Is Your Twitter User ID Part of Your Brand?

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I don’t know if this branding strategy makes sense to anyone but me but when I first reserved my Twitter name, I puzzled over how I could tie it into my brand. After all, 15 characters isn’t much. If my domain name (keepupwiththeweb) had been 1 less character, I could have chosen that as my Twitter name. Of course that wasn’t the case. So I reserved KEEPUPWEB as my Twitter name and decided to make the best of it.

Being the analytical person I am (and being prone to “what-if” scenarios), I started thinking what if someone tried to go to www.keepupweb.com. (It could happen.) I’m always guessing on what I expect a company’s domain name to be. (It’s a little like clicking on the “I’m Feeling Lucky box when I go to Google.com.)

I decided to go to my domain registrar (I use GoDaddy) and reserve the domain name keepupweb.com. I figured domain names are cheap. It may catch some traffic and it would prevent anyone else from reserving it. What’s one more domain name anyways? After reserving it, I went into my domain manager and set up a 301 redirect to permanently forward it to keepupwiththeweb.com. I then started using my Twitter user ID as my ID on every social network site I join.

It turns out that there’s another benefit to having keepuweb.com as a URL. Sometimes when I tweet, rather than using a URL shortener, I will direct people to http://keepupweb.com.  It’s really not much longer than a shortened URL and it’s part of my brand. Also, some people are intimidated by shortened urls because you don’t know where you’re going til you get there.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any stats from Google Analytics to tell me how many people are coming to my site through KeepUpWeb.com because there’s no easy way to track traffic from a forwarded domain. (Please tell me if you know an easy way to do this.) I’ve been told that there are some techie hoops that I could jump through to find out but I’m honestly just not that interested.

So, my question to you is have you (or anyone you know) reserved your twitter user ID as a domain name and forwarded it to your website? Do you think I’m wasting money or do you think it’s a good idea? Have you used 301 redirects for your website? As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to branding! I really appreciate the post and I’m rethinking twitter in a new light!

  2. I had one of my clients (a Florida law firm) do this very thing, and we set it up pretty much as you outline above. The jury is still out on whether it’s a good idea that will bear fruit, but I enjoyed finding someone else who thought of it. Thanks for a helpful article.

    1. Thanks for letting me know that someone else is doing this. I’ve received feedback from other bloggers who were going to implement this idea also. I wish it was easier to track the results. Sometimes, I find myself telling people the shorter URL just to make it easier too.

  3. Pingback: 3 Steps to Develop a Branding Strategy for Social Media
  4. Great post. An easy way to track traffic from a forwarded domain is to use HTML to redirect visitors from one page to another page. This works transparently, and will allow Google Analytics to collect data for your original domain name.

    Place the following HTML redirect code between the and tags of your HTML code.

    The above HTML redirect code will redirect your visitors to another web page instantly. The content=”0; may be changed to the number of seconds you want the browser to wait before redirecting.

    This does require you to set up a single html file on your original domain name, and for the stats, is well worth the minimal effort. 🙂

  5. Sherryl, aloha. My twitter id and blog are the same name so it is easy. That being said, my first blog was on blogspot so I have that set up as a redirect. The reason I didn’t take it down entirely is because it still had posts on it that were indexed on google. As Dino told me “you don’t want to lose that google juice.”

    Sherryl, I think the redirects are a good idea and maintain those other URLs. You have to admit it is pretty cheap insurance to make sure someone does not start a keepupweb that either “steals” your clients or makes you look less credible.

    Loved Rick’s points and the thought process he so clearly explains. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    1. Janet, That’s a great point about having insurance against other people reserving domain names that reflect your brand. I often reserve multiple versions of domain names including misspellings. I once listened to a presentation by a blogger who made a practice of reserving domain names of successful businesses and using them to catch traffic from website visitors who mistype the URL. He was bragging about the amount of income he “earned” this way.

  6. Sherryl,
    I have not realized that this kinds of situation could happen to me. Glad I was able to see this.
    Though I think the only thing that will affect your site with different keywords,domain name and social networking URLs are the SERP keywords used by people to find you in Google. I believe as long as you have keepupweb(site/Twitter) and keepupwiththeweb.com have good connections, your customers will be able to find their way here. 😀

      1. It’s a pretty clever idea. Since Twitter is one of the largest social networking sites now it would be easy to find your name there if not in your own site.

