URL Shorteners

As an author, when you market your book, you want readers to take action, such as going to your book's product page on Amazon to buy your book or subscribing to your email list. When linking to websites where readers can take those actions (especially those that you don't own, like your Amazon Author Page), how do you ensure the readers can easily go to your desired location and have a consistent brand experience while doing so?

Enter URL shorteners.

What is an URL shortener?

An URL shortener is a service which takes a long, hard-to-read, difficult-to-type URL like https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DXLGQJT/ (let's call it target URL) and transforms it into something short like https://GoIndie.link/short (let's call it short URL). When a reader clicks on such a short URL, or types it by hand, the service seamlessly redirects them to the target URL. So in our example:

GoIndie.link/short --> www.amazon.com/dp/B09DXLGQJT

Short links have several advantages:

  • Appearance: The text of the short link looks better than the full target URL and is easy to type by hand
  • Future-proof: The short link can remain unchanged in your marketing materials or the book (e.g. paperback copy or ebook file) but the target URL may be changed as needed, not only pointing to another page on the same website but it can redirect to entirely different website
  • Versatility: The target URL can either be a simple link or a Universal Book Link service link which will redirect readers to the right retailer website based on their location
  • Use of use: Links are short so can be easily used in your email signature, online ads, inside your book and in printed materials.
  • Advanced uses: Analytics and other tracking codes can be appended to the final URL without compromising user experience

There are two types of link shortener services: branded and unbranded. The difference is who owns a domain name on which a short URL is "hosted".

An unbranded service uses a domain owned by a 3rd-party such as bit.ly or amzn.to. While it's the easiest (and least expensive) to get started with, you are giving up the control of your links to a 3rd-party who owns the domain and are effectively locked-in into that service if you want to use the same links throughout your author career.

A branded service uses a domain name owned by you. In our case it's AuthorLandingPages.com. For you, it will usually be your name (whether a real one or a pen name) .com. You could also buy a shorter domain name to use specifically for your short links like we did with GoIndie.link.

While a branded link shortener takes slightly more work to set up, and could be more expensive in the long run, if you control the domain, you could discontinue to use the services of the company providing you with that service originally, while keeping your short links unchanged (as you are always in full control of your own domain).

When your landing page is designed and hosted by us you get your own URL shortener and Universal Book Link service built in, using your website's domain by default. For example if your landing page's domain is AuthorLandingPages.com, then you could create links like AuthorLandingPages.com/starter to redirect to the Amazon product page of the ebook edition of your first book in your series.

We can also set up a shorter secondary domain you register to use specifically with your short links and UBLs. For example, if your short domain is GoIndie.link, your short link could be GoIndie.link/starter.

We do not charge additionally for setting up URL shortener service with your landing page (even if you decide to use a secondary domain) - it's included in our $50/year hosting fee. Universal Book Link service using your own domain is also included. The table below shows how we compare to other services.

Service / Feature AuthorLandingPages.com bit.ly Geniuslink bit.ly + Geniuslink
Custom landing page design included (no extra charge) not available not available not available
Landing page hosting included ($50/year) not available not available not available
Link shortener with custom domain included ($50/year); $350 = 7 years $350/year not available only URL shortener
Universal Book Link Service with custom domain included ($50/year); $660 = 13 years not available $660/year only UBL
Author-focused YES NO NO NO
TOTAL $50/year (20 times less than competing services combined) $350/year $660/year $1010 combined

So, for the same price as you would pay for just one year of bit.ly service with a custom domain (~350/year), you can get 7 years of your own short link service in addition to our geo-distributed fast hosting for your book landing page. And if you need Universal Book Link with your own domain, you can save paying $660/year to Geniuslink, and get 13 years (that's right, thirteen years) of your landing page hosting with us.

In other words, if you choose to use our landing page service, you get custom design for your landing page, landing page hosting, branded URL shortener service, and Universal Book Link service for twenty years for the same price as you would pay to get the URL shortener and UBL from bit.ly and Geniuslink working with your own domain for just one year.

Did we mention there is no lock-in? If you decide to discontinue hosting with us, we will create files required for your short links to continue to work with your domain when you host your website at any hosting out there (no complicated setup required on your end).

Some of the advantages and ideas for using our service for your URL shortener:

  • Brand consistency: The same domain for your landing page, URL shortener and Universal Book Links (or your own short domain for both of these services)
  • Universal Book Link compatibility: You can create a short link like /starter which will redirect readers to the right Amazon or Apple Books storefront for your reader's country
  • Flexibility limited only by your imagination: Redirect readers to different retailers based on their country, e.g. readers from Australia can be redirected to Fishpond, readers from the UK can be sent to Waterstones, while US readers and those from other countries will be sent to the right Amazon website for their country (thanks to our UBL service)
  • Future-proof: When you publish your first book, starter short link can send readers to Amazon page where they can buy the book. When you publish the third book in the series, you can change it to redirect readers to a page where they can sign up to receive the first book for free. No need to change any materials you published originally - the change only needs to be made on our end.

When you place your landing page order, provide a list of your short links and the target URLs, and we will make them active without any setup required on your end. Or, send us an email later to add and change your short links.