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How to Find the Best Branded Short Domain for Your Links

How to Find the Best Domain for Your Branded Links

I’m sure you’ve seen branded links popping up everywhere these days. Most major brands like Pepsi, Virgin, Starbucks, and Samsung are already using them to associate the content they share with their brands. And for a reason.

Branded links help build brand recognition.
Having your brand on a link makes any content you share more visible and associates it with you.

They also help send quality signals about the content you share.
Users who found the content helpful might be more likely to remember where they got it from. (You can check out all the benefits of branded links in this video here).

And getting a branded domain is actually quite simple. However, finding the perfect domain name to use as your custom link shortener can be quite tricky. But here are some things to remember when choosing your branded short domain:

1- Your link domain shouldn’t be too long

A branded link is a shorter version of a URL you want to share online.As the name suggests, a branded short domain should be, well, short. You don’t want your domain name to take up too much of the links estate. You’ll want to leave room to add in a meaningful keyword that will stand out and indicate what the content your link leads to is about.

2- It has to recall your brand

This one’s obvious, isn’t it?

3- Your link domain has to quickly convey the brand behind it

Just like Pepsi’s pep.si. Or Virgin’s virg.in. Later in the post, I’ll show you few ways to achieve it, even if you have a long brand name.

4- It has to be unique to you

Since the point of having the branded link is to provide a point of reference for the brand, it has to be unique to your brand only.

5- It must be memorable

For your link to work, your audience shouldn’t have any problems remembering it. Pep.si or virg.in, for instance, fall into the memory with no effort. Spr.ly (Samsung Galaxy) isn’t – and it hardly relates to the brand, don’t you think?

6- It has to be simple

A branded link can’t be too complex either. For instance, I think Starbuck’s link – sbux.co is quite confusing. The same with the aforementioned Samsung Galaxy.

7- Lastly, it should be simple to pronounce

Since you might be sharing your branded link in a conversation or over the phone, it’s important that it’s easy to pronounce and spell.

Three Steps to Choose the Best Branded Short Domain for Creating your Links

Step 1. Identify How You’re Known on the Internet Already

First, you need to identify how you’re actually known on the Internet. Is it by your brand name? First or second name? Or perhaps it’s a nickname?

Since your branded domain will represent your brand, be it business or personal, make sure that you pick what your audience will be the most familiar with.

For instance, in spite of his astonishing personal brand, Richard Branson prefers to use Virgin’s branded link when sharing content online. In doing so, he clearly communicates that the company is more important than him.

Step 2. Choose and Add a .Link Extension

The .link domain extension is very convenient as it clearly reveals the purpose behind the domain – sharing content through links.

It’s also easy to spell and simple to remember.

And most importantly, it’s a new domain extension. This means that many words and phrases variations are still available on it.

Having said that, you may have to act fast as domain speculators are probably hard at work now registering different, potentially popular word combinations and phrases to resell later at a higher price.

BRAND + .LINK

To find out if your branded .link domain is still available, use Rebrandly’s domain search tool:

secure your domainSimply type in your brand name and the tool will output a list of available link domains:

brand domainIf a domain is available, you will be able to register it directly through our tool – and at a price that’s lower than the industry’s average.

available domains

But what if you have a long brand name? Or if a .link extension is unavailable with it?

In such case, you could try using a country-specific domain extension (ccTLD) to spell your brand’s name.

Wikipedia defines ccTLD as a country code top-level domain that is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory.

Many countries allow to register their ccTLDs without having a physical presence there and thus, might allow you to use them in your link domain.

Here’s how to do it:

Take two last letters of your company name and check if there is a country which uses them as a top-level domain. For instance, YouTube could use a Belgian domain .be – youtu.be. Virgin uses an Indian ccTLD – virg.in.

Rebrandly’s domain search tool does it for you. When you type a text in the box the tool verifies if it can be registered with a country code. For example, if you type “Seriously” and the tool suggests “Serious.ly”.

You can also filter your results by country to see what what options are available. There’s also a full list of country specific top-level domains over on Wikipedia to help you find out if you could take this approach.

Even if a ccTLD doesn’t work with your brand name, you might find something that will work for your business. Lots of startups are turning to .io as their choice of TLD, so much so that this ccTLD for British Indian Ocean Territory is often associated with tech startups.

How Rebrandly Works

What if you can’t do either of those options?

If your brand name is too long for the .link domain and impossible to recreate with ccTLDs, your only option is to shorten it. This is the last resort…

You could, for instance, remove certain characters that would not obstruct the meaning. So for Rebrandly, we could actually use rbrndly. It’s a shorter version but doesn’t disguise the company behind it.

You could also swap digraphs for similar phenome – i.e. the way Starbucks uses X for “cks” – sbux.co).

Lastly, you could use Thesaurus.net to find alternatives for words in your brand name.

If, however, you’re still struggling to find the right branded short domain for to use for your links, Tweet at us over on @RebrandlyBuzz and we will have someone whip up some ideas for you.

What do you think?

Are you interested in using branded links to share content online? Are you looking for the perfect branded short domain for your business? Or perhaps you’ve already found one. Share your thoughts with us in the comments. We’re eager to hear the clever ways you’ve integrated TLDs and ccTLDs with your brand’s name.

Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • Choosing a branded short domain
  • How to pick a domain name to use for your branded short links
  • Branded short domain inspiration
  • How to find the best domain name

Originally Posted: November 9th, 2015.
Post Updated: April 26th, 2018.

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Pawel Grabowski
Copywriter and content marketer helping SaaS startups attract new users, build engaged audience & drive more signups. More on SmashingCopy.com.