Chances are you’ve seen vanity URLs before or used them without realising. These unique web addresses are short, snappy, easy to remember and share, but underneath they hold a strong marketing message that supports your brand’s recognition.

What exactly are vanity URLs?

You can think of vanity URLs in a similar way to how we use personalised car number plates. Instead of being just a series of random numbers and letters, they are branded with something personalised and unique that expresses individuality.

Take for example the real estate renovation TV show The Block. Whilst the long URL is www.9now.com.au/the-block/season-12/extras, you can also access the section by typing www.9now.com.au/theblock. Both URLs point to the same page, but the second one is much shorter, making it easier for users to remember and share. Its simplicity allows the TV shot to promote it and track it more easily.

If you own your own website domain, let’s say it’s YOURNAME.com.au, you will generally be able to create personalised URLs to lead visitors to any page of your website.

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Vanity URLs for social media

Vanity URLs are also becoming increasingly popular on social media. On those platforms, the customisation often comes after the social media site’s own URL. For instance, facebook.com/YOURNAME.

Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter let you choose or modify the web address they give you when you sign up, calling it a personalised URL. However, the rules depend on the platform. Also, you should be mindful that on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube you are only allowed to change your personalised name once.

On Twitter and Instagram, your custom URL includes your username. Bear in mind that if you change it, the URL will change. This can make it harder for people to find you, especially if you promoted it widely or if you have a big audience that is using it to link to and communicate with you.

For these reasons, it is really important to choose your URLs wisely. It is best to stick to a name that you will be happy with in the long run.

Unless you are extremely well known, like Mark Zuckerberg who uses his nickname Zuck at the end of his Facebook URL, consider adding something that will make you stand out.

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Using your profession, such as YOURNAMErealestate or specific words such as the suburb you work in, for example, BalmainAgent or PenrithRealEstate, can add credibility. However, think mobility and avoid relying on your agency’s business name, such as Ray White or LJ Hooker, just in case you want to move around.

Being stuck with a name that isn’t relevant to you anymore could confuse potential clients or, even worse, you could be forced to start a new profile and build your valuable connections from scratch again.

Why should you use vanity URLs?

There are plenty of reasons to use vanity URLs;

  • They reinforce your brand name or message.
  • You can provide a quick reference to places people can connect with you by including them in your email signature.
  • They also help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), meaning that Google will work out that all these profiles belong to one and the same person and will help you be found more easily. This is particularly true if the URLs you choose are consistent across all the platforms you’ve created a profile on.

Branded URLs also allow you to take control of your online promotions. On sites like Twitter, which automatically transform long URL into shorter ones, you can decide in advance what your followers will see. Doing so can make your message more memorable. Using branded words in your addresses makes you look more reputable and can increase link engagement.

For example my brand Hoole.co uses shortened vanity URL links to content that I post to social media that always start with go.hoole.co, this helps convey the message that you are going to click through to my content, and it has a pleasant rhyme to it, too.

But the benefits of vanity URLs go beyond the online environment. They are also extremely useful for offline promotion. They are easily added to marketing material such as business cards and flyers, helping your offline connections find you in the digital world. And because they are easy to vocalise, they can be slipped into any conversation.

When used well, vanity URLs will create unity between your channels. In turn, your personal branding will be reinforced – an essential for any real estate agent wishing to succeed online.

If you would like help to polish your online profiles and make yourself look digitally attractive, my team and I can do just that. We offer packages that include written profiles and bios for all the must-be-seen-social-channels, and we will also set up your digital profiles, create banners, upload images and ensure you look your very best, online. And yes, we will also sort out all your vanity URLs. Just click the Get Started button at the top of the page to find out more.

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Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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