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How An Extra Domain Name Can Work Wonders

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Original content? Check. Keywords? Check. Links? That's a check too. You've done everything you can think of to increase traffic to your website, but there may be one option that you overlooked: adding an extra domain name to your site. Taking advantage of this simple trick can increase the number of visitors to your site, sometimes dramatically.

Most people use the name of their business when they register a domain name for their site. This looks more professional than some random words thrown together, and it's easier for visitors to remember the address so they can return later. The problem is that potential visitors and customers who don't already know that the website exists will have a hard time finding it in the first place.

A common strategy for finding new sites is typing in keywords. They typically list a certain kind of product or service. If something local is desired, the name of a city or region is often included. If your website has a domain name that includes these words, it will be much easier for your site to be found using a search engine like Google. You will also get direct traffic from anyone who types the exact keywords you chose (with a .com at the end, of course) just to see if the address works. But it's rare that your business name matches the keywords you want, and you don't want the web address on your business cards to look unprofessional. So what can you do about it?

This is one of those cases where you can have it both ways. Every standard web address is really just a convenient way to connect a user to a site that's located at a hidden numerical address. There's no technical reason why different domain names can't point to the same location. Take advantage of it! The small amount of money the additional domain name will cost is a bargain for the extra traffic you can get.

After you register the new domain name, there are three main ways to get it to work with your existing website.

Domain name forwarding: Just like you can have your calls forwarded to another phone, a domain name can forward to another website. Domain name forwarding is an option many domain name registrars provide, sometimes for free. It can also be done at the website level through your web hosting provider. When someone types in a domain name that's set up for forwarding, the address actually gets replaced on screen and the other domain automatically loads. This can initially confuse some visitors, but it's an easy way to redirect traffic to a main website. You'll get extra type in traffic and most likely a bump in search engine results, assuming you get some other sites to link to this alternate domain name.

Domain name masking: This option is basically forwarding the domain while hiding that fact from the user. The original address that was typed into the browser will stay there and never show the address it was forwarded to, even when the visitor switches to other pages on the site. Bookmarks won't work properly on subpages when the domain name is masked, and most search engines get confused and don't rank the site as high in the results as it otherwise would have. Unless you have a strong need to try to hide the destination address from your visitors, you won't want to pick this option.

Domain name aliasing: A domain name alias, sometimes called a domain name pointer, simply tells the web server that your site is hosted on to treat both domain names as equally valid for your site. Whichever one is typed in will appear on the screen, and when the visitor goes to subpages the address will update properly, which means bookmarks will work normally. It's like having two sites with the same information but without the hassle. Search engines think that finding keywords in a domain name means the site is much more relevant than when the words are just found on the text of the page, so your rankings for those search terms should automatically increase. You will still need to make sure some other sites link to the new domain address so the search engine can find it in the first place, of course, but once you do you should start getting more hits to your site.

While there are pros and cons to each option, domain name aliasing is usually the best choice. If your web hosting company doesn't mention it as an option, be sure to ask about it. It's pretty easy to set up, so the cost should be quite reasonable too. Adding an extra domain name will soon have you ticking off a new box on your list: Increased traffic? Check.



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