What is a vanity URL? It is nothing but a shortened URL with your name as you want it. The short URL is easy to remember, so much so that you can even tell it verbally. If you are lucky or resourceful, you might be able to get a unique sounding username that you can use across several different social networks. For example, if you are a stylist to the stars based in New York, you might choose something like ‘stylistNY’ or ‘starstylistNY’ for various networks. Your business page then will be very easy to remember no matter what website it is for – Facebook, Linkedin or Google+. Just enter ‘facebook.com/NYstylist’, and people will be taken directly to your Facebook fan page.
Let us quickly recap some advantages of using a vanity URL for your business –
1. Easy to use and remember
Compare ‘www.facebook.com/pages/XYZ/12345678911111’ to ‘www.facebook.com/XYZ’. While the first is a mouthful, the second can be easily memorized by anyone.
2. Establish identity
You can use any term that symbolizes your business for your vanity URL id. The same term can be used for various social networks firmly establishing your brand identity. All your fans have to remember is to append ‘NYstylist’ to the network. For example – linkedin.com/nystylist or twitter.com/nystylist.
3. Search Engine Friendly
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of a vanity URL – prime real estate in google searches. Business owners spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on Search Engine Optimization just to come up on the first page of a google search. With a vanity URL, you can achieve that with minimal effort for Free! If your URL says ‘best paris bistro’, you will be very accessible to people searching on this term, resulting in more fame and more sales.
Ok, now that you are sold on ( I hope) the need to get a vanity URL, let us see how we can get one on Facebook. Every business page or fan page can get a vanity URL and it is very easy to do so.
Here is a simple checklist for getting the Facebook vanity URL –
1) Do you have Admin access to your page?
2) Are you willing to provide a phone number to receive a verification code from Facebook?
3) Are you sure about which name you want? It cannot be changed later! ( or maybe once, according to the latest from Facebook)
4) Does the username you chose truly reflect your business name or your brand identity?
5) Are you sure you are not unknowingly infringing on someone else’s right with the name you chose? This also ties in with Number 4 above.
Once you have dotted your t’s and crossed your I’s, it is best to come up with three top choices. If your first choice is not available, Facebook may suggest some variations, similar to the name suggestions you get while setting up an email id. You can either go with any suggested name, or check if any of your other choices are available. Facebook generally sends a verification code to your phone, and your username is not granted until you can verify the code – a great security feature from Facebook.
Now that we have made the case for getting a vanity URL, how do you actually go about getting one? It’s very easy and our next post on the topic will walk you through the steps one by one. So what do you think. Are you ready to make this change, and how do you think it will affect you?