October 1, 2019 What Is a Custom Domain and Why You Should Use One for Your Next Campaign
What does every online campaign have in common? A URL. URLs direct people to your contest, promotion, quiz, giveaway, or whatever type of landing page you have created to help promote your business. The URL is front and center whenever you link to your online campaign or include information about the promotion in off-line advertising content.
One important part of your campaign’s URL is the domain name. By definition, a domain name is “the part of an email or website address on the internet that shows the name of the organization that the address belongs to.” Most website and campaign building platforms, including ShortStack, supply generic or platform-branded domains (e.g. shortstack.com, myshopify.com and wordpress.com) by default, but using a domain of your own is recommended.
A custom domain (a.k.a. a vanity domain) is a branded domain name that is unique to your campaign. Domain names can be purchased from providers like GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and HostGator to fit your brand. For example, say your company’s name was Acme Unlimited and you purchased the domain acme-unlimited.com. Instead of using a generic URL like https://1.shortstack.com/abc123, your campaign’s URL could be something like https://contest.acme-unlimited.com/abc123.
The benefits of using a custom domain:
There are three main benefits to using a custom domain: branding, trust and discoverability.
- Branding: Purchasing a custom domain for your campaigns helps promote your brand. This is easily the biggest benefit of using a custom domain. By using a custom domain that reflects your brand, you are promoting brand consistency. Folks won’t need to guess if the site they’re visiting is associated with your company or not when your brand name is right there in the domain.
- Customer Trust: With all of the phishing scams going around the web nowadays, it’s not surprising that people are wary of clicking on a URL they don’t recognize. Using a custom domain that is clearly connected to your business can encourage customers who trust your brand to click the link for your promotion.
- Discoverability: Using a custom domain improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines look at the root domain on sites. A custom domain that reflects your brand is typically more relevant to what a user is searching for than a generic domain. If that’s the case, then your site with the custom domain will likely be ranked higher. Plus, the more campaigns you run using the same domain, the higher your search ranking will be. When you run new promotions under the same domain you used for previous ones, those new campaigns have a better chance of being seen toward the top of search results sooner.
Why you might consider using a generic domain:
- Cost: While generic domains provided by platforms are typically free, there is an additional cost associated with using your own custom domain. On average, they cost $10 to $15 a year though, the price can vary depending on what you’re looking to purchase.
- Ease: Using a generic domain is often easier. You won’t need to go through the additional setup to point your custom domain to a specific server or take the time to find the perfect custom domain. A generic domain allows you to get your content on the web within seconds.
How to implement a custom domain* with ShortStack:
Setting up a custom domain for your ShortStack campaign requires a few steps. The two most important steps are pointing your domain or subdomain to our server and choosing the custom URL option when publishing your ShortStack campaign. To use a custom domain:
- Create an A record in your DNS for your domain or subdomain that points to our server (Please refer to the information in our help documentation: Custom Domains, Subdomains, and Subfolders for Campaigns); and
- Follow the Publishing Your Campaign Using a Custom Domain instructions when publishing your ShortStack campaign.
Add a custom domain in ShortStack
*The custom domain option is available on our Agency Plan and higher plans.
TIP: Not sure about a custom domain? Try embedding your campaign instead. We’ll provide you with the code you need to insert your campaign into your existing website.
If you have questions on how you can implement a custom domain for your ShortStack campaign, just shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org