A custom URL can be read out loud at events or printed on marketing materials. Their list of uses for both digital and offline marketing goes on and on. They’re ideal for all these situations because they can be edited to the need of the marketers who create them.
Marketers can choose the domain used to create their short links, as well as the words, numbers or emojis that come after the slash.
When using generic link shorteners, you have no input into the randomly generated link. You have to take what you’re given and have no ability to edit it.
Where you plan to place your custom URL will determine the best structure for it. If you plan to call out a link during a radio interview, memorability and pronunciation will be a big factor. While the links you share on social media need to stand out.
The keywords and domains you use to share short links are completely up to you. But we’ll take a look at some best practices for:
- Choosing a domain
- Creating a custom URL to share online
- Creating a custom URL to share offline
- Creating custom URLs for media appearances and events
So without further ado, here are Rebrandly’s top tips for creating a custom URL.
1. Choosing the domain
When setting up a custom URL shortener, you choose the domain – or domains – that will become the base for the branded links you share.
You’ll always want to feature your name, or your company’s name, here so you can boost brand awareness and visibility. So that’s the first half of your domain sorted – but there are tonnes of options besides .com when it comes to choosing a TLD.
Here are some approaches to consider when purchasing a domain:
Choose TLDs which represent your niche or industry
Whether you want to build your personal brand or a business brand, consider using TLDs which are specific to your niche to create a clear connection between your name and the industry you’re in.
Instead of a .com, an artist could use .studio. Or a financial consulting company could use .finance. Anyone who sees your links will come to associate your name with what you do. This is ideal, as your name will be to the fore of their minds when they are in need of your services.
This is particularly useful for the likes of law firms and consultants whose industry may not be evident when looking at just their name.
To communicate where your links lead
Custom URLs receive up to 39% more click-throughs than generic short links. This is because people feel better about clicking on a link which features a brand’s name. They trust it won’t lead to spam or malicious content. You can accentuate this trust further by customizing your short links to indicate where your link will lead.
You can do this with your TLD. For example, at Rebrandly, we use:
- .blog to share our latest blog posts
- .video to support to share YouTube videos
- .support to share FAQs and put users in contact with our helpdesk
Our audience is left with no doubt about what kind of content they are clicking through to. In total, we use 14 TLDs as part of our link management strategy.
Check out how Guy Alexander of HostHQ uses branded links on Twitter, showcasing his brand name while indicating where the link will lead. Since the destination URL of branded links can be edited even after a tweet is live in Rebrandly – it helps him avoid mistakes. On top of this, the catchy call to actions on the URL draws attention to his posts.
To grab attention and show your fun side
There are now over 1,000 TLDs to choose from and some of them are pretty quirky. From .pizza and .fun to .buzz, .ninja, .party and .christmas, you’re sure to find something that will help your brand stand out.
You can browse through our domain search and brainstorm creative domains that will show off your brand’s personality.
Below, is one of our favorite short links:
2. Sharing a custom URL online
Once you’ve got your domains set up, all that’s left for your team to decide is what keyword should come after the slash. Of course, this will be done on a case by case basis as each link is created – the keyword you choose will depend on what’s being linked to. But here are some points to consider.
Let people know the title of your page
When choosing a keyword for custom URLs which will be shared online, you can use this opportunity to communicate information about the page the link leads to. So as well as using a .blog TLD, you could include your article title after the slash. This will build trust, encourage click-throughs and reduce your site’s bounce rate as prospects will know exactly what to expect when they arrive on your site. Consider this the complete of clickbait.
Don’t forget about SEO
You should also keep in mind the target keyword of the webpage you are sharing. Featuring this keyword in your custom URL can help optimize it for search engines.
For example, below, the keyword in our short link corresponds with the keyword of the page it leads to – it also tells our Twitter followers exactly to expect when they click through.
— Rebrandly (@RebrandlyBuzz) January 3, 2018
When creating links to share online, if you want to include more than one word after the slash, use hyphens to separate them. Google’s bots read hyphens as word separators and will easily be able to determine your chosen keywords.
Feature an enticing call to action
Alternatively, you could instruct readers what to do next by including a strong CTA after the slash. This is great for linking to landing pages or sign up forms.
Remember to customize URLs to suit all the platforms you post it to
When sharing custom URLs online, keep in mind the length limitations of social media platforms. Twitter truncates links which go above 32 characters, while LinkedIn replaces URLs which exceed 26 characters with a Lnkd.in link.
These two sites are the most restrictive, but you can find out more about the requirements for each platform here or check out the chart below.
3. Sharing a custom URL offline
Custom URLs can also be printed on flyers, business cards, posters, billboards or t-shirts. When creating one for use offline, don’t forget that people will need to type this link into their browser. So make them as short and as memorable as possible.
Don’t use any hyphens after the slash as this will make your URLs less memorable and more difficult to type out. Instead, use uppercase letters for each word so people can read them easily.
Rebrandly links aren’t case sensitive, so users can type rebrandly.live/event or Rebrandly.Live/Event into their address bar and land on the same page.
4. Custom URLs for media appearances and events
When choosing a keyword for an event like this, follow the best practices set out above for creating memorable links for use offline. But, remember, these links will also be read aloud, so make sure they are easy to pronounce too.
When used correctly, custom URLs can benefit your business well beyond boosting visibility, trust, and awareness. Take advantage of the ability to edit and control your short links by enhancing them for each platform or place you use them. To maximize their impact, set out your brand’s rules for structuring custom URLs in the marketing team’s brand guidelines.
You could even go a step further with one of Rebrandly’s paid plans and add UTM parameters or retargeting pixels to your custom URLs. If you have any other suggestions for choosing domains or keywords to use in your custom URLs, let us know in the comments below.
- How to track offline marketing metrics
- URLs for SEO: How to create SEO-friendly links
- How to find the perfect domain for your branded URL shortener
- 5 things we learned about event marketing
This article is about:
- How to create custom URLs
- Creating custom URLs
- Custom URL structure
- Creating links with Rebrandly
Photo in main image via Pixabay
Originally posted: Sep 25, 2018