Article

Andrea D'Aietti
Andrea D'Aietti 15 January 2020

What Is a Vanity URL and Why Is It Important?

A vanity URL is a unique web address that is branded for marketing purposes. A vanity URL takes a long address and converts it into a shorter, customised link, which is coherent with your brand and is more trustful to click.

This practice also knows as a branded link or a custom short URL creates a memorable, pronounceable, and descriptive URL that redirects visitors from one location to another.

It will often contain a name or brand identity to help direct traffic from email marketing, social media, or print-based marketing activities. A study showed how a branded vanity URL reported a 34% higher CTR than a general URL.

Best Practices for Using Vanity URLs

Vanity URLs are useful because they can create an immediate moment of trust for your visitors.

You can get this because the link provides access to who you are and where you’re going to be redirected once you click it.

For example, voda.it/cinema works far better than http://www.vodafone.it/portal/Privati/Vantaggi-Vodafone/Vodafone-Exclusive-Cinema?icmp=cinema_exclusive. It is not only more readable, but it doesn’t lose the recognition of that brand.

Even though it may be a shorter link, you are using a vanity URL to take ownership of the user experience. This can be extremely useful for instance, if your company has multiple functions (i.e., Vans, SUV, Sports Cars) and you might want to easily redirect one of your customers to the right page of each one of your divisions.

In short: Vanity URLs can help you to achieve your marketing goals faster, but you will want to follow these best practices to give yourself the best chance at success.

  • Be clear and consistent when using a vanity URL. Use full words to describe the content that someone will see when they click. If anything feels misleading about this process, then you will lose any earned trust. The goal with this tool is to be as authentic and concise as possible – even if you link to third-party websites.
  • Combine this tool with your other marketing efforts. Work to incorporate your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies with your vanity URL to work with your keywords, establish authority, and current link equity levels to funnel more traffic to the essential pages of your domain. Using vanity links can improve your SEO if done right as you can combine them with 301 redirects which don’t lower the PageRank and still send the right visitors to the right page.

Image Source: https://moz.com/blog/vanity-urls-and-avoiding-self-canibalization

  • Use them only when they are necessary. If you start providing a vanity URL with every link or post you share, then the positive effect becomes watered down to the prospect. Vanity URLs make an impact when your current link does not.
  • Keep it simple. The best vanity URLs tend to be a short phrase of 2-3 words. If you add length to the link, then the risk of an error increases. You will want to avoid complicated, uncommon, or unusual words whenever possible. A great example can be lam.bo for the famous car manufacturer Lamborghini.
  • Avoid the slashes and dashes if possible. Most people don’t like to type anything in an URL after the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org,” so you will want to eliminate all of the slashes from your address. You will establish more trust by directing your visitors to a home page, and then allowing them to explore it to find what they want.
  • Capitalize each word when sharing your vanity URL. By capitalising the first letter of each word in the URL, it will become easier to remember. This best practice will add clarity to your brand name or message as well.

Reasons Why Vanity URLs Are Awesome

1. Easier to Remember

A vanity URL is a lot easier for someone to remember; it will be consequentially more effortless for your target customer to keep in mind who you are, what you do, and why your brand is crucial to them at that moment if you’re targeting him in a crowded space such as Social Media. Instead of trying to remember an elaborate address, you can promote something memorable that becomes useful in any style of marketing.

2. Easier to Share and Use

The primary reason why using a vanity URL has become an essential tool for organizations large and small, in every industry, is that it offers a meaningful and practical way to direct visitors to the specific content they want to see.

You can easily choose a Top Level Domain (TLD) as part of the current vanity URL process, and later define different naming patterns while sharing links to specific areas of your site.

Source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/10/10/vanity-url 

If you shared your domain name with a “.blog”, then you could direct traffic to your blog posts. A “.news” URL could take visitors to your media mentions, internal news, or essential items from news websites that reflect your mission and vision.

If you have a mobile application, you can combinate your vanity URL and deep linking from software like JotURL to redirect a user to a precise page in the app without losing custom data such as a coupon code.

Or if you run offline campaigns such as in newspapers or live events, it would be way easier for you to track your marketing efforts and get more people to visit your website through a vanity URL than a longer one.

Newspaper Ad with a Vanity URL.

3. Help You to Get More Insights and Data on Your Visitors

If for instance, you’re running an offline marketing campaign on a newspaper, not using a solution like JotURL to create your Vanity URLs and track your links you’ll be missing out on valuable data on your potential clients. It would be like walking blind in a savanna. You’ll not get to know what’s working, where, and how.

For instance, you might want to use one specific link in one placement and another one in another so that you can see which one is generating more traffic.

Others insights such as their demographics, browser, and devices can be easily tracked with the right software solution.

Vanity URL Examples

Any time you share a post on social media, a vanity URL establishes the importance of your brand or message, and most importantly it catches the attention of your reader while at the same time, it reinforces the reason why someone thought about looking at your content in the first place. You stay relevant.

In the image above, Change.org uses a Vanity URL effectively for one of the campaigns they promote. By sharing the title or critical subject material that a person will find behind the link, this team creates more opportunities for clicks.

You can also create a call-to-action with a vanity URL. Many Instagram profiles generate a link which describes the brand and suggests an outcome.

You can combine the creation of your Vanity URLs with retargeting and other tools for Instagram using JotURL.

By using the keywords assigned to your site in the URL, you create a direct association between the descriptors and your website. That makes it easier for your future customers to remember who you are and what you offer.

If you are thinking about how a vanity URL impacts your SEO efforts, then the most important tip to remember is to include your relevant, targeted keywords in the link. This tool is useful for managing 301 redirects to keep the link equity intact while creating something much easier to share.

Wrapping Up: How to Create Your First Vanity URL

A vanity URL can enhance your chance of success on every platform your brand is active on. By following the best practices in this article, you can establish trust, improve your user experience, and provide transparency all in one technique. This process will generate more clicks over time because it feels authentic to the visitor. When you can get more clicks, then there are more opportunities for conversions.

You can start creating your vanity URLs while adding other extra features to your links that will help you growth hack your customer acquisition efforts with JotURL.

JotURL will not only make it easy for you to create your first vanity URL but will also allow you to track the metrics and retarget those have clicked on your links among the other add-ons. By doing so, you can get more data about your customers and understand more of what is working and what’s not in your online marketing activities.

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