What is a Vanity URL? (Plus, How to Get One and Examples)

January 23, 2024

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You might be scratching your head right now, asking, “What is a vanity URL?” And if you are, don’t worry. By the end of this article, you’ll be an expert on what a vanity URL is, why it matters to your business, and how to score one for yourself. 

Today, we’re going to unearth a powerful weapon that has the potential to transform your brand’s online persona and launch your business into the stratosphere. Are you ready to dive deep into the fascinating world of Vanity URLs? This isn’t just marketing fluff – it’s a genuine secret weapon for your brand.

What is a Vanity URL?

At first glance, ‘vanity’ might sound like something ornamental, without substance or function. But in the marketing context, vanity URLs are substantial, powerful tools. A vanity URL is essentially a unique, customized web address or link that’s well-branded, easily readable, recognizable, and memorable.

But why should you, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, give two hoots about vanity URLs? Because vanity URLs can supercharge your brand recognition, streamline your online presence, and enhance your marketing. These seemingly small strings of text can work wonders for your business’s online visibility and reputation.

3 Benefits of a Vanity URL

Despite what many outside the marketing world might think, vanity URLs aren’t just about aesthetics or convenience. They’re armed with a slew of tangible benefits that can significantly impact your brand. Here are three powerful benefits of embracing vanity URLs in your business.

1. Easy to Remember

Our brains are wired to seek simplicity and patterns. So, a short, meaningful phrase is easier to recall than a jumble of random alphanumeric characters. Vanity URLs fit perfectly into this cognitive structure. Instead of a lengthy, convoluted URL, you can have a custom web address directly related to your brand or a specific campaign.

But it’s not just about you. A memorable vanity URL makes the lives of your customers easier too. A simple URL has a higher recall value, meaning customers are more likely to remember your website and return to it. It essentially enhances your brand’s memorability and makes it much easier to share with others.

2. Easy to Share (Online and Offline)

Vanity URLs are the ultimate brand ambassadors. They’re easy to share, distinctive, and meaningful. Plus, they can be a game-changer in your marketing strategy, seamlessly integrating with both digital and physical marketing materials. Here’s how:

  • Online: When sharing content on social media platforms or via emails, a vanity URL looks way more professional and trustworthy. As such, it can significantly improve click-through rates and user engagement.
  • Offline: In traditional marketing – like flyers, posters, or business cards – a short, meaningful vanity URL is a million times more effective than a lengthy and indistinguishable jumble of letters and numbers. It can make your print materials look cleaner and more appealing.
  • In-Person: Everything from networking events and trade shows to simple conversations with potential customers benefit from a memorable vanity URL. If it’s easy to remember, it’s more likely to stick in people’s minds. That makes you instantly more findable. 

3. Builds Credibility

Investing in a vanity URL is more than just acquiring a custom web address. It’s a statement that you are serious about your brand and that you value professionalism. It signals that you’re not just a fly-by-night operation but a brand that cares about its customers’ experiences.

For example, if you had to choose between a YouTube channel ending with a random string of letters and numbers or a YouTube channel with a brand name at the end, which would you find more credible, professional, and established?

Beyond building legitimacy, a vanity URL also assures your audience that your brand is authentic and not a scam. It makes them feel secure and safe to use your products and take your advice. And that’s important because trust is the bedrock of any successful business. When your customers trust you, they’re more likely to do business with you and recommend you to others. That’s a win-win! 

How to Get Vanity URLs

Fortunately, getting your hands on a vanity URL isn’t rocket science, but the process does vary from platform to platform. Some require specific qualifications to be met, while others are way more accessible. Let’s break it down by platform, making it easy to create your very own customized vanity URL.

How to Get a Vanity URL on YouTube

YouTube offers vanity URLs to channels that meet specific criteria, including:

  • 100 YouTube Subscribers
  • Banner and Profile Icons
  • Your account must be 30 days old. 

Once your channel meets these prerequisites, navigate to the Advanced Account Settings, and you’ll find the option to create a custom URL. This feature allows you to align your channel’s URL with your brand name or any unique phrase representing your brand identity.

How to Get a Vanity URL on Facebook

To create a vanity URL on Facebook (which Facebook refers to as a ‘username’), you first need to get at least 25 likes on your page. Once you’ve achieved that, you can navigate to your page settings and select ‘Page Info.’ From here, you can edit your ‘Username.’ 

Once you’ve created your username, it’ll tack on to the end of your Facebook profile’s URL, and voila! You now have a unique, branded URL for your Facebook page that’s easier to share and remember!

How to Get a Vanity URL on LinkedIn

Getting a vanity URL on LinkedIn is a simple process. After logging into your account, click on your profile picture at the top, then click ‘View Profile.’ In that section, you’ll see an option to ‘Edit public profile & URL.’ After you click that, you should see an option to edit your custom URL. It’s really that simple!

How to Get a Vanity URL Using Online Tools

Securing a vanity URL isn’t limited to social media. There are numerous online tools where you can create custom, branded URLs, such as:

  • Bitly: A popular URL shortening service that offers custom branded links.
  • Short.io: A digital tool that offers custom domain URL shortening and has robust tracking features.
  • Rebrandly: A platform that provides branded short links, among other link management tools.
  • TinyURL: Another URL shortening service that allows you to customize the ending text.
  • BL.INK: A full-service URL shortener that offers features like tracking and analytics.
  • T2M.io: A digital tool that provides unlimited creation, sharing, and management of short links.
  • Yourls: An open-source software that allows you to operate your own URL shortener.

Create Your Own Website

This might go without saying, but if you really want to put your brand’s stamp on your URL, why not create your own website? With a domain that matches your brand, every URL on your site is automatically a vanity URL. This approach also provides full control over your online presence, SEO benefits, and much more.

Create a Shortened Version of Your URL

Some brands even use shortened versions of their URLs to create unique, branded links. For instance, the New York Times uses nyti.ms, LinkedIn uses lnkd.in, and Huffington Post uses huff.to. This approach offers the double advantage of being both brand-aligned and compact, making it the perfect choice for social media, print advertising, and word-of-mouth sharing.

Start Taking Advantage of Vanity URLs Today!

Vanity URLs are more than just a convenient tool in your digital toolbox – they’re essential to building a strong, memorable brand. By combining brand alignment, memorability, and simplicity, vanity URLs can dramatically enhance your business’s online visibility and credibility. So why wait? Start using vanity URLs to solidify your brand’s identity and take your business to the next level today!

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