A vanity URL, also called a custom URL or a branded URL, is a unique web address customized to feature your brand name or keywords related to your business. It is an easy-to-remember and aesthetically pleasing alternative to the generic URLs generated by default.
Obtaining a vanity URL is a straightforward process, but its impact can be significant. Most social media platforms and websites offer this feature for businesses, allowing them to personalize their URLs. These URLs serve as the digital welcome mat for your online presence, leaving a lasting impression on visitors and ensuring that your brand, message, or content is in their memory.
Whether you’re an individual looking to establish a personal brand or a business seeking to enhance its online identity, a vanity URL offers a unique opportunity to stand out in the crowded digital lands.
Best Practices for Using Vanity URLs
Vanity URLs are worth using because they build trust and help you achieve marketing goals. To do this, they should be used correctly.
Here are the best practices to follow when you are using a vanity URL or a branded link:
Use When Necessary
You don’t have to use a vanity URL for every link you share. The purpose of a Vanity URL is to make a link shorter and associated with your brand. If a link already achieves this purpose, there is no need to change it again. However, if you’re using a URL shortener for analytics or link management, an extra few seconds spent editing your link will be worth it so you’re able to keep all link data in one place.
Make It Clear
Always clearly display your brand and use full words to describe your content. For people to trust your link, they need to have an idea of where the link will bring them. In the keyword after the slashtag, use words that describe the web page’s content. If you’re linking to a third-party website, use the publication’s name. Be honest, straightforward, and as concise as possible.
Keep It Short and Memorable
One of the primary purposes of vanity URLs is to make links easy to remember and type. When creating a new vanity URL, opt for simplicity. Short, concise URLs are more user-friendly and have a higher chance of being retained by your audience. Avoid using complex strings of characters or symbols that can confuse potential visitors.
Use Keywords Strategically
Incorporate keywords into your vanity URLs, but do so strategically. Choose keywords that are relevant to the content or campaign you’re promoting. Keep in mind that search engines consider keywords in URLs when ranking pages, so select keywords that can improve your SEO. However, never compromise the URL’s readability for the sake of stuffing keywords.
Reflect Your Brand
The essence of vanity URLs lies in link branding. Ensure that your vanity URL is aligned with your brand identity. It should ideally include your company name, product, or a relevant keyword that associates it with your brand. Consistency in branding across all online channels is key to building trust and recognition.
Track and Analyze Performance
Utilize analytics tools to monitor the performance of your vanity URLs. Track metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and user behavior on the landing page. This data can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, allowing you to make necessary adjustments.
Vanity URL Examples
Many big and small brands, as well as influencers, have seen the benefit of using vanity URLs. Here are just a few examples of how brands are using them:
Benefits of Using Vanity URLs
Vanity URLs offer more than just a simplified and branded link. They offer a variety of benefits that can improve your online presence and marketing strategies. Here are some top benefits of using vanity URLs:
Increased Brand Awareness
By incorporating your brand name or a relevant keyword directly into one vanity URL, you create a consistent and recognizable online presence. This consistency reinforces your brand identity, making it more memorable for your audience. When users see your custom vanity URL, they are more likely to associate it with your brand, increasing trust and recognition.
The fact that you are willing to attach your brand name to the content you’re sharing tells followers that your link won’t redirect them to spam or phishing sites but that the content you are linking them to is relevant to them and will be consistent with your brand. This increased trust can improve CTR (Click-Through Rate) by up to 39% when compared to generic short URLs or long unbranded links.
Increased Control Over Link Management
Vanity URLs provide businesses with full control over their link management. They allow for easy tracking and monitoring of link performance. Businesses can effortlessly update, redirect, or modify their vanity URLs to align with changing marketing campaigns or objectives. This flexibility ensures that your links remain relevant and effective over time.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for driving organic traffic to your website. Vanity URLs can be optimized with relevant keywords, making it easier for SEs, like Google, to index your content. When users search for those keywords, your vanity URL is more likely to appear in search results, boosting your website’s overall SEO ranking.
Integrated Link Retargeting and UTM Tools
You can add people who click on your links to your retargeting lists, even if that link leads to a third-party website. It can increase your top funnel traffic by 500%. You can also build UTM parameters while creating your branded short links.
Memorable and Pronounceable
Vanity URLs are real words people can understand and read. It means that your links are more memorable and pronounceable. Instead of a generic link that people will usually scan over, your link can be easily read – giving your message another chance to be consumed.
