You are probably aware of why it is important to have additional domains for your business, regardless of the industry you compete in- be it fashion, property, FMCG, consultancy, web, telecoms, or technology services. Those extra domains give your website flexibility, and can protect your brand online. Furthermore, they drive potential customers to your website, which is the whole idea. In this article we will learn about domain forwarding.
But if you get some relevant domain names and don’t maximise their full potential, they can’t make the positive impact you want for your business. To do this, you must forward those secondary domains to your main website address.
What is domain forwarding?
Let’s assume the domain that anchors your main website address is yourbrandname.com. You are a photographer in Leeds, so you have also registered yourbrandname.photography and yourbrandname.leeds.
If a prospective customer types yourbrandname.photography or yourbrandname.leeds into the address bar, and you have set up those additional domains to forward to your main website address, the customer will immediately be redirected to your web address at yourbrandname.com.
It is actually easy to set up, too. Most cheap domain hosting providers will allow you to organise your secondary domains and link them to your primary website.
Forward with masking
Another way to forward your secondary domains to your primary website is by ‘masking’. When your customers get to your primary site via a different domain, they are automatically forwarded to your website’s real domain. However, the easy-to-remember domain is still visible in their address bar. (Note: This feature may be unavailable for some sites with SSL certificates.) You can find out more about domain masking techniques online. So if you have over seven domains, forwarding them to your primary website is easy. But what would anybody be doing with seven domains? Your guess is as good as mine.
Forwarding multiple domains in practice
Not long ago, I had this discussion with a family friend of mine. He is a private GP who purchased the domain name with the COMPLETE name of his practice. I inquired how many of his patients discovered his website by using the name of his practice or by using his real name. I told him the truth: even I couldn’t recall the name of his establishment! If I didn’t bookmark the webpage, I would never be able to remember it whenever I needed to.
He could have gained more by acquiring a shorter domain name for his practice and by investing in the domain names of every physician under his practice so they can be used separately. For instance, drjamesingram.com and familygpofleeds could redirect to familgeneralpracticionerwestyorkshire.com. I also informed him about getting .org, .net etc. to lock down his business name. It is the smart thing to do.
I almost had a similar discussion with my gym instructor. She has changed gym clubs multiple times since we first met- what I remember about her is her name. Fortunately, she uses her name as a domain and sends it to each new club she registers, so I don’t have to worry about remembering where she works! (With the added benefit of never having to update email addresses).
Learn more:- How To Secure Your Site with SSL Certificates
Using Masked domains
Why mask your domain? What use is this technique?
My gym instructor’s club has a lengthy URL: clubname.com/severalcharacters/hername. She redirects her shorter domains with masking to HER page on the club website because her potential customers don’t need to visit the original URL.
She actually has about eight domains she forwards with masking to her club webpage. Apparently some people call her “Sandra”, while others call her “Sandy”. She also acquires domains with the addresses of each club and redirects each domain to her page on the clubsite. Very savvy.
The importance of 301 redirect: In simple definition, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. Most people call it an online “change of address form”. If someone is unaware of your new web address, you will want to ensure all traffic from the previous address is forwarded to this new address.
For instance, if your new website is www.supertechsite.com and you want change it to www.reallysupertechsite.com, you would use a 301 redirect from the old URL to the current one. So whoever types in your previous URL (or clicks a bookmark link), will automatically be directed to your new website.
You can tell from our discussion so far, what significance this holds for marketers and business owners. Here are two ways your 301 redirect helps you be discovered by promising leads and customers;
1. Initiate a 301 redirect between the http:// and http://www forms of your web domain
This is something interesting; did you know http://supertechsite.com and http://www.supertechsite.com are seen as two different websites? Yes, even though we may consider them as same URL, they are actually different and could theoretically direct you to different content.
Tip: Ensure you have a 301 redirect between your http:// and the http://www forms of your website. Otherwise all inbound links pointing to http://www.supertechsite.com won’t have authority over http://supertechsite.com and vice versa.
2. Don’t change to a new domain without first initiating a 301 redirect!
Considering rebranding? Refurbishing your identity? Getting a website makeover? Maybe you are also thinking about moving your web domain. It is a reasonable decision; however, make sure you go about it the correct way. Otherwise, it could backfire and send the web authority of your previous domain down the drain.
Tip: Don’t begin from scratch when setting up a fresh domain. Initiate a 301 redirect from your former URL to the new one so the inbound links to your previous domain will transfer the same authority to the current one. Nice and easy!
Whatever you do, always remember to acquire the common spelling mistakes associated with your domain and forward them to your website. If I had a pound for every time someone typed Geoffrey instead of Jeffery I would be rich!
If an additional domain drove just one more person to your website a year, it would be worth every amount spent. Say you have 9 domains driving 9 additional customers to your site weekly? You don’t need to be a mathematician to know those domains are funding themselves.