All about Vanity URLs

What is a Vanity URL?

A vanity URL is a descriptive, memorable and branded URL used to redirect visitors. Created using your own domain, a vanity URL engenders trust and brand recognition when shared across social media, email and websites.

Advantages of Vanity URLs

Descriptive

Vanity URLs make it clear to the user where they are going and to who.

Trustworthy

Vanity URLs are visibly trusted. As they see your brand on the link, plus a description of the destination, a user can relax when they see your link, as they know what they are clicking on.

Which leads to...

Much higher clickthrough rates

Vanity URLs and branded links have significantly higher clickthrough rates.

Improve brand awareness

As the links are visible, you are sharing your brand everywhere. Links like pep.si or nyti.ms work like adverts everywhere they’re shared. 

Improves SEO

As you control the whole URL, you can place whatever keywords you want in the URL. Using a 301 redirect, all of the link strength is passed to the destination.

Enables offline sharing

Branded vanity URLs are normally very short and descriptive, so they can be easily printed on promotional materials.

Enables word of mouth sharing

Again, short, branded URLs are very easy to communicate by word-of-mouth. This can be fortunate if you happen to be mentioned on a podcast, YouTube, radio or television.

Allows you to own your URLs (using your domain)

When you use a generic link shortener like bit.ly, you are tied to their domain, and the links and URLs belong to them. When you use your own domain, you aren’t tied to any provider, and all the links belong to you.

Ability to change destination after sharing the URL

When links are shortened with a service like bit.ly; it’s permanent. If you use your own branded vanity URLs, you can change the final destination, without changing the vanity URL. This is particularly useful if you made a mistake, or printed the URL in a brochure or as a QR code.

Ability to add retargeting tags to the URL

Using a service like Linkly, you can add people who click on your vanity URL to a remarketing list. For example, if someone clicks your link, you can automatically add them to Facebook Ads remarketing list, and then show them ads on Facebook.

Unlikely to get blocked by adblockers and spam filters

Big link shortening services are often used by spammers to hide malicious URLs. Adblockers and spam filters know this, and so these services have a bad reputation when it comes to filtering. As you can’t change the link once it’s out there, if it gets blocked, you’re stuck.

Creating Vanity URLs

Creating a branded vanity URL is easy.

Step 1

Sign up for Linkly.

Step 2

Vanity+URLs.jpg

Purchase a domain, or attach a domain you already own, by following the instructions here.

When you purchase a domain, you choose a TLD. 

Step 3

Create a link!

This article was about:

  • Vanity URLs

  • Branded short links

  • Custom domains