In this post, I will show you how to quickly and easily create short vanity URLs for pages in your Kentico site. Often we have high-impact pages that live multiple levels deep within our information architecture. While we can and should provide easy navigation paths to these pages within the site, using the URLs in marketing materials is ugly and ineffective because of their length. Sure, you could use a URL shortener like Bitly. That is not ideal though since you lose your domain name and have to manage the URLs through a separate interface. Another option is to create a page with the vanity URL you want to use and put a redirect on it. That is not recommended either as it usually produces a poor user experience and is not the best for SEO.
Luckily Kentico gives you the ability within the CMS to easily create these custom URLs for any page. They call the URLs Page Aliases, and they can be configured on the URLs tab for a selected document. These page aliases will produce SEO-friendly 301 redirects from the vanity URL to the document's original URL. You can have as many aliases for a given page as you would like but a specific alias can only be used for one document in the site at any time.
Here is a common example of using a page alias as a vanity URL for a high-impact page. Our page is for the AeroPress coffee brewer which currently lives at a URL of www.dancinggoat.com/store/brewers/aeropress. While this URL is not terribly long, it is still far less-than-ideal to use in marketing materials such as a video or print ad. A much friendlier URL would be www.dancinggoat.com/aeropress. To create this without moving or duplicating the current page we simply click on the page and then click on the URLs tab. From here, we click on the Add New Alias button near the bottom which will bring up the screen for creating the alias. For this example, we are leaving everything at the defaults, setting the Path or Pattern to "aeropress" and clicking the Save button.
That's it. We can now use www.dancinggoat.com/aeropress
,and it will bring users to the AeroPress product page all while preserving a good user experience and producing an SEO-friendly solution.
Simple enough, right? There are many ways to use these vanity URLs effectively. Landing pages with offers are one of the most common. I am sure you can think of a few you could implement right now and now you know how, so you can. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more helpful tips coming soon!