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Posted By dotHealth on 06/29/2018

How to Create Branded Short Links with a .Health Domain

How to Create Branded Short Links with a .Health Domain

Have you ever noticed that some brands use short URLs on social media, or other types of marketing, that aren’t their primary URL? Branded short links, sometimes referred to “branded short domains,” “custom short links,” “brand shorteners,” or “branded short URLs” help marketers track engagement from various sources. They’re short, easy-to-share, and according to a recent study, they get 34% more clicks!

Another great thing about branded short links, is they work for all types of media - digital, print, outdoor media, even commercials. Here are just a few ways you can use them:

Make The Links in Your Print Materials More Accessible
Whether you want patients to sign into your online portal or follow up on a topic featured in your brochure, short links are easier to type and remember.

Brand Your Social Links to Increase Engagement
Instead of using an extra long link in their social posts, the University of Miami Health System uses a branded short link for posts that lead to their own health content - and you can too!

Track Engagement for a Particular Ad Placement
Marketing teams are often asked to prove that a certain placement is working, and with a short link, you can track links specific to each placement without creating multiple landing pages!

Setting up a branded short link is easy.
Got 15 minutes? Let’s do it!

Step 1: Purchase Your Domain Name
While you may already be using a URL like for your main website, a domain like is now available and easy to use as your branded shortener! Get your .health domain today, and if you want to use it as a branded shortener, choose one that is:

  • 15 characters or less (including the dot)
  • Unmistakably yours - one that captures your brand or campaign at a glance
  • Readable and memorable

Step 2: Create a Bitly Account  (If you don’t have one already.)
Bitly is one of the most popular URL shorteners. It’s easy to use, and you can add a branded short domain using their free plan!  

Some things to consider:

  • With a Bitly basic account, you can add one custom short link (for free!) to shorten your URLs. If you want more, you'll need to upgrade to Bitly Enterprise.
  • Make sure you verify your email address with Bitly after you set up your account. You can’t create any custom short domains until you do.
  • If you already use a social media management platform (like Hootsuite or Buffer), you may or may not need to create a Bitly account. Check out  the links at the end of this post for more information.

Step 3: Update Your DNS Settings
Now that we have both sides of the equation set up — your .health domain and your URL shortener — it’s time to connect the two. To do this, you’ll need to log into the website where you bought your .health domain (a domain retailer like GoDaddy). We’ll provide the basic steps here, which may vary from retailer to retailer.

  1. Log into your account at your domain retailer.
  2. Go to the page that lists all of your current domains.
  3. Select the domain name you want to use as a branded short link.
  4. Navigate to the DNS management/settings page for your chosen domain.
  5. Edit the existing A records for this domain name and make sure there are two A records. Each one should point to a different IP address: and Note: You may need to add more A records to complete this step.
  6. Edit the A record’s “hostname”or “base domain” to the character “@” (without the quotes around it)
  7. If you have additional A records pointing to other IP addresses, remove all others and leave only the ones pointing to Bitly's IP addresses. In the end, you should have two A records — similar to the image below:

Step 4: Connect Your Domain to Bitly
Now that you’ve given your new domain the directions to Bitly, you need to go back to Bitly and give your new domain the green light. Here’s how:

  1. Log into Bitly and choose your group name in the upper right corner.
  2. Select “Manage,” then choose “Branded Short Domains”  
  3. Select the button to “Add a Branded Short Domain” and enter your .health domain in the space provided.
  4. If necessary, follow the steps to verify your domain. Once your domain is verified, it’s ready to use.
  5. (Optional) You can take this time to select your domain and review the default security settings and/or add custom redirects.

Step 5: Start Using Your Branded Shortener!
Now anytime you sign into Bitly, you can transform all of your super loooong links into custom-branded, elegantly-truncated masterpieces that are easy to read and share. Just copy and paste a link into Bitly to shorten and customize! Now you can make a memorable brand impression with every link you create!

Note: The instructions above are based on using a new domain name with Bitly. Other link shortening services, and some social media posting services (like Hootsuite), offer similar services without using Bitly.

Additional Resources