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Building a URL shortener strategy whilst keeping a sense of Company identity

Background

I first came up with the Company name nearly 15 years ago when I was first thinking about the idea of setting up my own company. There was just something about the name Solutions Reality that I really liked. I have always been a problem solver and that drove the first part of the name and Reality followed because not only was that the idea, that the solutions were founded in reality but was also a gentle pun on the idea of Real IT, which has always been my driving passion.

The problem

Fast forwarding to 2016, I find myself stuck with a minor dilemma as I start to rebuild my website and relaunch our online presence. The URL is ‘too long’. If I want to start some sort of social campaign with Twitter or Facebook then using the full url solutionsreality.com is just too long, it’s going to eat up valuable characters especially when using the short text options!

Some of the solution

I knew that there were ways to do it and was already aware of sites such as bit.ly but that didn’t seem like quite the right solution for what I wanted to do. Surely using the bit.ly link on everything I do is not really going to make much sense for Solutions Reality. It will allow a much shorter URL that is easy to share but it uses someone else’s brand rather than mine. What other options are out there and how can I do it too?

Digging deeper

After the appropriate Google searching, I stumbled across an excellent post on elegant themes that walked you through the process so I set about reading it.

Very quickly I realised that this was an excellent solution and one that would make a lot of sense. I followed through the article, read up on how to do it and hunted through both domainr and iwantmyname to try and find something that would make sense to me and I could tie to the Solutions Reality Limited site.

Unfortunately, none of the suggested shortened URLs were really that much shorter. I did find solutionsreal.it which actually is kind of cool and fits in with the original idea behind the name for the company as mentioned above. It turns out that as a UK company this is a domain that I can buy so, it just had to be done.

Think shorter, think smarter

Great name, works on the original ideas but only saves 4 characters, not really worth doing. I’m sure that I can find a good way to make use of it going forward though. Time for a little blue sky thinking. Time to think sideways a bit. As a company, we have often used the abbreviation SRL when talking about the company and the TLA appears in quite a few places. What if I used that instead?

Back into iwantmyname and I typed in ‘srl’ and hit search. The site duly did its magic and hunted for all the tld’s (top level domains) to see what was available. Scrolling through the long list of results I spotted one that made perfect sense – to me at least… srl.fyi – Perfect! Solutions Reality is all about answering questions so . F Y I makes a wonderful extension!

Here is a tld that we can use to build a brand online and through social media that can still represent the company, is nice and short but actually has real relevance to where we came from.

So, how does it work?

Both iwantmyname and bit.ly make it incredibly easy to set up your links. Iwantmyname recognises bit.ly as a site to connect to and it will generate the appropriate connections for you and in your bit.ly account you go to advanced settings and point to your new shorter domain and what the real domain is (although you may need to wait a while for the settings change to take place). Once that’s done then you start using your shorter URL for your links.

Not quite the end of the story

Having secured srl.fyi then I went back to the Twitter account that I had set up and realised that it was not really going to do anything useful either. If the shortened URL was going to have any benefit then it needed to be tied to something that was Solutions Reality in long form and srl.fyi in short-form.

Digging around again, it turns out that it’s very easy to change your user name on Twitter, as we haven’t really got a following yet (1 follower as of 23/2/16 doesn’t really count… sorry @happymonkeyshoe ) it’s not really a problem to change.

New identity

@srl_fyi was born! Now there is a short branded URL that connects directly to a ‘voice’ of the company in a way that whenever it is used on Twitter the two identities are tied together.

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