Q and A: How do I get a Google+ vanity URL?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’m really enjoying using Google+ and I hope they don’t retire it like Buzz. I’ve started to cross post between my Google+, Facebook and Pinterest accounts and I’m finally getting some shares and links back to my hobby site as a result.

I’ve noticed that some people use vanity URLs for their Google+ and Facebook accounts. I finally figured out how to register a vanity URL for my Facebook page, but I can’t see the option in Google+ to create a vanity URL. Can you point me in the right direction please?



Hi Ethan

First up, for anyone reading who doesn’t know what a vanity URL is, let me just explain. A vanity URL is a custom URL that replaces the series of numbers traditionally used to reference an individual user account.

For example, a typical user account URL in Facebook looks something like this: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001516245179. A vanity Facebook URL looks more like http://www.facebook.com/kalena with the series of numbers replaced with a username. This makes the link more memorable and easier to share.

A typical Google+ profile URL looks like this: https://plus.google.com/112649886983103001682/posts. This is a little cumbersome and not very memorable. The bad news is that Google doesn’t actually allow the creation of vanity URLs for Google+ profiles, for security reasons. Because Google Profiles are linked to Gmail accounts, allowing users to create vanity URLs might enable spammers to work out the email addresses of millions of Google+ users.

But the good news is that there is a simple app that enables you to shorten your Google+ profile into a more memorable one. The site gplus.to allows you to enter your cumbersome Google+ profile URL and shorten it to a nick name of your choosing. So https://plus.google.com/112649886983103001682/posts becomes http://gplus.to/kalena. I’m pretty sure those are the shortened Google+ links you are seeing your friends use.

Not quite a vanity URL, but a pretty neat alternative, don’t you think?



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