WiscWeb - Vanity URLs
This document will walk you through the limitations of vanity URLs and will describe our alternative solution.
- What is a vanity URL/Domain?
- Is a Vanity URL Needed?
- Limitations of Vanity URLs
- Options Unsupported by WiscWeb
What is a Vanity URL/Domain?
A vanity URL or vanity Domain is a unique web address that is commonly used (at least, on campus) for the sole purpose of redirecting to a longer address or one that might be difficult to memorize/remember. This is typically something used for marketing purposes to shorten the URL listed in printed materials, social media, or other websites.
The following is an example:
Regular Web Address: something.wisc.edu/staff/bucky-badger
Vanity URL/Domain: bucky.wisc.edu
Is a Vanity URL Needed?
In most cases, it is unlikely that a vanity URL is actually needed. Most web addresses are short enough to be remembered or are already provided as an active link in documentation and therefore, a shorter URL is not required.
A good question to ask is: "What domain/URL do I want people to go to?" If it differs from what you have now, the site can be re-launched to publish under a new domain. Then, we can redirect the old domain to the new one. To facilitate this process, please fill out a Launch Request Form and choose the radio button for "I am re-building an existing site."
Limitations of Vanity URLs
- Vanity URLs/Domains can dilute the SEO metrics tied to your primary domain name
Options Unsupported by WiscWeb
At UW-Madison, we have a tool meant for the purpose of shortening URLs, which can be helpful when the web address is too long or difficult to remember.
If you require a short URL for a web address, please navigate to go.wisc.edu and set up a "Go URL." This URL can be used in print and web/digital marketing, as needed. Additional information about this option are located in goUW - Shortened and Vanity URLs.
- If you have questions about vanity URLs/Domains, please reach out to the WiscWeb Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.