7 Best Practices For Super Powerful URLs

By Miriam Kung | 21 May 2019

Back in 2002, when the first URL shortener was launched, one of its goals was to help you shorten links in social platforms like Twitter, which used to limit posts to 140 characters.

Twitter 140 characters

These days, all types of business, from brands like Bose to B2B companies like JotForm, use short links in various forms across their marketing channels and campaigns.

Because at the end of the day, for any content you share, most of the time it starts with a URL, and optimizing your URLs for more clicks (aka traffic) = more potential customers and sales ๐ŸŽ‰.

Here's an example of Viva Naturals, a natural supplements E-commerce company and Amazon seller, who shortens links to their blog in their Facebook posts:

Viva Naturals

And here's another example of Colendi, a B2C & B2B blockchain based platform, who uses a branded short link in their Twitter profile and social media posts:

Colendi Twitter

Since link marketing is one of our core offerings at PixelMe, one of the most frequent questions we get from new customers is: "How do we get the most value from PixelMe's features?"

To help you supercharge every link you share and grow your business, below are 7 best practices for setting up any URL in PixelMe.

All of these tips can be used across any effort, including non-paid campaigns and channels, so no additional ads spend is needed to unlock these benefits ๐Ÿ™Œ.

All you need is a free PixelMe account, and you'll be ready to go!

1. Shorten & track every URL

Since we provide an all-in-one URL shortener, this goes without saying ๐Ÿ˜‰. But at the heart of URL shortening is the ability to create memorable short links without displaying any long UTM parameters, and track performance on content you share across any marketing channel - especially for curated 3rd party content.

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • From your PixelMe dashboard, click the "Create a link" blue button at the top.
  • Then, just enter your Destination URL and other details, and hit "Save your link".

Shorten a URL

Once you start sharing your links and getting clicks, you'll start seeing your clicks go up in your dashboard in real-time. To track your link performance and see which links and campaigns are performing best, just click on the Analytics tab ๐Ÿ“ˆ in your dashboard.

Some examples of click data we show include: total and unique number of clicks, top 10 links by total and unique clicks, countries, top referrers, and browsers.

Link analytics

๐Ÿš€ Benefits

  • Make links more manageable: Rather than having a long and messy link, you can make it short and easy to promote across any of your marketing platforms.
  • Improve marketing content: By tracking every link you share across marketing channels, you'll be able to better understand which channels have highest engagement and which types of content people are most interested in. You can then use this to inform your marketing plans and get more ideas on new campaigns to launch.

2. Brand links with Custom Domains

Custom domains (aka branded short domains) allow you to brand your short links with your own company name. You can replace the 'pxlme.me' in your links with 'yourbrandname.com', and be in full control of your content.

๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™‚๏ธ Sqreen, a cybersecurity startup, uses the custom domain link.sqreen.com to point to various marketing links they share. For example:

Sqreen

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • Visit our Help Center article to learn how to setup a subdomain or custom domain.
  • For custom domains, simply point your domain to our PixelMe servers by setting it up as an A record that points to our IP address.
  • Then, visit your Settings tab in your dashboard to add your new custom domain.

Custom Domains

๐Ÿš€ Benefits

  • Increase brand awareness: People will see your brand name across every link you share.
  • Increase CTR: Boost CTR by over 34% (based on a Bitly study).
  • Unlimited domains: All PixelMe plans include unlimited custom domains and subdomains.

3. Customize the end of your URLs with slugs

Once you've created a custom domain or subdomain, you can personalize links you share by editing the last part of all your URLs. For example, company.com/blog or company.com/summersale.

๐Ÿ’ก A few tips for setting up URL slugs:

  • Keep them short and descriptive: This helps you attract more clicks and makes it easy for people to remember them and re-share them.
  • Test keywords: Incorporate some short keywords related to content you're sharing to boost SEO. Free tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find high ranking keywords.

๐Ÿ“ฑ Colendi creates many URL slugs for different types of campaigns, such as:

Colendi

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • First, create a subdomain or custom domain.
  • Then, from an existing link, hover over the link, and click the pencil icon ๐Ÿ“ to edit it.
  • You can then update and customize the last part of your URL.

URL slug edit

๐Ÿš€ Benefits

  • Boost CTR and build trust: People will have a clear idea of what they're clicking on and can share to others in their network and social channels.
  • Stay top of mind: Make it easy for people to remember your links. Especially for your key social profiles where you have one link to grab their attention (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn).
  • Optimize for mobile: From mobile, it's easily for people to copy/paste your links into their browser if they wish to come back and visit your links again later on.

