Productivity Tools

Using Custom Domains and Branded Links

Let’s make a case for custom domains and branded links.

Are you a new online brand looking to make a splash? Or perhaps you’re a customer service representative hoping to guide customers online as quickly and efficiently as possible. You might be a salesperson trying to spread your product online through targeted ads. Whichever scenario best fits your situation, the solution that you are looking for is branded links.

Branded links are tiny URLs that includes a custom domain name in place of the link shortener’s web address. For example, if you use a Bitly custom domain, instead of directing customers with a URL that starts with www.bit.ly, your link would read www.yourdomain/. In this case, Bitly will still create the tiny URL for you and redirect it to the original site, but the short link will contain your own custom domain name. Custom domain names can also include custom domain extensions, such as .link or .tech instead of .com or .org.

Basically, if you are a business or enterprise using short links, you need to use a custom domain.

bitly custom domain

Why choose custom URLs?

Custom URLs are a great way to advertise your brand and secure your links. Branded links tell potential customers who is hosting the website and what product they are advertising. Branded links are seen as more trustworthy than link shortener domain names, which can be associated with scams or spam. Custom links ensure your clients that the page they are clicking on is safe and associated with your company. It is no surprise, then, that custom links get about a 34% higher click-through rate.

bitly custom url

For larger enterprises, custom domains and branded links are not sufficient in and of themselves. Custom URL shorteners must include security, certification, and compliance consistent with enterprise standards. For example, most enterprises now use SSO to better manage institutional risk with identity and access management tools.

How do branded links work?

Branded links work the same as short URL links in that they act as a redirect, which allows a web page to be accessible under more than one URL address. Link customization can be accessed through a link shortener. When you input your long URL into the shortening tool, you will be prompted to choose customization options before clicking on the “shorten” button. Be warned that you cannot choose a branded domain or link name that someone else has already claimed!

However, most link shorteners require a paid plan for branded links. Bitly and Rebrandly are among the most popular services for custom domains, though BL.INK and Tiny.cc are also good options. For more information on what services these custom link shorteners offer as well as pricing, check out our article on the 5 Best URL Shorteners.

Some of the above brands also offer a free custom URL shortener. Rebrandly’s free URL shortener offers 5 custom domains and 500 branded links, while BL.INK’s free service allows one custom domain and up to 1,000 branded links. For more information about free URL shorteners that include some options for custom URLs and brand domains, check out our article 7 Best Free URL Shorteners in 2020.

How to create custom URLs

rebrandly custom domain

It is easy to create custom URLs with the right link shortener. The process is nearly the same as the one for how to shorten a link, except for the added step of purchasing a domain name. Once you have signed up for a link shortening service, you can purchase a custom domain name from your dashboard. Then, when using your shortener, you can select which domain name you want to use for the short link. Most link shorteners also include customizable link endings.

After your customize your link, you can edit it using link management services or track its success using detailed analytics. Which services you can access depends on both the link shortener and the plan you use. Be sure to thoroughly research your options before committing to a custom URL shortener so you can get the services you need!

Overall, link customization and branded domains are an easy way to attract and secure customers. If you want your small URLs to appeal to the widest audience, then be sure to add branded links to your portfolio today! 

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