By Aliza Earnshaw on February 1, 2011
Capture people where they're looking for you
You've built an easy-to-navigate website. You've got great, informative content, complete with the keywords that matter for your business. What more can you do to direct the right visitors to your website?
One strategy that can make sense is acquiring one or more domain names related to the domain where your site lives, and then redirecting those domains to your website. This can help you capture visitors who:
- Mistype your site's name
- Search for your site or others like it with a specific term
- Can't remember the exact name of your site, but can remember a closely associated term
You can check whether any domains ending in .com, .net or .edu redirect to your website with the AboutUs Redirectory. Go to the page about your site - for example, www.AboutUs.org/MyWebsite.com - and look for the Redirectory tab in the left-side navigation menu. Click on that tab to see domains that redirect to your site's home page, and to other pages within your site.
Below are a few types of domain redirects that can make sense for a business.
Some domain names are really easy to mistype. That's not always a problem for someone using Google, which offers suggestions for alternative spellings for mistyped search terms.
But lots of people type the domain name they're looking for into their browser's navigation bar, bypassing search engines altogether. And don't forget that while Google is the search giant, one in three searches is made on other search engines, which may not be as successful at "guessing" the search term someone actually wanted.
That's why it can make sense to buy domain names that represent common mistypes of your website's domain name, and redirect them to your site. Doing this can help you capture the visitors who not find you otherwise.
A few examples:
- Amozon.com redirects to Amazon.com.
- Ezappos.com and Azappos.com both redirect to Zappos.com.
- TimeMagain.com and TimeMagazin.com both redirect to Time.com.
Your Website Name with a Different Top Level Domain
Most people assume that all website names end with .com - the most common top level domain - so that's what they type when they're looking for a website. Webmasters know this, so they'll often make sure their company or organization purchases the .com version of the domain name, and then redirect it to the correct website name.
If your website's domain name doesn't end with .com, you might want to buy and redirect the .com version of it, as well as the .net, .org, .biz and several other versions of your site's name.
You may not have been able to buy the .com version of your desired domain name, which is why you now own MyWebsite.biz or MyWebsite.net instead of MyWebsite.com. That's fine - just get the other versions and be on the lookout for when the .com version expires, so you can grab it. You can use a service like SnapNames to make sure you don't miss out on a domain name you want.
Variants of Your Domain Name
People often remember the name of a site they want to check out - sort of. To help these people get to your site, it's a good idea to purchase each variant of your domain name that someone might think really is your site's domain name.
You can redirect these variant domains to your home page or to a page within your site.
- DefianceBikes.com redirects to DefianceBicycles.com.
- Both NYT.com and NewYorkTimes.com redirect to NYTimes.com. In fact, 37 different domains redirect to NYTimes.com.
- FlyVirgin.com redirects to http://www.virgin.com/gateways/virginairlines, a page on Virgin.com where the company links to its four regional airlines.
- BurgerKing.com redirects to BK.com, the site for the famous fast-food chain. Short domain names were all the rage for many years after the World Wide Web became popular, so it's possible that Burger King chose BK.com on purpose. It's also possible the company was not able to acquire BurgerKing.com when it first tried, and finally got the name long after BK.com was well established as the company's site.
Product Name Domains
People often search for a product by typing its name into the browser bar, expecting to reach the right website. If you have a flagship product, you'll want to own it and redirect it to the part of your site where you explain or sell that product.
- AirJordan.com redirects to http://www.nike.com/jumpman23, a page on Nike.com that's all about Jordan brand shoes and apparel.
- IPod.com redirects to http://www.apple.com/ipod/?cid=oas-us-domains-ipod.com, a page that's all about different models of Apple's iPod.
- Corvette.com redirects to http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette-family, a page about Corvettes.
Advertising Slogan Domains
You definitely want to own the domain name of any slogan that matters to you - otherwise you can end up with your precious slogan on a site you don't want to be associated with. Some companies redirect these domains, while others use them for special purposes.
- JustDoIt.com redirects to http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nike/language_select/, a page with links to Nike sites in various languages. (You probably know that "Just Do It" is the famous slogan for Nike Inc., maker of athletic shoes and other gear.
- HaveItYourWay.com takes you to the charitable foundation of Burger King, a fast-food chain.
Changing Your Company Name
Companies sometimes change the name they want to be known by after a change in their business model. After an acquisition, the new owner of a company will want to make sure its customers can still find the products they like.
- AricoFoods.com, the site of a company making gluten-free snacks, redirects to CrispRoot.com. The company's product line has been winnowed down to cassava-root chips.
- WashingtonMutual.com redirects to https://www.chase.com/wamuwelcome3, a page at Chase.com, the site of the bank that acquired Washington Mutual.
- Timberline.com redirects to http://www.sagecre.com, a special product site run by Sage Software, the company that acquired Timberline Software.
Want to see which domains redirect to your competitor's website? Check it out in the Redirectory section of the AboutUs Home Page Analysis.