  7. Hi Faraz,
    For the cost of a domain name, I would do it again. I love having a domain name that I can tweet that I don’t need to shorten. There are ways to track it but it wouldn’t be worth the time and effort to implement it. Bottom-line is I don’t really need to know how much traffic comes from it. “KeepUpWeb” has become part of my overall brand.

    Thanks for dropping by. I enjoy your blog!

  8. I guess the only way to answer your question fully is to know:

    1. How much the new domain registration cost;
    2. How much traffic comes in via that domain; and
    3. Whether you feel that amount of traffic justifies the cost.

    If you can’t track traffic to the new domain, perhaps your question can’t be answered!

  9. well its a topic of debate and no one will convince each other because for me its for business use only and for you its to keep up with the trends. As far as i know not many of them able to generate traffic from twitter and many of them generate traffic from facebook only

  10. I need to brand my name as well as my blog name. Both strategies are good and it boils down to what your strategy is. On Facebook, I’m branding my name as well as “keepupweb” (on my FB fan page for my blog).

    I have my name reserved as a Twitter ID but that’s all I’ve done with it so far. (I’ve reserved it so that no one else can and it will be there once I’ve worked out a strategy for a website. built around my name) For now, I’m just using the domain name that I have reserved for my name as a placeholder and I redirect it to a page here.

    It’s no wonder this gets confusing! 🙂

  11. Sherryl:

    I think the shorter URL makes so much sense to match your twitter handle. The redirect makes it easy to do. I use the same rcberman on as many sites as possible. There are quite a few Rob Bermans and Robert Bermans out there. One is a famous Broadway musician, one is a famous Art Gallery Dealer etc. I still come up very high in Google. I checked today. You need to be consistent in your branding. I did not think to check or register the rcberman. I will go check it out.

    Thanks,

    Rob

  12. For Twitter and other social media sites, I cannot always have time for them. It sure is difficult for a starting blogger, but I admit I enjoy the slow pace of progress (slow, in my case).
    For me, a short yet easy to remember name can really make a difference when it comes to branding.
    As a starting blogger myself, I also would like to know if using the same domain name as my twitter name could be good….or not?
    Thanks!

    1. Is a short domain name for your twitter name good? Well it doesn’t hurt. It’s handy because it’s short and I can use mine instead of a shortened URL. If you do it, just point it to your site and you’re done.

  13. Domains names and redirects and such have been a weak point I really need to address one of these days. I’m not much of marketer, but I know enough to understand that simplicity and consistency is key when getting your brand established solidly. Sounds to me like your idea is solid Sherryl. I hold a couple variations of my domain and intend to nail the others if they every become available. The redirects and increased SERPS exposure alone would be worth it.

    As far as twitter, I’m just not seeing enough benefit to yet consider putting any effort into exploiting it much more than as a way to occasionally connect with people when I am pressed for time.

    1. Splurging on domain names is something that I indulge myself in. Most of the time, I find that someone else has already had the same great idea but every once in a while, I score one that I have hopes of using.

      I have consistently used my Twitter handle “keepupweb” as my user ID on every social site I’ve joined. So, for me, it made sense to brand it.

  14. I think I might be a little extreme. I have a Twitter account for my two sites to help with the branding plus my name @marcie_hill. I have three different accounts and different messages for my website and blog.

  15. My user ID is Nikmaya62, and this will not bring follower to type nikmaya62.com because there is no such address. Nikmaya.com is my domain. I’m not so concerned with my UserID, which I only think that my User ID have represented my domain name.

  16. Great post! I never even realized there was a 15 character limit to Twitter names, because I was lucky enough that my domain name was exactly 15 characters! So it fit Twitter perfectly and I never even knew it. I don’t think I’d bother jumping through all the tech hoops to tweak my analytics, to see how many may be arriving via the 301’d domain. It’s costing virtually nothing, so any traffic is a bonus. Why waste time (and it could be a lot of time!) to see that kind of data? If it sent you 1 potential client per month, that would be worth it, right? I just think it was a smart move.

