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Vanity URL: Your Key to Branding and User Engagement

Elevate your digital marketing success by creating a vanity URL. This can make your brand more visible online and drive audience engagement.

Think about the last time you clicked on a web address. Was it a forgettable string of characters? Or did it tell you something about where you were going? While this might seem trivial, the URL you use can make a big difference in how users perceive and interact with your brand.

URLs with a random mix of numbers and letters are hard to remember and even harder to type without making a mistake. But there’s an alternative that’s gaining popularity fast: vanity URLs. These custom web addresses are simpler to recall and clearly show where the link goes.

Whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, or just aiming to create a stronger impact online, using vanity URLs can be a game changer. Here’s how to create a vanity URL and more about why you might want to do so.

Vanity URL definition and overview

A vanity URL is a custom web address that’s memorable, user-friendly, and easily shareable. Also known as branded or custom URLs, these web addresses use words describing the brand or where the link takes you.

You’ll often see branded URLs on social media, replacing an automatically generated URL with the brand’s name. For example, rather than a generic Facebook URL like, your business could choose  

Custom URLs are also valuable tools on websites, leading users directly to a specific page or simplifying the branded domain. For instance, if you have a bakery, you could set up a vanity URL like for your daily specials page. Or you could shorten your own domain name to something catchier like

Custom URL vs. vanity domain vs. short link

Vanity URLs often get confused with vanity domains and short links. They’re similar, but each has a different role in online marketing and branding. Here’s what sets them apart.

Custom URL

A custom URL redirects users to a specific page within a website or social media platform. It’s often used to quickly lead them to special content, offers, or branded social media profiles.

Custom vanity URL examples include:


Vanity domain

A vanity domain is the main website address for a brand. It usually includes the company’s name to help people recognize and remember the brand online. You can also shorten vanity domains with a custom URL, such as using for Mailchimp’s home page.  

Short link

A short link is a very short URL that leads to a longer one, often made using link shortener tools. It’s useful for sharing links in places like social media where space is limited. For instance, instead of a long web address filling the character count, you could use something like instead.

How vanity URLs support your marketing efforts

A generic, complex URL does little to build your brand, but a unique web address sparks instant recognition. Short, clever, and memorable vanity links are one of the easiest ways to upgrade your marketing. Here’s how these links improve the success of your marketing strategies.  

It’s easy to share vanity URLs on offline and online channels

Vanity URLs are simple to share whether you’re chatting online, on the phone, or in person. Imagine you’re at a conference and need to direct people to your website. A branded link rolls off the tongue. You can say, “Just go to example dot com forward slash deals,” rather than painstakingly reciting a long URL.  

But the convenience of custom URLs doesn’t stop there. They’re equally effective in online and print advertising materials. In compact spaces like direct mailer postcards, a short vanity link leaves more room for messaging. In more expansive formats like magazine ads, a branded URL grabs attention and drives traffic your way.

Brand identity and recognition increase when you use vanity URLs

Custom URLs help make your brand more visible and memorable in a crowded online world. By featuring your brand name or related terms, these URLs constantly remind people who you are and what you offer.

Furthermore, vanity links provide a unique opportunity for creative branding. By cleverly using your brand name or industry-specific keywords, you can make your URL part of your marketing message. For example, if your coffee shop has a URL like, it shows customers they can find top coffee choices there.

Custom URLs improve search engine optimization (SEO) results

Branded links can also help with your website’s search engine ranking. Using relevant keywords in your URLs helps search engines find and show your site when people search for those words. This can significantly improve your SEO performance and position in search results.

Moreover, simple vanity URLs are great for getting more people to share your site on social media and link back to it. These shares and links tell search engines that your site is popular and trustworthy, which can boost your ranking even more.

In addition, following Google’s recommendation for URL structure can make your links more effective. This includes using keywords in the URL slug, which is the part of the URL after the slash.

Click-through rates skyrocket when you ditch the generic link

You get more clicks when you switch from a generic link to one that’s more familiar and relevant. People prefer clicking links that clearly show what they’re about or are related to a well-known brand. That’s because these links seem more trustworthy.

The increase in clicks doesn’t just drive traffic, either. More visitors means more chances to interact and make sales, improving the success of your related marketing campaigns. Also, when more people visit and engage with your site, it tells search engines to rank your associated web pages higher.

Vanity links allow for better campaign tracking and analytics

By using vanity URLs for different marketing campaigns, you can track how each one performs using Google Analytics or social media analytics tools. To start tracking URLs attached to your website, you must combine your custom links with UTM parameters. These parameters are tags you add to your URLs that give you detailed traffic and customer behavior data.

