A vanity URL is quite simply a URL that is more polished, attractive, succinct, identifying, and professional. In the blogging world, just about everything we use can have a vanity URL. So today I’ll discuss how to set up vanity URL’s for some of the most common things we as bloggers use.
This is probably the most important item to have a vanity URL (a.k.a. a domain name) for. “www.MeasuringFlower.com” is not only shorter and better-looking than “www.MeasuringFlower.blogspot.com,” but it is also more appealing to potential sponsors and partners. It expresses that you care about your blog enough to purchase a one-of-a-kind name for it. Plus, it feels really neat when you have your own domain!
Blogger blogs are easy and cheap to obtain domain names for. You simply go into your settings and under “publishing” click on “+Add a custom domain” and it will walk you through the steps (my Blogger account has the newest format, so it may appear slightly differently for others). Purchasing a domain (which, technically, you’re purchasing only the registration) costs a mere $10. And one awesome thing with Blogger is, once you’ve set up your new domain, your old “blogspot” address will always redirect to it.
WordPress.org (WordPress.org is where you use your own domain name; WordPress.com is the free WordPress version similar to .blogspot) is more detailed and more expensive to get a domain name set up. The main appeal for selecting WordPress over Blogger is the fact that the author owns the rights to their own published works and the format is easier to use with many more features.
To get set up with your own domain, you must first purchase hosting. I am currently using DreamHost; however, because I have had issues with their customer service, I may be switching to a different host once this term expires. Before selecting a host, do your research (a hard lesson I have learned). Do an online search for reviews to see what people are saying about it. And, as my friend Nicole from Mama NYC pointed out, be careful to notice who is publishing the reviews (one host she looked into had high praises–but the host itself was the one publishing those reviews).
Once a host account is purchased and ready to go, set up your WordPress account through the host. I don’t know all of the details about this because I switched from Blogger to WordPress a couple months ago and, afraid I’d royally screw something up, I hired someone to do it for me. Which, honestly, I’d personally recommend (but it depends on your skill level and determination). I’ve heard horror stories about other bloggers who transferred or set up their own WordPress blogs, so I played on the safe side!
This is long and, well, non-memorizable: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Measuring-Flower/157356782746839651. However, this is short, memorable, and nice-looking: http://www.facebook.com/MeasuringFlower.
To get a Facebook vanity URL for your fan page, you must first reach 25 “likers.” Once you hit 25 likers, do the following:
- Click on the “Edit Page” button.
- Click on “Basic Information” in the menu to the left.
- Change the “Username”. Remember that you can only do this once, so make sure it is short, to the point, professional, and something you really like.
Facebook groups (especially closed ones for events or blogger opps) have picked up momentum in the blogging world recently. If you have your own Facebook group and would like a shorter, more memorable URL (like http://www.facebook.com/groups/yourblogtitle instead of http://www.facebook.com/groups/123456789012345/), here’s how to do it.
- Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of your group.
- Select “Edit Group.”
- Scroll down to where it says “Email Address.”
- Click the “Set Up Group Email” button.
- Enter whatever name you’d like for your group. Make sure you REALLY like the name you’re inputting here because you will NOT be able to change it EVER!
- Click the “Create Email” button.
- Save and you’re set. The string of boring numbers in your group’s URL will change to the name you selected (plus it will add an email address by which members can post to the group via text).
Go to gplus.to. In the “Nick Name” field, type your blog name, your personal name, etc. (whatever you want to be the identifying name of the page). In the “Your Google+ ID” field, copy-paste just the number from your long profile URL: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110079139630258382316/ Click the “Add” button and you’re set.
Not every blogger uses LinkedIn, but if you do (I’ve found that it makes a good way to connect with brands), you can change your super-long, annoying URL there too. So a LinkedIn URL will go from this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/measuring-flower/1b/a1/1b1 to this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/measuringflower. Here’s how to do this:
- Go to the “Profile” tab.
- Click on “Edit Profile”.
- Scroll down to where it says “Public Profile” in the big box.
- Click the “Edit” link.
- There will be a box that says “Your Public Profile URL” in the upper right-hand corner. Click on the “Customize your public profile URL” link.
- A box will pop up where you can enter your vanity name (your name, your blog’s name, etc.). Save and you’re set.
Do you know of any other social networks, etc., wherein you can set up a vanity URL? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Is it common for bloggers to create fan pages on facebook? I feel so behind on all of this blogging stuff. All I know is that I want more readers. And I was throwing around the idea of a fan page. . . but was afraid of seeming tacky. You are pure inspiration. . . and very helpful. Thank you.
Nice summary post. I thought I had figured out a workaround for the Google+ issue earlier today, but I just went to try my link and, er, it isn’t working. My idea was to create a subdomain on my own URL pointing to my google plus page. I can’ imagine why it isn’t connecting though, unless the DNS servers just need to update. Hmm… stay tuned. I’ll try to remember to check back!
Kristi Bernard says
Wow! You have share a lot of great information. It seems I need to make some changes. Thanks.