The motivation to start your own business may hit you suddenly, like lightning. It may burn inside of you for a time before you pounce on an opportunity. One thing that all small businesses have in common starting out is that each one starts with an idea.
And, for savvy startups, each idea has a domain name.
You were smart and planned ahead when you took the first steps to build your online presence. In addition to your primary domain name — which is like the street address for your website — you also made sure to invest in a few extras. You bought the commonly misspelled versions of your name, the geographic or non-geographic version, the slick industry-specific domain name ending, too. One way or the other you wound up with one website and five or six domains, maybe more.
So what do you do next?
Sure, simply owning these domains in some cases is insurance enough, a way to prevent other competitors from edging in on your online identity. But now those extra domains are just sitting there in your account, collecting dust. Why not make your purchases pull their weight and start paying you back? It’s time for you to set up some domain forwarding.
Domain forwarding basics
First, let’s cover the basics. Domain forwarding is a way of redirecting all traffic from one domain to another. It’s practical for a variety of uses and can be used in a variety of ways, but consider this specifically: if you have multiple domain names all pointing to your website, you have effectively expanded the size of your dragnet to grab extra traffic that might otherwise pass you by.
I can think of a few instances when I remembered someone’s domain name but not its specific domain extension. Was it .com, or did they say .org? If you only own one domain, and I go to the wrong one, you’ve just missed out on a potential customer. If you own the variant extensions to your domain and have them all forwarding to the same place, you can easily pick up those stragglers and get them back in line with the herd. Once they land correctly at your home page, your magnificently-crafted site will do the rest of the work for you in translating a viewer into a customer.
“Cool,” you might think, “but that sounds like it could be tricky to set up.” Heck no! GoDaddy and some other domain registrars make it easy (and free) to forward domains. Here’s a help article that shows you step-by-step how to make it happen. Seriously, you can do it in less than five minutes.
A few pointers
Wow, that was fast! I told you it would be easy. Before you dive into your account and start the forwarding party, here are a few tips:
- In this kind of situation, a “301 redirect” is recommended.
- Forwarding with Masking is a handy thing, but if you are directing youractualbusinessname.net to youractualbusinessname.com, it is not necessary.
With just a few shakes of a mouse, you have expanded your online presence and cast a larger net out into the world that will direct more people to help you share your passion. With the expanded amount online real estate being funneled to your live website, your traffic will increase organically and you will be able to reap the benefits of all those extra domains.
About the Author
Erik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.