How to Use Branded Domains in Link Shortening

By TinyURL Marketing

Last updated on August 17, 2023

We’ve established that branded domains for link shortening can go a long way towards reinforcing brand recall and keeping your business top-of-mind among customers.

Of course, the question remains: how can you best use branded domains with a custom domain link shortener?

Branded domains are highly versatile and can be a great way to make your brand stand out — whether it’s a pure branding move, or an added advantage across your social media and marketing campaigns.

With over 33,000 new domain names registered every day, you want to do everything in your power to stand out. Boring, bland, or overly long domains won’t do your business any favors.

Luckily, that’s where branded domains come into play.

Now, branded domains are powerful and very useful on their own. But, if you want to supercharge the results you can get from them, you’ll want to use a link shortener in tandem. 

In this article, we’ll cover what branded domains are, offer some examples to get your mind working, then show you how to use a link shortener with a custom domain.

What are Branded Domains?

Put simply, branded domains are the first part of a branded link. They’re the first half of a URL that keeps your branding strong while keeping your URLs smaller and easier to remember. 

You’ll sometimes hear them referred to as “vanity domains” since they’re domains with no content that are used for the sole purpose of shortening links. 

For example, let’s say you have a website with a wildly long domain name. Instead of having to suffer with your existing choice or rebuild from scratch (at least SEO-wise), you can use a much shorter branded domain in tandem with a link shortener to send links that better drive traffic. 

There are several reasons to do this, but here are some of the most common:

  • Decrease the length of your URL to make it more shareable and clickable on social media
  • Make your URL friendly and more memorable overall (great if you’re stuck with an exact match domain with lower branding abilities)
  • Change your URL to match your branding and marketing campaigns, so it becomes part of your brand strategy
  • Get access to in-depth analytics about who’s clicking your links, what device they used, where they’re located, and more
  • Makes your links easier to click on and type into their browser, leading to more clicks and traffic

Examples of Branded Domains Used Right (and Wrong)

Now, you might be wondering, what do branded domains look like in the wild? Chances are, you’ve already clicked on dozens of these links without even realizing it. 

Here are some great examples by well-known brands:

When you type in any of the branded domains above, you’ll be taken directly to their respective homepages. Give it a try yourself. 

Now, that you’ve seen what good branded domains look like, let’s examine some alternatives. To avoid throwing website owners under the bus, we’re going to highlight some theoretical examples instead. 

  • — Domain is too long and might be confused for spam
  • — Domain is shorter, but doesn’t give any context to what it’s about)
  • — Domain uses dashes and numbers, making it harder to remember (and easier to confuse for spam)

Even though the domain names above don’t go to actual websites (at least, not when we last checked), the principles are important to remember. 

Best Practices for Using Branded Domains

Before you start using branded domains, you’ll want to keep the following guidelines in mind. Ignore these at your peril!

Be Short, Sweet, and Memorable

Nearly all branded domains are shortener and more engaging than standard domain names. After all, you’re trying to make it easier for your users, not more difficult. Make sure your branded domain is related to your brand just enough, while still having a bit of that “cool factor”.

The only time it’ll be longer is if you’re trying something completely new to get user attention.

For example, back in the days of CDs, System of a Down released an album called “Steal This Album”, coupled with unique packaging that resembled a burned CD. There are a few different theories as to why they did this, but back when you used to have to buy music in person, it stood out on the shelves and created a media buzz.

To bring this back to the digital world (where your customers live), if you’re running a new product launch, you could use a wildly imaginative (but not overly long) branded domain to catch the eye.

In general, you want something short, sweet, and to the point. But, you do have the freedom to experiment with longer branded domains. Just make sure you know “why” you’re using them and how they fit into your campaigns as a whole. 

Consider Using ccTLDs (Country Code Top-Level Domains)

Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) were originally used to specify certain countries where companies and websites were located. However, as tech evolves, the application of these domains evolves too. ccTLDs not only look cool, but they help you come up with creative branded domains.

For example, Verisign pays the tiny island nation of Tuvalu, $5 million a year to use the “.tv” domain name extension. Now, you don’t need to shell out millions of dollars for your customer domain, but it’s worth experimenting with different TLDs. 

Plus, you might just help the economy of a small island nation — who knows?

Be Consistent with Your Branding and Use

When using branded domains it’s not uncommon to get carried away with registering different custom domain names. But, a word of caution. Branded domain names should be used to strengthen your brand, not confuse your visitors.

So, if your main domain name is ‘‘ and you’ve been using the branded domain ‘‘, make sure you stick with this one when sending out most of your links. 

You always have the option of registering multiple domains and setting up permanent redirects. This is what Google and other big sites do for common misspellings. But, this is primarily done to help capitalize on lost traffic, while ensuring users don’t end up on a random (probably spammy) website.  

Use a Link Shortening Platform

When using branded domains you’d be silly not to use a custom domain link shortener. Branded domains seem simple (all domains do really), but with everything that goes on behind the scenes, you’re only setting yourself up for a headache by trying to do everything yourself. 

By using a link shortener with a custom domain, the entire setup and configuration process is automated. Plus, you get access to data monitoring and link analytics tools, so you can see how your domains are performing. All of this data will help you better understand your audience and make link tracking and attribution way less of a headache. 

Plus, you’ll have all your visitors telling you how good your links look. Okay — probably not that, but you’re sure to have some visitors who appreciate a clean URL just as much as we do. 

Easy Steps for Using a Branded Domain with TinyURL

Ready to get started with branded domains? With TinyURL, it couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is follow the steps below to get started with your very own branded domain.

  1. First, you need to connect your domain to TinyURL. If you don’t have a branded domain just yet, then you can purchase one directly through the platform. If you have an existing domain, then you can connect it to TinyURL in a couple of clicks.
  1. With your domain connected, all you need to do is select your branded domain from the drop-down list. You can add a nearly unlimited number of branded domains to your account.
  1. After that, you can shorten your link, so it’s something more manageable and memorable.
  1. After that, you can shorten your link, so it’s something more manageable and memorable.
  1. Then, start using your link across your social media profiles, emails, SMS marketing, and more.
  1. Over time, you can track the performance of your links with TinyURL’s built-in analytics. You’ll be able to see your traffic, who’s clicking, what devices they’re using, and more.

Best of all, this shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes of input to set up. Imagine being able to create, deploy, and start using branded domains this quickly — all with measurable data, showing you what works and what doesn’t.


By using a link shortener with a custom domain, you can enhance your branding, create unique marketing campaigns, give yourself a fresh start with a “new” URL, and so much more.

TinyURL makes it easy to find, buy, and set up your branded domain in a few clicks. Plus, with in-depth link analytics, you can learn more about your visitors, and improve your business over time.

Learn more about our branded domain and custom domain link shortener features, along with our beginner-friendly link management and short link analytics tools.

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