4. Track performance with UTM parameters

Adding UTM parameters (aka UTM tags) to your links lets you segment your website traffic by sources, campaigns, and more.

๐Ÿ’ก The 5 different UTM tags include:

  • Source:ย Channel or platform where the traffic starts from e.g. facebook, google, blog.
  • Campaign:ย The name of your campaign or promotion e.g. summersale.
  • Medium:ย Type of link used e.g. ads, social, display, email, organic.
  • Content: Used for A/B testing, to differentiate which variants clicked on e.g. blue-button or green-button.
  • Term: Search keywords youโ€™re targeting in paid search ads e.g. b2b-best-practices.

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • Read our UTM guide which covers the different UTM tags and best practices.
  • For every URL you create, simply add any relevant UTM tags so you can track them in your dashboard afterwards.

Here's an example of a URL with UTMs for a B2B landing page that we'd share on Facebook:

  • Source = facebook
  • Medium = social
  • Campaign = b2btips

UTM tags

๐Ÿš€ Benefits

  • Get a clear picture of which channels and content people interact with most.
  • Invest more in marketing channels and content with high engagement.
  • Launch new campaigns based on content that converts.

5. Edit and optimize existing short links

After you've created and share links, it's easy to edit them anytime.

Examples of what you can edit:

  • Destination URL (as long as you have a custom domain that's been verified โœ…)
  • Link title
  • UTM tags
  • Retargeting pixels
  • Folders and sub-folders

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

In your PixelMe dashboard, you can make any edits to your existing links, then hit "Save changes".

Edit link

๐Ÿš€ Benefits

  • Make changes after you've promoted a link: If you already shared a link in social channels, but realized it's a wrong URL or that you forgot to add UTM tags, you can update your link anytime while still keeping your campaigns active and running.
  • Reuse short links: Since you can edit your target URL, you can also re-share existing short URLs to various audiences, but simply change the URL it redirects to. For example, for your Instagram profile link, you can simply keep the same short link, but edit the Destination URL when you promote new content.

6. Bulk import links

Save time when creating multiple trackable short links by using the Bulk Import feature to add many links at once.

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • Go to your Settings by clicking on the gear icon โš™๏ธ in the left-side of your PixelMe dashboard.
  • Select the second tab at the top for "Bulk Import".
  • Select your ad retargeting pixels and domain to use across all your links.
  • Then, copy/paste any number of links to bulk import all of them.

Bulk import

From there, you'll receive an email from PixelMe once your links have been successfully imported, and can find and update them from a new folder in your PixelMe dashboard.

7. Generate QR Codes

Creating QR codes is another feature you can use in your offline (or online) marketing, while still being able to track their performance online.

Once setup, you can edit the following parameters without changing the QR code: Destination URL, title, UTMs, or tags.

Note: For existing links already connected to a QR code, if you change the shortened URL or slug, the code will reset.

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

To share a link as a QR code, just hover over an existing link, and click on the QR icon.

QR edit

You'll then get a downloadable file with the QR code image, and can use it across any offline materials (event brochures, flyers, etc.).

QR code

8. Bonus: Build Custom Audiences with retargeting pixels

This bonus tip on link retargeting is completely related to running ads - but it's such an easy add-on to existing URLs you setup, that we don't want you to miss out on it! ๐Ÿคฉ

Let's say you're focused on content marketing and SEO for now, but eventually plan to run online ads. Embedding ad retargeting pixels to every link you share lets you automatically build targeted advertising Custom Audiences of people who clicked on them.

That way, if and when you decide to setup ads, you already have super targeted audiences of people who've clicked on your links that you can easily retarget ๐Ÿ’ช.

๐Ÿ”‘ Getting started

  • Learn how to add an existing Pixel ID from your ads platforms into PixelMe.
  • Watch our video playlist on how to find and add pixels to your PixelMe dashboard.
  • Read our guide on how to retarget anyone who clicked on your links with Facebook Ads.

When setting up a new URL, once you've added your Pixel IDs to your dashboard, simply select any number of retargeting pixels to embed them into every link you share.

Link retargeting pixels

So that captures 7 key ways you can take full advantage of all our PixelMe link marketing features.

We're always launching more features and making improvements based on your feedback, and we'd love your thoughts on new features you'd like to see! You can view our public Trello roadmap here, and upvote features from others or add any of your own ideas.

Want to supercharge your URLs? Sign up for a free 7-day PixelMe trial. If you have any questions, just send us a message from the chat feature in the bottom right-hand corner or email us at team@pixelme.me ๐Ÿ’Œ