One of my long-time and oft-stated problems with all of the so-called social networks is the brand and attention dilution that occurs when content producers cast their content across numerous networks, sending readers on a wild goose chase as they try to keep up with everything. While I’ve done a lot better than most when it comes to keeping my content centered around my web site (Newsome.Org), I too have been lured into spreading myself too thin, network-wise.
I’m going to fix that. I am in the process of consolidating most of my content and much of my applications. When all is said and done, I will be a power user of this blog and a small number of ancillary networks (maybe as few as two: Twitter and Facebook). Additionally, I intend to shrink my cloud toolbox down to a manageable size. More on that later.
Today I want to take the first step, which is to consolidate our music recommendation blog, which was previously hosted at Tumblr, into Newsome.Org. Specifically, I want that content to be included here- under the Music category. But I want to continue to use the cool and valuable top level domain (GoodSongs.Com) that I have been using for song recommendations.
Here’s how that can be done.
What You’ll Need
To have this need and to make this work, you’ll need a blog platform that includes categories, tags or some other naming convention that has a URL. I use WordPress, and I have a Music category (see the menu at the top of the page). The URL for that category is http://www.newsome.org/category/music.
You’ll also need a domain (or a sub-domain) separate from the one that you use for your blog, that you want to point to the category. As noted above, I am going to cause GoodSongs.Com, which previously pointed to a custom domain at Tumblr, to be redirected to my Music category here.
Use a Redirect
One way to redirect a domain to a blog category is through URL redirection or a refresh meta tag. A redirection makes sense if you have a long-standing or popular site that you want to move, so you can preserve links and Google juice. If you, like me, just want to use your domain as an alternate address for a blog category- or if you don’t have the technical chops or server access to do a redirection, web forwarding might be your solution.
Configure Web Forwarding
I use Network Solutions as my primary domain registrar. Here’s how you configure your domain for web forwarding via Network Solutions. The process is probably similar at other registrars, but you may need to explore the configuration dashboard and maybe the help files to find the right pages and settings.
From your primary Dashboard, select the Web Forwarding option. At Network Solutions, it’s under the Domain Names tab at the top of the page.
From the resulting page, select the domain you want to forward, then click on “Continue with Web Forwarding.”
On the next screen, fill in the URL of the category in the blank. Web masking won’t work if your URL is a directory or database, but that’s OK. The purpose is to get the readers to the new location at the blog category page. You can brand the forwarded domain from within the category.
It Might Cost a Little
I don’t know what other registrars charge for web forwarding. Network Solutions charges $12.00 a year. A buck a month doesn’t seem too bad for a little consolidation. Particularly consolidation that can be accomplished (or changed) via a few clicks on a web page. Simple is good.
Don’t Forget to Feed Your Feed
If you have an RSS feed at the domain you are forwarding to the blog category, don’t forget to update the feed once you make this change.
In my case, I already had an RSS feed for GoodSongs.Com, which I publish via Feedburner. My WordPress theme creates a feed for each category, so all I had to do was change my feed location for GoodSongs.Com to the category feed.
From the main Feedburner dashboard for the applicable feed, select Edit Feed Details.
Then replace the current “Original Feed” with your new one.
Once you’ve taken those simple steps, your domain will be forwarded to the blog category you selected. Notice how GoodSongs.Com now points to the Music category here at Newsome.Org.
That’s step one in my consolidation and simplification process. Stay tuned for more.