Oct.28

Add RSS Subscribers Through Domain Auctions

I’ve found that buying expired domains related to your niche can add some descent, targeted traffic to your site, and just recently I found a new benefit: RSS readers.

Using Go Daddy Auctions, you can search expiring and expired domain names by keyword, and get a general overview of how many visitors / month you can expect, and use Google to see if the site is indexed or has backlinks. Do your research, and you can pick up a descent domain for about $10.

Once you have the domain, you want to forward it to your real site. In my case, I want to send it to a particular page (reviews.php) and I append a cSrc parameter, so I know the source of the traffic. So if someone visits the old domain, they’re sent to my reviews.php page.

GoDaddy domain forwarding

After doing this, I noticed a lot of my traffic had cSrc set to odbscm/feed/. Now I had set cSrc in the redirect to odbscm, but didn’t put /feed/ on it. So I looked at my access log and saw a lot of these:

74.125.44.136 - - [28/Oct/2009:09:17:44 -0400] "GET /reviews.php?cSrc=odbscm/feed/ HTTP/1.0" 302 239 "-" "FeedBurner/1.0 (http://www.FeedBurner.com)"

* Warning, it’s going to get geeky *

Next I went into my reviews.php page and added to the top:

if ($_GET['cSrc'] == 'odbscm/feed/') {
	header("Location:  http://feeds2.feedburner.com/xxxxxxx");
	exit();
}

If you just redirected the old domain to your own domain, you wouldn’t have to do this, as olddomain.com/feed/ would redirect to yourdomain.com/feed/, which I assume works.

So I was redirecting all of the olddomain.com/feed/ traffic to my feedburner RSS feed. The result? I went from 15 RSS subscribers to 664! What a way to increase RSS readers & blog traffic!

Jump in RSS subscribers

To get an idea if a site has an rss feed, you can open Google Reader and on the left, click on Browse for Stuff then the Search tab, and enter the domain name. For example, “petguideblog.com” is up for auction ($10) and gets about 1,262 hits / month. Enter this as the search keyword, and you’ll see it’s in Google Reader, so there’s at least 1 subscriber. Too bad Google isn’t telling us how many there really are.

Find RSS feed with Google Reader

Pet Guide Blog results

So there you go – buying domain names to increase your RSS base. Thoughts? Other tips on how to determine expired domain backlinks or RSS readers? Please share them in the comments!

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