For a more in-depth look at the benefits of vanity URLs, read our blog post on Branded Links vs. Short Links or check out the video below:
How Do I Create a Vanity URL
A vanity URL is made up of three sections. Your branded short domain, TLD, and URL slug.
Here’s how you can create your own vanity URL:
Step 1: Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name must reflect the rest of your business to keep your branding consistent and for people to be able to identify the link as yours.
For Rebrandly we picked Rebrandly because that’s our brand name. For my personal domain, I picked samowens. It’s short but still relevant to my personal brand. It is the hardest part of the process for most people. If this is proving difficult, you might want to check out this blog post.
Step 2: Choose a TLD
Choose a relevant TLD (Top Level Domain), such as .link, .click, .lol, .news, .blog, to name but a few. Rebrandly offers you 500 TLDs to choose from, starting at just $2!
The choice of TLD can impact the perception of your website. While .com is the most popular and widely recognized TLD, numerous alternatives are available. Depending on your content or brand, you might opt for a more specific TLD. This can help convey the nature of your website and make your URL even more memorable. Choose a TLD that aligns with your website’s purpose and target audience.
Again, this is a very simple process, and it is down to your decisiveness and how fast you set up an account. We have different ones to assign to different content we share. Off the top of my head, we have:
- Rebrandly.news -We use this for Rebrandly news and media mentions
- Rebrandly.rocks – We use this for Rebrandly sharing links to users’ reviews
- Rebrandly.live – We use this to share links to Facebook Live and webinars
- Rebrandly.blog – We use this to share our blog posts
- Rebrandly.link – We use this to share curated content
- Rebrandly.xyz – We use this for general and funny sharing
If you don’t have a domain name yet, check if the one you want is still available and how much it costs here.
Step 3: Incorporate a URL Slug with a Keyword
Once you have chosen your branded domain name and TLD, you can start creating vanity URLs. Consider incorporating a URL slug with a relevant keyword to make your vanity URL even more user-friendly and optimized for search engines. A URL slug is the part of the web address that comes after the domain name and any subdirectories. It provides additional context about the content of the page.
It not only helps users understand what the page is about but can also improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) by including keywords that people might use when searching for related content. Ensure the URL slug is concise, descriptive, and free of special characters or spaces. Of course, the domains you register will be saved to your account so you can use them to create vanity URLs. Our Chrome Extension, iOS app, and Android App can make this process even faster.
Here are some common questions our users have about vanity URLs:
What is the Vanity URL definition?
A vanity URL is a descriptive, memorable, and pronounceable URL usually used to redirect URLs from one location to another. In the simplest terms, a vanity URL is a long URL converted into a customized short link. A vanity URL can also be known as a branded Link or a custom short URL.
What are vanity URL examples?
Vanity links contain a domain name that features the brand or a relevant keyword for your business. A vanity URL for a company’s Facebook page might be “facebook.com/MyCompany,” which is easier to remember and share than the original URL. Vanity URLs are often used for branding and marketing purposes to make web addresses more appealing and accessible to users.
What are vanity URLs used for?
Custom URLs can be used in a multitude of places, such as social media, emails, print publications, and other offline marketing activities. They are often used in marketing and branding strategies to redirect users to specific web pages, social media profiles, or promotional campaigns. Vanity URLs enhance brand recognition, simplify link sharing, and make it easier for users to access specific online content.
What is the difference between a URL and a vanity URL?
A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is a web address that specifies the location of a resource on the internet. It typically includes the protocol (e.g., http:// or https://), the domain name (e.g., www.example.com), and a path to the specific resource.
A vanity URL, on the other hand, is a custom or branded version of a URL that is often shorter, more memorable, and tailored to a specific purpose or brand identity. Vanity URLs are used for marketing and branding purposes and often redirect to a longer, more complex URL. It makes them easier to share and remember.
What is a good vanity URL?
A good vanity URL is one that is short and memorable. It reflects the brand, product, or purpose it represents. It should be easy to type and share, enhancing the user experience. Additionally, a good vanity URL is relevant to its content, making it clear and meaningful to the audience. Avoiding special characters, excessive hyphens, or confusing combinations of letters and numbers also contributes to a strong vanity URL.
How do vanity URLs help SEO?
Vanity URLs can help SEO by making web addresses more user-friendly and descriptive. When URLs are concise and relevant to the content they link to, they provide better user experiences, potentially reducing bounce rates and increasing time spent on a page. This user satisfaction can indirectly benefit SEO by signaling to SE that the content is valuable. Additionally, branded or keyword-rich vanity URLs may be more likely to attract backlinks, positively impacting a website’s authority and search engine rankings.