Help Google is shrouding my website (and it's my fault)

Here’s the scenario:
I started out with two identical sites just because I thought that would be somehow useful. One was bandname.com and the other was bandnamerecordname.com . Well, the second record came out and it became obvious that I should concentrate on bandname.com .

So I let bandnamerecordname.com lapse – but it seems to be the only way that Google knows me, and if bandname.com is anywhere in Google’s consciousness, it’s a million pages of search results deep. Google hits my earlier sitepoint forum question about constructing bandname.com but it doesn’t hit bandname.com.:frowning:

So my band is apparently unsearchable.

The web provider told me to make an .htaccess file and stick it in where the bandnamerecordname.com files were. I studied up and gathered that I ought to put a 301 redirect in there.

The following questions ensue:

Can I actually put something into a website that ostensibly doesn’t exist anymore?

I’ve seen 301 command examples with site names including “.html” and without “.html” – just the site name with no prefixes or suffixes. Which is correct? I tried both but I didn’t have the patience to wait a week to find out whether either of them worked.

Is everything I’m trying to do wrong? I’m really unqualified to be doing this. The central question is: How do I get Google to forget bandnamerecordname.com and discover bandname.com?

Thank you kindly.

I’m not sure if there’s a way without having both domains still registered to you. If you have them both, then this might help.

Register with Google Webmaster tools, then add the two domains to your account. Select the one you’re giving up, and under “Site Configuration” in the menu on the left of the screen, choose “Change of Address”. Then just follow the instructions.

I don’t know how quickly this takes effect, or just how helpful it is. My new site is showing up in Yahoo and Bing as well, and I didn’t submit it to them in any shape or form.

I found this article helpful with writing .htaccess files, including redirects. To test whether your redirect is working, simply type the “old” URL into your browser and see if it takes you to the “new” URL.