There’s nothing vain about having a vanity URL

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Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Q. What is a vanity URL and how do I get one?

A. A vanity URL is similar to a vanity licence plate, in that you get to choose how it reads, instead of being randomly assigned some jibberish that means nothing to those who read it. And in the case of URLs, they are usually quite long and difficult to remember.

If you are using various sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for your business, it is in your best interest to claim a vanity URL. First off, it allows your customers to find you easily, especially if you want to direct potential clients to your specific page in marketing campaigns. Second, it prevents someone else from pretending to be you.

Vanity URLs may be available on a variety of social media sites for your specific account, but the two that I come across most often with my clients are Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook

Most people are familiar with Facebook vanity URLs by now, but note that Facebook refers to the custom part as a “username”. The format for these URLs (using my own as an example) is http://www.facebook.com/amethystanswers and amethystanswers is the username. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you to select a suitable username for your business page. Facebook makes the process incredibly easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Go to their Username page
  2. Choose your business page from the drop down menu
  3. Type your desired username in the text field beside it
  4. Click the “Check Availability” button.

Hopefully the name you requested is available, and now yours. If not, try another one.

LinkedIn

A vanity URL for your personal LinkedIn page is helpful when directing potential clients to check out your experience and referrals. It also shows that you took the extra effort to make your page more professional and easy to find.

Set up your LinkedIn vanity URL with these simple steps:

  1. After logging in to your LinkedIn account, hover over your name at the top right side of the screen and click Settings when the options appear. If prompted, enter your password.
  2. Towards the bottom of the Settings page, on the left, choose Profile if it isn’t automatically selected. This gives you the expanded Profile menu.
  3. From this menu, under Helpful Links, click on “Edit your public profile“.
  4. On the right, you will see tons of options for customizing how your profile page appears to others. Feel free to explore and modify these settings, but the one you are specifically looking for right now is in it’s own little box called “Your public profile URL“. Here you will see what your current URL is. If you wish to change it, click where it says “Customize your public profile URL“.
  5. A pop up screen will appear. Similar to Facebook, type your desired name into the text field provided, then select the “Set Custom URL” button.
  6. Note your complete new custom URL. LinkedIn vanity URLs aren’t as straightforward as Facebook vanity URLs. Mine, for example, is ca.linkedin.com/in/christinaworkman. Two things to pay attention to here are the beginning and the middle. Instead of starting with the standard “www” mine starts with “ca”, which indicates I am in Canada. Also, note the “/in/” in the middle of the  URL. If you don’t include that when sharing your URL, nobody will find you.
Now that you have your vanity URLs set up, don’t forget to tell the world! How else do you expect people to find you?
 

This post is part of a regular feature series called Tuesday Tips. Every Tuesday, I will answer some of the questions I receive from clients and readers about WordPress, social media and all other things internet-related. If you have a question you would like me to answer, submit it here.

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