  17. Honestly, I agree with the group that suggested you change your name. People want to know that you’re a person. Most bloggers and business people (like myself) are working to build a community. We get to know each other and help each other. It builds trust if we know your name and see your picture. I know many bloggers who wouldn’t even approve this post by you because you don’t use your name and you don’t have a Gravatar. I believe the advantages of building online relationships far outweighs any advantage of promoting your brand as your personal name. That’s my opinion.

    1. Catarina, I was hoping someone else knew the answer to this because I didn’t. I Googled and you can change it. Here’s the official how-to from Twitter: http://bit.ly/g44X2D.

      I immediately wondered if that would be something that I would ever consider doing. Since I use my Twitter ID everywhere, I would never do it. I did search a little further and found this post by someone who successfully did this. http://bit.ly/gDGxRu.

      He suggests “create a new account with your old Twitter name. You don’t have to do much with this account. Maybe add a URL to your new twitter account and post a single tweet notifying people that your name has changed.” Good luck if you decide to do this.

  18. Thanks for this post Sheryl as it is something I hadn’t even thought about yet. I’ll add it to my list of things I need to consider in moving forward this year.

    As a point of interest, I’ve been advised to register my name as a domain name also. Has anyone done this?

    1. Great question Janine! If your name is available, I’d recommend grabbing it, especially if you can get the dot-com version. The main reason is to brand yourself.

      The longer you hold a domain name, the more value there is to it. (You’re also preventing anyone else from reserving it.) I registered the dot-com version of my name years ago.

      What’s everyone else think?

  19. I have about 30 domain names that are all redirected into my main site (ontheballparent.com). Alas, that full name is too long for twitter so I got BestParentCoach over there. I tried to buy that name at Go Daddy but it was already taken! I suspect it can lead to confusion but the hopefull people will cross reference the Twitter Bio in the upper righthand corner, and see our accurate domain site there.

    John’s commented on Go Daddy’s domain prices at $11 or $12. I never check out until I’ve googled “go daddy promo code”. I almost always find one and pay just $7.49 per domain.
    My favorite coupon site isretailmenot.com It is straightforward with no strings attached.

    1. Keyuri, I’m a coupon clipper too! I always Google for coupon codes before I buy on GoDaddy. Sometimes, it’s difficult to find a code that’s good on renewals though but they’re usually out there.

  20. Hi, Sherryl. I really didn’t think much about it when I used Omnific_Design as my account name in Twitter. I just figured that it is one way of positioning my brand in front of people’s faces. But, now that you mentioned the relevance and importance of what I did, I am very much pleased. The 301 redirect that you did was pretty cool though and would do it in a heartbeat if I wasn’t using my company name in Twitter already. 🙂

    1. I think you have the best case scenario having your Twitter ID the same as your domain name. That would be my preference but having the short domain name is working out for me. It’s turned out to be a good “plan B”.

  21. Hey Sherryl,

    That was a pretty nifty idea, and I think it was good that you followed through with it. I use GoDaddy too as my domain registrar and if you don’t take any of the upsells registering a domain is no more than $11, $12 dollar for a year. So I don’t think you’re wasting your money I think it was a good investment. You went the extra mile and that’s a good thing. Thanks for sharing your experience, and you gave me a great idea with the with the 301 redirect.

  22. Hi there Sherryl. Over the years my brand has evolved from design, animation and writing to all of these plus SEO, content creation, and social media. My twitter is @oz2designs but is linked to my blog – The Creative Marketing Channel. My company’s name is oz 2 designs LLC and if you were to go to http://www.oz2designs.com you would see a great deal of design. My blog primarily markets SEO, content creation, and social media. Having two seeming separate brand identities has been helpful because, before my blog, people couldn’t grasp the content creation element of my business.

  23. Hi Sherryl,

    I use M4B Marketing as my ID everywhere including Twitter as it helps with the branding. I also have another domain name that I direct to my site. I use Stat Counter and I think I can see my redirects by looking at the paths. Have to recheck this. With the WordPress stats I can also see the referring sites so i can see how many have come from the other domain.

