I often encourage people to buy one domain name and redirect (or forward) it to another one. It’s an inexpensive way to make it easier for people to find a particular web site, or even a specific web page. I’ll describe how they work and why you’d want to use one.
Domain forwarding (domain redirection) lets you automatically send your domain’s visitors to a different web site. Forwarding is a slick trick when you have a web site built elsewhere and you want to give people an easy-to-remember domain name to reach it.
Here’s an example, one I’ve done.
I write a column for the Columbia Daily Tribune, and it’s archived online on their web site at http://www.columbiatribune.com/staff/diana-ratliff/. But that’s rather long and hard to remember – I wanted an easier way to tell people where to read it.
So I bought the domain name WebWiseColumn.com and set up a redirect.
Now, when people type http://www.webwisecolumn.com/ in their browsers, they’ll see http://www.columbiatribune.com/staff/diana-ratliff/
It’s like giving your site a nickname, one that’s easier to remember or to spell than the REAL domain name.
(If you want, you can hide that you’re doing this by enabling “Masking” – which prevents visitors from seeing your domain forwarding by keeping your domain name in the Web browser’s address bar.)
So why would you set up domain forwarding?
- Let’s say you have a listing at one of the local business directories like EverythingMidMo.com. Rather than telling people “Well, to find my site, type in everythingmidmo.com, then click on “Beauty and Fitness”, then click on “Beauty Salons”, then scroll over to page 5 and it’s there, click on it…” – wouldn’t it be easier to say “Find my business at MyBeautySalon.com”?
- Suppose you sell products or services online as an affiliate – you get a commission if you refer someone to another website and they make a purchase. Usually, you get an AFFILIATE LINK when you join an affiliate program – and the link is usually quite long and full of odd characters. You might buy a domain name and redirect it to your affiliate link. I do this for business card printers – for example, if you type in FindBusinessCards.com, you actually wind up at PrintsMadeEasy.com – and I’ll get a commission if you buy business cards there. (Go ahead, they’re great cards!)
- Maybe you just want a domain name and don’t want to actually develop it yet. Say you want to buy “yourname.com” in case you ever want to use it. Or maybe you want to buy some great domain name that’s associated with your industry, just so your competitors don’t get it. You can buy that domain name and redirect it to an existing site.
It’s important to remember that what counts with the search engines is the domain name the files are actually ON. I’ll discuss that in a future blog post!