People will not type complicated URLs into their computers

This is a really simple tip, and one which I could have written 20 years ago. Yet it still appears to be news to some businesses.

People will not type complicated URLs into their computers. They just won’t.

You could spend thousands of pounds getting prospects to see a link in a print advert. You could move heaven and earth to get the chance to quote a website on TV or the radio. You could take ages painting a link on the side of your vans.

But if the link is too long or unmemorable, people will ignore it.

So, if you want to send anyone to a web page from anything other than a clickable link:

  • Do NOT use a URL with more than one slash;
  • Do NOT use a URL with one slash but a lot after it;
  • Do NOT use a URL which has to be copied out letter-by letter.

Examples of what not to use (try saying them out loud!)

Here are two alternative approaches:

  • Buy a domain name and redirect it to your page;
  • Create a really simple redirected URL within your domain.

So, for example, if I wanted to get people to the web page above, I could buy 420aw.com and redirect it to the page. Cost? £5 for the domain. Time required? Ten minutes (two minutes when you know what you’re doing). If I put 420aw.com in a print advert, or people hear me saying “visit 420aw.com”, there’s a chance they’ll do it. When they type that in, they’ll seamlessly be redirected to the real URL I want them to see.

Alternatively, if my main domain seemed reasonable easy to people, I could just create a simple redirection, such as www.bmon.co.uk/420. Again, it can be read out loud and remembered, committed to memory or just copied simply. Cost? Nothing. Time required? One minute if you know what you’re doing.