    1. Susan, The next time I register a domain name, I’ll definitely try to select one that’s short enough to use as my Twitter name. What are you using to get WordPress stats? Is it a plug-in?

      1. Hi Sherryl,

        The plugin is wordpress.com stats . I don’t look at it that often but it tells me what sites are linking in, when people subscribe, page views and the pages and referring sites etc.

  24. Interesting strategy Rick. You’re using a combination of sub-domain names and domain names. When you say your “URL, for SEO purposes is InternetMarketing.RickLaPoint.com”, I see that you’re using a 301 redirect on LaPoint.biz to InternetMarketing.ricklapoint.com. (Then you have your parttimetrader.com domain which you must also be tracking SEO for.) Do you have your analytics set up so that you know how many visitors come through LaPoint.biz?

    As for your Twitter profile, I notice that you have both InternetMarketing.ricklapoint.com and RickLaPoint.com listed. I like that idea and it’s one more example of why I should do something with my Sherryl Perry dot com domain name (other than just redirect it). (BTW – I like your beerbudgetgourmet.com site. I went right to that one!) 🙂

    1. I’m not tracking the re-direct. I don’t want to drive myself even more insane with too much tracking 😉

      The short URL re-direct was really just to give regular visitors a method that was easy to remember and quick to type. I assume most regulars who start to type the long URL will have auto-complete in their browsers most of the time anyway.

      But the re-direct is all about convenience.

      The real goal with everything is to make things as fast and easy as possible for the visitor. In selling you don’t ask the prospect if they want to buy — you hand them a pen and the completed order form.

      Rick

  25. I got real creative with my Twitter ID and went with @Rick_LaPoint 🙂

    My URL, for SEO purposes is InternetMarketing.RickLaPoint.com

    See how the Anchor IS the URL and says everything I want people to know.

    I then got a short Domain Name, that I use to redirect thru cPanel. This is the one I post in big letters by my name and picture on my marketing site: LaPoint.biz

    If someone does go to RickLaPoint.com my page there has a menu of my various websites.

    I figured a long time ago that my name is the simplest branding method. My stock market software has my name right on top as a prominently displayed logo.

    So regardless of whether I’m PartTimeTrader or Internet Marketing, my name is easy to google or guess.

    Just don’t confuse me the PhD at Berkley University or the Bass Fisherman in the mid-west 😉

    Rick

  26. Sherryl, you’re smart to do what you’ve described here. It’s good to get a domain that people could logically think was you, especially if you are already using it as your Twitter handle.

    I’ve chosen to brand my name in my Twitter handle (@TheJohnSoares), rather than @ProductiveWriters, the name of my main website. That way my Twitter account can stay the same even if my businesses shift and change.

    1. Excellent strategy John and definitely one that I considered. (With the way I spell Sherryl though, how much traffic would I be losing to people who misspell it?) The other thing that I weighed into choosing a domain name for this site was what if? What if someday this blog itself becomes valuable and I want to sell the site so that I can travel the world. I went this route. Even so, there are people who are hugely successful branding their own name.

      You’ve got me thinking though. I own the dot com version of my name and I also have a Twitter account for my name. I just don’t use it and I should build up that following. Thanks for making me realize that I may be missing an opportunity.

  27. I think it’s a great idea for some people. I used my own name for my business name. I was afraid of doing so early on in my career, but I finally gave up being so careful and decided to really put my name out there. Most of the traffic I get to my blog and website come from google. And the keyword is my name. But if I understood correctly, I think your idea is a sound one.

  28. Hi Sherryl. My Twitter ID is NewHorizons123 and my domain is NewHorizons123.com. I don’t understand what you mean when you ask if we reserved our Twitter ID name and forwarded it to our website. This is probably a really simple thing to understand but you know me LOL.

    1. Julie, What you did is perfect to me. When I was trying to reserve a domain name (for this blog), I wasn’t even thinking of Twitter. When I went to Twitter and tried to reserve my domain name as my user ID, it was 1 character too long! That’s why I had to get creative. Sorry if I confused you. This may be the shortest article that I’ve ever written and see what happens! 🙂