Senior Product Designer • DevX and Design Systems • MCR, UK 🐝
Landing page with friendly illustration: shorten links using your own domain.

I was getting tired of telling people to "go to" to find my CV, and my Skillshare referral link was pretty long too. I'd have to copy paste it, and it'd look pretty unprofessional. After some searching and reading reviews, I found the cheapest way to get set up, but still get great control over your links and analytics to boot.

The goal

Here's some comparisons before and after link shortening:

🤢 Before:

🤩 After:

🤢 Before:

🤩 After:

If that sounds good, let's get stuck in!

Get a domain

You can get a domain through most short link providers as part of signing up, but I prefer to keep my domains all in one place. It doesn't matter where you purchase the domain from, ultimately.

Decide a domain name

First, you'll want to get a rough idea what short link domain you want. Here's some criteria that may help you:

  • Keep it 6 letters or less in length
  • Experiment with alternative spellings e.g. chk, chuk, chyk
  • Let the domain search show you results for the domain endings

Common shortlink endings include .ly, .io, and .to.

Decide a domain provider

Secondly, choose a provider to search through and purchase your domain. Here's a few suggestions, with reasons why you might pick them (don't worry, no affiliate links here):

  • GoDaddy—they had a one-click setup with the short-link provider I used
  • Google domains—recognisable, and keep everything with your Google account
  • Namecheap—lucratively priced domains, and they've improved the UI a lot
Protip: if you change your mind, you can always transfer out your domain to another provider later. Usually there's a lock-in period of 3-6 months before you can do this.

We're going to be using I compared a few others, but here's why I chose them:

  • Well designed landing page—I'm a designer, I'm a sucker for this stuff!
  • Generous free plan—up to 5 domains and 1,000 custom links
  • Customer base—over 20 million redirects daily, and high-profile customers
  • Analytics included—I get to see clicks, locations, and any dead links attempted
  • One-click setup with GoDaddy—no manual editing of records needed!

By using and GoDaddy I didn't need to do much. If you're setting yours up manually, you'll need to set up a few records. Don't worry, it's usually pretty easy through most domain providers.

You'll need 3 records:

  1. An A record with value, and TTL of 1 hour
  2. An A record with value, and TTL of 1 hour
  3. A CNAME record with value your.domain, and TTL of 1 hour

The first two record will tell visitors to visit, and ask it where the short links point to.

The third record points the www.your.domain to the naked domain, your.domain.

You can edit links after the fact, but it can take time for those changes to propagate. By that I mean, it takes time for the link to update everywhere for everyone. Therefore, pick something that's highly unlikely to change, such as a link to your CV.

Want to try it?

Test it out!

In a matter of seconds, your short link is generated, and you'll be able to load it from any browser in the world!

Amazing when you think about it, right?

Liked this? Forward to a friend, subscribe to my newsletter, Medium, YouTube, or become a Medium member to support my writing (and other writers, too!).
You’ve successfully subscribed to Chuck Rice
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.