What is a vanity URL?
A vanity URL is a customized web address that includes the name of your business for marketing, branding, and search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. They are usually short and descriptive, and can easily be recognized as part of your business’s branding. By default, your social media profile is assigned a default URL with a string of random numbers and letters like this:
Most social media networks (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) now have a simple process for businesses to change their URL to look like this:
To help you create your own vanity URL, we’ve put together the complete guide to vanity URLs including:
- The benefits of a vanity URL
- How to pick a name for your vanity URL
- The step-by step processes for claiming your vanity URL for Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin
- What to do if your URL or username has already been claimed
Benefits of a Vanity URL
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn rank at the top of search engine results because of their high authority. Since search engines like Google search through URLs for keywords, having your business’s name, or a recognizable version of it, will provide a boost to its visibility online.
- Cross Platform Branding: Businesses, especially those that are on multiple social media platforms, may find that having customized vanity URLs for their social media pages look more professional than holding on to the default URLs. Vanity URLs that are short and descriptive make your business’s name more memorable to your audience, but also entice better engagement such as the “shareability” of your pages. Whichever social media networks you’re using for your business, remember to cross promote your vanity URLs for branding and SEO.
- Promoting online and offline: Descriptive vanity URLs make it easier for both you and your audience to share your social media pages and direct their friends to them. You can promote your vanity URLs across all your marketing channels both online and offline. Include the links in email footers or signatures, newsletters, your website, and online ads. Or, add the links to any offline promotional materials including brochures, ads, coupons, and business cards.
Related: 6 Sample Marketing Plans
How to Pick a Vanity URL
The unique URL you choose to use for all your social media platforms should be based on your business’s name and not your personal name. If you’re present on multiple social media networks, keep your username/URL as consistent as possible. The attributes of a good vanity URL are that it’s:
How to Create a Facebook Vanity URL
Facebook has a few rules and requirements to take note of before starting:
- Your business page needs to have at least 25 likes before you can request a vanity URL
- You’re limited to alphanumeric characters and periods
- Your business page may only have one unique vanity URL
- Your Facebook URL can only be changed once so proofread it before confirming
- Your unique URL cannot be transferred to a different account if you’ve made a mistake
- You can contact Facebook if your trademarked name has already been taken.
1. To create a unique vanity URL for Facebook, visit facebook.com/username and follow the instructions.
3. If you are the admin for multiple Facebook pages, you are allowed to change the URL for each one.
4. Double check and triple check the spelling. Once you confirm the change, Facebook will not allow you to change it again.
How to Create a Twitter Vanity URL:
Twitter automatically sets your URL to the username you choose so there is no process to set a vanity URL. Also, keeping with the brevity of the conversations on the platform, there is a 15-character limit to your username.
Just as in Facebook, use the name of your business, and not your personal name. If your business’s name is over the 15-character limit or the username you wanted has already been taken, choose an abbreviated username that is memorable to your customers and still recognizable as a part of your store. For example, if the username “Thrive_Hive” had already been taken, we would have chosen “ThriveHive” or “Th_Hive” instead.
How to Create a LinkedIn Vanity URL:
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn has not set a limit to how many times you can customize your URL. LinkedIn also only has two restrictions regarding how you can customize your vanity URL:
- Your vanity URL must contain between 5-30 letters or numbers
- Your URL cannot use spaces, symbols, or special characters
1. To customize your public profile URL, go to your LinkedIn Profile page and select Edit Profile.
2. Now select Edit next to the URL under your profile picture
3. Towards the bottom of the right sidebar, in the Your public profile URL box, select Customize your public profile and click Set Custom URL.
Now that you have customized vanity URLs for your social media pages, remember to share, distribute and promote them. Check out our resources page if you are looking for more ways to optimize your social media pages and grow your online presence.
Google + Vanity URL:
In previous years, Google Plus only offered custom URLs to popular Brands like Toyota, Hugo Boss, etc. as well as celebrities like Brittany Spears and David Beckham. Recently however, Google Plus has starting rolling out vanity URLs for individuals as well as businesses that meet certain requirements.
For individuals, the requirements are:
- Ten or more followers
- An account that has been active for more than 30 days
- A profile photo
For register for a custom URL for Local Google+ pages, you must have a verified local business on Google+. For tips on setting up your Google+ page, read this post first.
For Non-local Google+ pages, your website must be linked to the Google account.
If you meet the qualifications for custom URL, you’ll receive a notification via email to let you know your account is ready. Another way to check to see if you qualify for an URL is to visit your profile page. Select Profile on the top left corner of the Google + main menu. If you are eligible, there will be a banner notification at the top of the page.
Your URL will be one that has been preselected by Google, based on your name or the name of your linked website. You will be able to customize your URL with a few letters or numbers to make it unique and change the capitalization of your URL. If you do have a valid reason to claim another URL, Google Plus does have a process for submitting URL change requests. After you’ve updated your Google Plus profile with a custom URL, be sure to update and share your new profile!
Image Credit: Danilo Rizzuti