Vanity URL for Facebook, Twitter & Google+

Vanity URL for Facebook, Twitter & Google+

The more social networks you join, the more URL’s you have to remember and since there is no uniformity to social network URL’s your forced to say things like “just look me up on Facebook”.  Some social networks like LinkedIn offer vanity URL’s, but even then you have limited uniformity between your social network profiles.

There are a few different ways you can setup uniformed URL’s for all your social networks. My personal favorite is to create sub domains for each social network and then use a 301 redirect to send visitors to each of the social networks.

For example:

Standard Facebook Link: www.facebook.com/pages/Branding-Arc/151532158278400?sk=app_4949752878

Our Facebook Link: fb.brandingarc.com

This shortened URL form is a great little marketing trick that can be setup in just a few minutes. It adds to the professionalism of your social network and allows you to list all of your social networking URL’s in a clean format on business cards, fliers or other marketing materials.

Below are some simple instructions to help you get started in setting up your forwarded sub domains… If you read the instructions below and don’t have any idea what I am talking about we can set this all up for you,  just call us at 561-463-2725 to get started.

Step 1 – Create Sub Domains

Log into your hosting account and select your domain controller. Add sub domains to your selected domain name. I suggest using something simple like:

Facebook – fb.brandingarc.com

Twitter – twitter.brandingarc.com

Google+plus.brandingarc.com

LinkedIn – li.brandingarc.com

Feedburner – feed.brandingarc.com

Diggdigg.brandingarc.com

YouTubeyoutube.brandingarc.com

When setting up your sub domains, create folders with the appropriate names in your root domain on your FTP. GoDaddy and most other providers will create it automatically, but be sure your are directing each of your domains to the correct folder on your FTP.

Step 2 – Redirect Sub Domains to Social Profiles

Once your sub domains are active, it’s time to redirect the sub domains so visitors are automatically sent to your appropriate social profile. You can repeat  the redirect process for each social network you are setting up.

  1. Create a text file and rename it “.htaccess”. (not “.htaccess.txt”)
  2. Load the .htaccess file into each of the sub domain folders you created in Step 1.
  3. Within the .htaccess file in each folder, enter the following code to setup a 301 permanent redirect :

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://fb.brandingarc.com$1 [R=301,L]

*Replace “fb.brandingarc.com” with a link to your social network page.

After you have updated all of your .htaccess files, upload them to your FTP server and wait for the sub domains to be active which can take as long as 24 hours, but usually takes about 2 hours.

Step 3 – Testing

You’ll know when your sub domains are active because when you go to each address, it will forward you to the appropriate social profile. Test each forwarded sub domain to make sure that all of your links are working properly. If you make changes to the .htaccess file that are not showing up when you refresh the browser, you may need to clear the cache in your browser to see changes.

Conclusion

Setting up vanity URL’s for your social network profiles is a great little marketing tool that doesn’t cost you anything but time. Although it takes some time to get everything up and running, it is great to be able to put your social networking profiles on business cards and other marketing materials.