UPDATE: Shortly after this post went live, the folks at Live Oak 360 decided to change the name of EZ.com to budURL.pro to maximize and combine their branding efforts. As a result, everything below is still valid, just swap every mention of EZ.com with budURL.pro and you will be up to date.
URL shortener? What does that have to do with branding. Most experts will tell you to maximize your brand every opportunity you can. You have worked hard to build your personal reputation. This is solid advice for any company, and I suggest that it is equally as important to you and your personal brand. Yes you, the individual contributor, the sales person, customer service rep, accountant or any other profession. We are in a time when the ability to establish, promote and leverage your personal brand is not only possible but beneficial. If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend you visit and follow Dan Schwabel or on Twitter @DanSchawbel, a respected expert on personal branding.
A new and creative way to extend your branding is by creating and using your own custom URL shortener. You know the services like bit.ly, tinyURL.com, budURL.com and others. Twitter has just entered the game by introducing (and forcing) their own shortener (t.co) on you when using their service. Why not claim your name, company name or brand name and use it as your own personal URL shortener? I have done just that about two months ago, and you will notice I am using FTF.sh to shorten long URL’s in my email, tweets, blog posts and other locations as well. FTF.sh – chosen as the shortest abbreviation of Fill the Funnel and the .sh extension to stand for shortener. Just my attempt at being clever. For the curious, the .sh domain is created for an island in the south Atlantic called Saint Helena.
I was able to accomplish this by using an innovative service from Live Oak 360 called EZ.com. They are the same company that provides my favorite shortener in the past – budURL.com. I wrote about them in last year’s 30 Web Tools series and have had nothing but success with them.
Advantages of creating your own, custom URL shortener from EZ.com:
Here are the steps to follow to create your own URL shortening service:
- Select the three letters or more that you would like to use for your domain name, like Bob or SalesGuy, etc.
- Select which top level domain you would like to use. Here is a list of those available other than the standard such as .com, .org, etc.
- Purchase your domain name using the method available for top level domain selected in #2. I selected .sh because of the hint of “shortener” , but there are many others to consider. Possibly select one that adds the last two characters of your name, like fillthefunn.el as an example. Be creative. Understand that in most cases you are going to purchase the domain name from another country so pricing will be higher than going over to GoDaddy and buying it for $10.00 a year. I paid around $85.00 US for my first year and then my renewal runs about $50.00 US per year.
Easy to follow steps to get set and running with your new service:
- Go to EZ.com and sign up for on of the paid plans. That is required if you want to use your new custom domain. They offer a free trial
- Add your new domain name to your newly created EZ.plan account. A good tutorial is provided on the site.
- Enjoy the best in class statistics and tracking information in your EZ.com dashboard and the extension of your branding to your new shortener.
Here are some examples of where and how to use your new capability:
- Links posted to social networks
- Tweet with your custom url domains all from our bookmarklet
- Profile links on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, & other social networks
- Landing page links
- Blog posts and comments on sites that I contribute to, but cannot see the stats
- Links embedded inside mobile, iPhone, and Internet-aware applications
- Links to PDFs and other files on my website and in emails
- Advertising links
- Emails to prospects and clients
- Email campaigns
- Links in customer support emails
You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you as an individual sales person in a company that is not your own. I suggest that is a terrific reason to do this on your own behalf, incorporated into your work at “bigname” company. Think about it – you will now have be able to track the effectiveness and response to every link you send out-from any source. You are building your reputation and credibility as yourself, as your own personal brand. Your customer is buying because of you and the relationship that you have built. Odds are that you will make a job or employer change in the next several years-own your efforts where ever you go or do. Personal branding works-think about it and read some of Dan’s work referenced at the beginning of this post.
Share your new URL with all of us below. As usual, if you have questions or get stuck somewhere, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the Call Me graphic on the right side of the blog. Have some fun and be creative. When you see FTF.SH on the web from now on, you will know the full story.