A Domain by Any Other Name… 3 Steps to Securing Type-in Traffic
I need you to do me a favor, right now, type out the URLs to your five favorite websites. Now let me ask you something, did you make any typo’s? Did you have to backspace a couple of times to correct something? I realize the request was a bit off the wall but if you’re like most people, every now and then you’ll make a typo. Whether you visit the site 100 times a day or you were just told the URL by a friend, the point is, it happens.
So what does that mean to us as bloggers? I’m glad you asked. It means that every time someone tries to type in your domain name there’s a chance they won’t ever make it to your site. Whether it’s putting an extra letter in, or leaving one out, or they didn’t quite remember the URL, there’s a chance that visitor destined for your site could end up somewhere completely different. What’s worse, once your site becomes popular, you’ll begin to attract a whole host of people that will try to steal that traffic away from you. Luckily, the savvy blogger can help many of those would-be visitors find the right site in 3 fairly easy steps.
Register Other Extensions
As we all know the .com domain is by far the most common. However, people do use others as well. It’s important to register the most popular alternative extensions for any site you plan on putting a lot of time into. For example, if you type in http://bloggingexperiment.net, you’ll quickly find yourself right back here. The same goes for .us, .info, and .biz. Now granted, I already owned the most popular extension in the .com but it’s always a good idea to spend the extra few bucks to secure the others. Problogger.net is a GREAT example of this. Obviously Darren’s site is the reason we all know the domain name but it’s actually a pretty good name. Imagine if years ago the owner of Problogger.com had also purchased Problogger.net as well? Granted, the domain ended up in Darren’s possession eventually, but there’s really no reason not to secure the other extensions for your domain.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic, if you’re starting a new blog, always, always, ALWAYS pick a .com domain name. If it’s not available, either buy it or go with something else. The last thing you want to be doing is driving traffic to another site (as Problogger.net did for years).
Register Common Typos
Just like the previous tip, this is one more way to make sure you get as much of your type in traffic as possible. Whether your domain name is easy to spell and only one word, or you’ve got 57 syllables in the name, people are going to type it out wrong from time to time. The more misspelled, typo’ed (is that even a word?), jacked up variations of your domain you can have, the better. Obviously there are endless ways people can screw up while typing and you can’t go around registering every single permutation. However, a good method I’ve used is to ask a few to type the url a few times without using the backspace to correct their mistakes. If you notice a couple people making the same mistake or notice someone making the same mistake several times, you might consider registering that domain. For example, I’ve typed one too many g’s several times when trying to navigate to my site so I’m now the proud owner of blogggingexperiment.com. Whether I just have a sticky g key or other people have made the same mistake, I don’t know but now I don’t even have to worry about it.
Register Homonyms and Similar Phrases
For whatever reason when I first started this blog, I found myself typing in bloggingexperience.com a lot. I guess it’s because of the similarity in the letters and my hands just thought they recognized the pattern or something but it was really obnoxious. So, I registered bloggingexperience.com and viola, no more problem. This comes in particularly handy if you have a domain that includes a word that can be spelled two different ways (read vs. red, plane vs. plain, and all those other tricky homonyms we were taught back in grade school). I’ve discovered most of these when talking about a site to someone. You tell them the domain name, they tell you later they couldn’t find it, and sure enough, they had typed in the wrong form of bating.
So there you have it, 3 easy steps to making sure you get the most out of your domain name and securing it against domain squatters and the like. It will cost you a few bucks but if you plan on being successful, it’s MUCH better to take care of this issue now than try and go back to it later.