We’ve talked about the many great reasons to grab some additional domains for your business, no matter what kind of industry you’re in — including creative, property, personal care, professional, web, and food and hospitality services. Those extra domains can give you flexibility and brand protection online. And they can drive more customers to your website, which is sort of a big deal.

But if you snag some relevant domain names and just let them languish in your account, they can’t do the work you need them to do for your business. It’s time to forward those secondary domains to your primary website address.

What is domain forwarding?

Let’s say the domain that anchors your primary website address is yourbusinessname.com. You’re a photographer in Brooklyn, so you’ve also registered yourbusinessname.photography and yourbusinessname.nyc.

If a potential customer types yourbusinessname.photography or yourbusinessname.nyc into the address bar, and you’ve set those secondary domains to forward to your primary website address, the customer will be automatically redirected to your website at yourbusinessname.com.

It’s really easy to do, too!  If you’re a GoDaddy customer with less than seven domains in your account, we have created a painless way to forward domains to the location of your choice. Read how Domain Forward article which will walk you through each step — you’ll be forwarding like a pro in no time at all!

Forwarding with masking

There is another option called forwarding with masking. When your customers use the non-primary domain to go to your website, they are automatically redirected to your website’s true domain — but they still see the easy-to-remember domain in the address bar. (Note: This option is not compatible with some sites that have SSL certificates.) These Domain Masking and manual forwarding instructions will also help you forward domains if you have more than seven domains. Yep, more than seven. But, why would anyone need that many domains?

Forwarding multiple domains, in practice

I had this conversation recently with a good friend of mine. She is a family doctor who bought the domain name with the FULL name of her practice. I asked her how many of her patients found her by the name of her practice or by using her actual name. I let her in on a little secret: even I couldn’t remember the name of her practice! If I didn’t have her website bookmarked, I would never remember where to go time after time.

She could have benefited by purchasing an additional, shorter domain name for the practice and by investing in the domain names of each of the physicians so they could be used individually. For example, drsallymonroe.com and familypracticeofna.com could forward to familypracticeofnorthernarizona.com. I also reminded her that having the .org, .co, etc. to lock down her brand just made common sense.

I had almost the same conversation with my real estate agent. He has changed companies three times since I’ve known him — the only thing I remember about him is his name. Luckily, he has his name as a domain and forwards it each new company he joins, so I never have to remember where he actually works! (With the added bonus of never having to change email addresses.)

Masking domains at work

Why would you want to use masking? My real estate friend’s website has a really long URL: companyname.com/alotofrandomcharacters/his name. He forwards his shorter domain names with masking to HIS page on their site because his customers don’t need to see the actual URL.

He actually has about nine domains he forwards with masking to his company page. Apparently some people know him as “Richard” and some as “Rick” and his family calls him “Ricky.” He also purchases domains with the addresses of properties he highlights and then forwards each domain to that property’s page on his site. Smart.

Bank on mistakes

Whatever you do, don’t forget to purchase the common misspelling of your domain and forward that to your site! If I had a dollar for every time someone typed Pheonix instead of Phoenix, I’d be rich!

If an extra domain drove only one additional person to your site a year, it would be worth every penny. What if you have 10 domains driving 10 additional people to your site every week? I’m not a math genius, but that sounds like the domains would pay for themselves.

Learn about the four types of SSL certificates available.

Wildcard SSL Certificate
Extended Validation SSL Certificate
SAN SSL Certificate
Organization Validation SSL Certificate


Also published on Medium.

Image by Ryan McGuire