (http://www.richard-lowe.com). This is a a fantastic way to get people who know you (or know of you) to your site. They simply know your name.
If .COM version is not available, you can check for other domains: .NET, .INFO, .BIZ, .ORG, .US (for US citizens) or .WS. There are also many country codes available (.TO for Tonga, for example), and occasionally these are available to anyone without restriction. Other times, they are only to citizens of those countries.
In my case, I tried to get .COM version of my name, but some scum domain name scavenger had purchased it. He would happily sell it to me, he said, for small sum of $350. Yeah, right. I went ahead and purchased hyphenated version instead.
A new option which is pretty cool is .NAME domain name. These are intended for names only, in format first.last.name or last.first.name. I went ahead and purchased names of myself (http://richard.lowe.name) and my wife (http://claudia.lowe.name). This makes it very easy to find our personal web sites.
You can also purchase domain names which describe your interests or hobbies. For example, we purchased http://www.lowefamilychristmas.com to describe our Christmas experiences, and http://www.claudiasrecipes.com to show off Claudia's recipe collection.
I had an idea last year to get something special for my wife on our anniversary (in addition to jewelry, of course - I am not stupid). I decided to purchase some domain names for her - http://www.iloveclaudia.com and .NET, and .ORG versions as well. I loaded site with other pages and things that had been made for her over years. A very unique present.
So you've been working hard on your web site making it perfect. You've surveyed your market, analyzed their requirements, designed and coded a killer site, and now it's time to cut it loose on world. It's time to do some promotion. After all, it does not matter how good a site is if no one visits.
An important part of your promotional plan should be purchase of domain names. You will need at least one, as it's considered extremely unprofessional for a business to have a presence on internet without one. And with domain names available for $8.95 a year, lack of one cannot be justified financially.