We decided to create a custom vanity URL after doing research for our post on Why Bitly Will Knock Your Socks Off. We love both Bitly and Rebrandly, but we loved the idea to amp up our marketing even more. You can use either service with your own custom domain and we will show you how you can do it all by yourself.
A vanity URL is a custom URL purchased and branded uniquely representing you and your business. It’s just like buying your own new domain name and URL, the difference is that a vanity URL is used for marketing purposes. A vanity URL is used to shorten links users have to type in in order to be directed to a website. In the previous post, Why Bitly Will Knock Your Socks Off, we discuss it with social media and posting links. But it can also be used in promotional materials.
Continue reading to learn more about how to choose your custom vanity URL and what you do once you purchase your new domain.
This entire process is actually quite easy and it all starts with deciding what your vanity URL should be. It is critical vanity URL should go along with rest of your branding.
Our website for Skill Space is www.skill-space.com. You can access all kinds of features by visiting that URL.
To shorten our links, we use Bitly. Before, however, shortened links would read bit.ly/socialmanage5. However, now they read skill-space.co/socialmanage5, as an example. Ideally, we would have loved skill.space/socialmanage5, but that was $699.99 per year versus $7.99 for the first year and $19.99 for each subsequent year. I simply couldn’t rationalize $700 per year for our custom vanity! We didn’t even spend that much on this main website (in which we also wanted skill.space, but the same problem existed then).
We were very close with using the following vanity URL: ss.co as a backup to the already taken ss.biz. However, we thought long term: what is SS? Well, it’s a great abbreviation for Skill Space, but it’s not exactly universally known unless you are a world history buff — which is not exactly the perception we want with our brand at all. We also debated whether we should use the hyphen or not. We actually hate the hyphen but www.skillspace.com is already taken (by someone who doesn’t actually use the domain name, mind you).
We have been using GoDaddy.com since the beginning, so it’s really just our default when it comes to domains and website hosting. They usually have very great deals and helpful 24/7 customer service. Using GoDaddy, including a 30% off coupon that we had available, it cost less than $15 for our vanity URL good for one year.
There are a few different paths you can do from here: use Bitly, Rebrandly, Owly, and use a 301-redirect (when one URL automatically redirects to another website, usually as a subdomain or sub-folder).
Let’s just stop there. We are all small businesses and cost-savings is important to increase profits; so it’s kind of a no-brainer why Skill Space is sticking with the first two options: either Bitly or Rebrandly (we will let you make that call yourself).
Imagine the following scenarios:
This scenario also applies with social media promotions. Unfortunately in our case, skill-space.co is longer than bit.ly or some of the other examples in the right column, but it still provides value in two ways:
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