Back in the day – a.k.a. the early 90’s – just having a website meant that a business was at least somewhat ahead of the e-business curve. If your business owned one of the less than 3,000 websites in 1994, for example, you could feel pretty confident that, in a relatively small marketplace, both current and potential web-savvy consumers could find your site and whatever specific page you might want them to visit.
But that feeling wouldn’t last long. The number of both used and unused website addresses has grown exponentially over the last two decades, buttressed in no small part by GoDaddy, the U.S.’s go-to domain registrar that was founded in 1997 and has deftly transitioned from a message of “if you’ve got a business you need a website” to “if you’ve got an idea, get a website.” Indeed, the British internet services company Netcraft put the total number of websites at well over 1.8 billion in January 2018.
So what’s a business or individual who wants consumers to find their homepage, a specific page on their website, or a targeted landing page to do?
Get a vanity URL!
Defined most simply as a unique web address that is branded for marketing purposes, a vanity URL is the word or brief combination of words that, after hopefully being typed between www. and .com, take consumers exactly where you want them to go.
But before you begin scouring GoDaddy for what only you might think is the catchiest URL out there, here are some things that a good vanity URL should be:
- AVAILABLE! It probably goes without saying, but if a vanity URL is going to do you any good it needs to be available for purchase. And while GoDaddy might tell you that you can make an offer on a claimed URL or consider purchasing marketing101.org because marketing101.com is taken, don’t waste your time.
- AFFORDABLE! It might come as a surprise, but there are some pretty catchy vanity URLs out there that are available for purchase but are way too costly to be worth the investment. BuyMyBook.com, anyone? It can be yours for $29,800.00 then just $14.99/year. Nope.
- MEMORABLE! Since the whole point of a vanity URL is for it to be later recalled by the consumer, you definitely need to do whatever you can to increase the chances that it makes it into the deep recesses of their brain. For the most important memorability factors, keep reading…
- SHORT! Consumers are much more likely to remember a short vanity URL, as well as to actually type it into their browser correctly, so unless you’re really just planning to use your URL as a gag (see final sentence of this blog) don’t go for the longest URL in history award.
- CATCHY! Consumers are also more likely to remember a one- or two- or three-word URL that has some pop to it, whether through rhyme or humor, so don’t be afraid to let your or your creative team’s creative juices flow.
- PRONOUNCABLE! Closely tied to memorable and short and catchy, a good vanity URL needs to be easily read, whether to a consumer’s self or by the man or woman who might be marketing it for you on TV or on the radio. So read your potential URL aloud at least three times to make sure it’s not an unpleasant mouthful of syllables.
Now that you’re armed with these tips, Happy Hunting!