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Best Practices for Short URL Structure

Implementing short URLs into your marketing strategy is a great first step towards unlocking data insights! Next, establish a consistent structure that works well for your audience and your team. Read on for 7 tips from the link management pros on creating the perfect short link structure for your brand.

  1. Use a branded URL. Branded URLs are sometimes referred to as “vanity URLs”, which is logical since appearance and branding are extremely important for modern marketers. If you invest energy and budget in generating valuable content and services for your audience, but then link to that content using a boring, generic link, you are missing a chance to re-inforce your brand. Branded URLs are also often seen as more reliable, and audiences are more likely to click through if they associate the URL with your brand instead of some unknown entity like goo.gl or bit.ly. We recommend selecting a branded URL that is succinct to preserve your character count. You can be as creative as you like when selecting a branded URL. A few clever BudURL customers have used “gorilla.me”, “finishyour.run”, “savvy.life”, “tv.shows”, etc. Alternatively, using a prefix like “go” or “to” in front of your company name is also recommended (example: “go.budurl.co”). If you’re unsure which way to go, here’s a great primer to get you started. 
  2. Limit redirect hops. When people click a short link that redirects them only once, most don’t notice or mind. However when you start redirecting your audience multiple times, their experience becomes increasingly complicated. Perhaps they clicked on a link to your blog, but they are sent through two or three “quick” redirects, perhaps from a 3rd party ad integration or web analytics tracker. Audience members may start to fear that your link is part of a phishing scam and kill the page. Integrating BudURL directly with 3rd party tools is a great way to avoid unnecessary redirects and still make sure all of your data is being fed through your desired tools.
  3. Don’t use case-sensitive short URLs.  In general, case-sensitive short URLs are unnecessary and potentially problematic. If your URL is go.mywebsite.com/A123b and someone types in go.mywebsite.com/a123B, then they could be sent to a Page Not Found message instead of your content. We recommend never using case-sensitive URLs. It’s better to have a higher number of characters in the hash than to accidentally send your traffic to a 404 (Page Not Found) error. If you are using a non case-sensitive link management service such as BudURL, then you can use capitalization to drive better readability without worrying that a mis-typed capital or lowercase letter will send your audience to an error page.
  4. Make your hash pronounceable and readable. The hash is the part of the URL that follows the /. It’s best to make this part pronounceable because it’s more easily read aloud and remembered. Imagine if you are running a radio ad and need to direct the audience to your promotional page. Would you rather the destination be “go.yourbrand.com/124uhk” or “go.yourbrandom/radio”?
  5. Customize your hash strategically (or don’t). Customization strategy will vary according to each organization’s business needs, but the general rule of them is to customize your hash when you are directing users to your own content. For example, if you are sending prospects to your software’s pricing page, then you could use go.budurl.co/pricing. However, if you are directing your audience to outside content, such as a news article you recommend, then using a randomly generated (preferably pronounceable) hash will do the trick.
  6. Use SSL links. If you want your audience to view you as secure and trustworthy, chances are you are already using SSL encryption in your links. We recommend using a service (like BudURL) that allows SSL to be used with your short links. When you post using SSL, you will use the “https” protocol instead of “http” at the beginning of your link. Not only will you give your audience more confidence in your content, but your SSL links will also be ranked higher in Google searches than non-SSL links.
  7. Append parameters to the short link. Do you use Google Analytics or another analytics platform? We recommend appending your short links to the end of your BudURL link. This can make changing parameters quick and easy if you are publishing a short link across multiple platforms. For example, you can publish go.budurl.co/abc?source=twitter when you publish to Twitter, and go.budurl.co/abc?instagram when you publish to Instagram.

Do you have recommendations or questions about building your short URL strategy? Let us know in the comments!

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