I’m going to nerd it up a little bit in this post. Never fear, the next post I do should be a lot less nerdy! The next topic I’m going to cover in your digital 3-Day life is the redirect. This is one that I don’t think many people have started using, but I have found it immensely useful. I’ll start by explaining what it is:
When you give someone your URL to donate, you probably give them something in the form of http://the3day.org/goto/john. The user goes there, then clicks the donate button and donates and everything is fine. When I give people the URL to donate, I send them this: http://60miles3days.com/donate and this sends the donor directly to the donation form so that there is no thinking about it. It’s very handy, pretty useful and I’m going to talk about why you would do it and then how you would do it. First with the why.
Easy to Remember
If you have a web page already that people go to, it’s much easier for them to remember that site than to have to add another site to their memory. Not only that, they have to add a goto in there. I admit, this is probably the least compelling of my reasons. However, the donor doesn’t have to then look on the page for the donate button. Small item, I know but every little bit helps. We will have some better reasons next.
If you know that you are going to continue walking year after year, this may be the best reason. Wouldn’t it be great to just give the same URL every year. Yes, I know that you can choose the same URL year after year, but they changed the structure of it after 2008 (it used to have the year in it) so it’s possible that it may not remain the same. Also, if you are crazy like me and sign up for the next 3-Day at the event, you can immediately switch the URL to point to the new fund raising form instead of jumping through a few hoops to get it changed in the 3-Day system. This means that if you have people that wait until after the last minute to donate, they will be giving you a head start on the fund raising for next year.
This is the reason I started to use redirects. I’m walking in two different walks this year. Instead of having to give out one URL and then when I had my minimum for the first walk give out another URL, I used a redirect. Earlier in the year if you went to http://60miles3days.com/donate you would go to the donation form for my Boston walk. Now that I have raised the money for that, I can switch it to the Dallas walk and my donors don’t have to worry about which one I want them to go to. I automatically direct their traffic to the correct donation form.
Another reason is that maybe you are a super star fund raiser and got all your fund raising done in a couple of weeks and now you want to help your teammates do their fund raising. Since you have awesome donating friends, you can easily change your redirect so that it points to one of your teammate’s donation pages instead of yours. They still have their own donation url, but now yours points to their donation form. Now you are helping them reach their goal!
So there are a couple of things that you need to have in order to do the redirect.
- First, you need a domain that you own. For instance, I own 60miles3days.com. In order to get a domain of your own, you can go through a hosting company. A lot of companies will provide you a free domain name when you host with them.
- Next, you will need a domain host. I use a company called Hostmonster (http://hostmonster.com) This is where you will put the necessary files to do the redirect.
If you have the two above things, then you will need to make a folder that you want to use (named something like donate, to use the example of my redirect). In that folder, make a file named index.php and the contents of the file should look something like this:
header( ‘Location: URL’ ) ;
Where URL is the actual location of your donate page. This is assuming that your web host uses PHP (most do).
Now, what can you do if you don’t have a domain name or a host or the necessary technical skills to make this work? First, ask a friend that does know this stuff and they might be able to help. If you don’t have a friend like that, you can send me a mail (click contact at the top of the page) and for a certain number of people I can make some redirects for you off of the 60miles3days.com page.