For example, in an email newsletter, you can display a branded URL like but link it to a longer URL with UTM tags, like This way, the URL looks clean and branded in the newsletter, but you still get all the detailed tracking benefits from UTM parameters.

Tracking the performance of branded URLs on social media is much easier. The analytics tools provided by social platforms automatically track clicks, comments, and shares. Just record and analyze the data for valuable insights to inform your marketing efforts.

Step-by-step guide on how to create a new vanity URL

Creating your own vanity URL is a strategic move that can boost brand recognition, engagement, and loyalty. It’s a relatively straightforward process, too, especially if you already have a custom domain name for your brand. Follow these 5 steps to create vanity URLs for your website and social media profiles. 

Step #1: Determine how you will use the custom URL

When deciding how to use your vanity URL, identify its main purpose in your marketing strategy. This will help you select the perfect name and format for your new web address.

For instance, if you’re launching a new product, a custom vanity URL can directly link to its landing page to streamline the customer journey. Or, when targeting a particular keyword, using it in the URL slug can enhance both SEO and user understanding.  

Perhaps you’re trying to establish your brand on popular social media platforms. In that case, your custom URLs can serve as a gateway to your profiles, helping you build a cohesive online presence.

Keep in mind that vanity URLs also ensure your brand and message stay consistent across all platforms when running multichannel campaigns. Whether it’s print, digital, or social media, a well-crafted web address ties these diverse platforms together.

Step #2: Choose a good vanity URL name

Next, it’s time to select an effective vanity URL name that aligns with your marketing goals. Some ideas to consider include:

  • Brand recognition: To strengthen brand recognition and recall, use your company name in the URL slug when setting up social media profiles. This creates a consistent online presence that reinforces your brand identity. 
  • Product launch: For product landing pages, use a simple vanity URL that clarifies what visitors can expect. This involves using the product name, a unique feature, or any other word or phrase that describes the item.
  • Limited-time offers: If your goal is to promote a limited-time offer, your vanity URL should reflect that. Consider using the offer name or relevant keywords for the URL slug to make it instantly recognizable.

Above all else, be clear and consistent when naming your vanity URLs. The aim is to eliminate any confusion for your audience. A well-chosen vanity URL should be intuitive, easy to understand, and incredibly catchy.  

Step #3: Check the availability of the custom URL

Once you’ve decided on a name, check its availability. This process varies depending on your platform.

  • On your own website: If the vanity URL is for your website, check your site map and existing URLs. Confirming that the slug isn’t already in use helps with link management to maintain an organized website structure.
  • For a shortened main domain: When creating a shortened URL, use a domain registrar to confirm availability. Before claiming it, you’ll need to check if the desired name and domain extension combination aren’t already in use.
  • Social media sites: If you’re setting up your social media pages, test that the URL is valid and unused by trying to create profiles. Each platform has username and page URL rules to follow. For instance, Facebook requires at least 5 characters and bans certain phrases, while X (formerly Twitter) has a 15-character maximum limit.

If your chosen vanity URL is unavailable, you may not have to return to the drawing board. Instead, try using a URL shortener like Bitly or TinyURL to condense the vanity URL into something more unique or usable. You might also be able to shorten your web address through your website builder.   

Step #4: Use the vanity URL on your website and social media

After choosing your branded URL, set it up on your website or social media channels. On your website, this process involves creating a redirect from the vanity URL to the relevant page, like a product landing page or blog post. On social media, you’ll either create a new profile or update your existing one with your URL slug.

Once set up, test the vanity URL across different devices and browsers to ensure it works correctly. Confirm that the URL leads users to the right place and loads quickly to prepare for its initial rollout. This simple setup and testing process ensures your URL is ready for your marketing activities.

Step #5: Promote your branded URLs and monitor their performance

Now, you can actively promote your custom URL and monitor its performance. Begin by promoting your vanity URL across your preferred marketing channels. Consider using it in your digital advertising, social media posts, and traditional marketing materials like brochures or business cards.

Then, pay attention to how your audience interacts with the URL by monitoring them through an analytics platform. Are they clicking on it? Are they engaging with the content at the other end? The answers help in understanding how well the URL supports your marketing goals.

Leave a lasting impression with user-friendly vanity URLs

A user-friendly vanity URL is a simple yet powerful marketing tool. It helps your target audience remember and engage with your brand easily. Both online and offline, these short, branded links share your marketing messages in just a few characters. So, make them count by creating custom URLs that are memorable and relevant and reflect your brand identity. You’re only a few steps away from branding mastery, so jump-start your journey today.

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