Small businesses increasingly leverage social media for their marketing. But many small businesses are missing out on a great opportunity in their social media posts: branded short links.
Because of character limits, especially on Twitter, most companies end up using a link shortener to link to their site as well as articles on other sites. By utilizing a third-party link shortener that creates unwieldy links like bitly.com/sOmEThingWeIrD12, you’re missing out on a great marketing opportunity.
Instead, consider customizing these links to match your own brand.
What Do Customized Link Shorteners Look Like?
Big brands now use unique domains in their social media posts. For example, Pepsi’s links start with Pep.si, LinkedIn uses Lnkd.in and Google uses Goo.gl.
A study conducted by Bitly showed that link clicks can increase by up to 34% when companies use branded link shorteners. These links look legitimate and customers automatically trust them.
Think these custom links are only available for the big guys? Think again!
Getting branded short links is possible with your own domain name using software or an affordable service that creates short links.
If you have a bit of tech savvy and a hosting account, you can set up your own link shortener on what ever domain you want using YOURLs. YOURLs offers a set of PHP scripts that allow you to set up and start creating short links. It includes decent stats as well.
Don’t want to bother with installing and hosting your own link shortener? A fairly new service called Rebrandly has a free plan and lets you use a custom domain of your choice.
If you want to leave the tech to someone else, or you want lots of extra features, consider a paid service.
Bitly offers a service on custom domains that it calls ‘Branded Short Domains.’ This requires an Enterprise account and can be expensive. Bitly doesn’t list pricing on its website but expect to pay hundreds of dollars a month for this account.
Another popular option is BudURL. It offers plans with a custom domain starting at $99 a month.
Picking Your Short Domain
You want your link shortener domain to be short but clearly aligned with your brand. Remember the examples mentioned at the top of this article.
Because you want a short domain, consider registering a country code domain name or other extension that has just two letters to the right of the dot such as .co or .me.
You might also consider a new top-level domain name. Although some of these are longer than .com and all are longer than country code domains, you can find available domains that are shorter on the left side of the dot, keeping the overall domain length short.
Bitly has a combined limit of 15 characters between the left and right of the dot for its branded short domains, but you probably want to go even shorter than that.
Try it Out
Want to stand out from the crowd? Start your search for a short domain at Namecheap today, then set it up with your link shortener.
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.