Getting a Better Facebook URL

When you first create a page on Facebook, you are stuck with a cryptic kind of web address, for example:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/MaybeTheNameIReallyWant/130992046915895

However, once you have 25 likes for your page you can go here:

http://www.facebook.com/username

And choose a more friendly user name for your Facebook page. For instance:

http://www.facebook.com/TheNameIReallyWant

Your old Facebook URL will not suddenly stop working…but the new one will look a lot more professional (and can actually be remembered by most humans).

Oh…and one final bit of advice. Do the DNS magic so that:

http://facebook.yourcompany.com
http://twitter.yourcompany.com
And so on…

Point to their respective social networking pages. They are a lot easier to remember and will help you in the future if, for any reason, you decide to change things (you control the redirect completely, whether you want to have a splash page in-between, add some funky click-through tracking, etcetera).

(Thanks for the Facebook “how to” info to Jacob Gorban from Apparent Software. A long while ago I saw his Facebook page had a lot better URL than mine, so I asked him how on Twitter (@apparentsoft) and he quickly answered. If you have a Mac, you should check out their software. Blast is one of favorite utilities.)

There is a solution…

P.S. Okay…as I thought about it…it’s a little more than “DNS magic” to configure a redirect to a URL on Facebook or Twitter (you can’t use a CNAME record that points to more than a domain). What I do is (repeat with substitutions for Twitter):

  1. Create a facebook directory (preferably outside your main site’s http docs directory)
  2. Put an .htaccess in it
  3. Put the single line “Redirect 301 / http://www.facebook.com/TheSolver.us” in the .htaccess (minus the quotes)
  4. Set the the web server to treat facebook.thesolver.us as calling that directory

And voila! Of course, if you are using a third-party to provide your web hosting, they will have to allow .htaccess files, allow the web server config adjustments, etcetera. Our web hosting provider, FatCow, makes it very easy…

By the way, the reason I recommend that you keep the directory out of your main site’s http docs directory is because if you don’t and someone types something like “http://yourdomain.com/yourfacebookdir” it will end up sending them to a bogus URL on Facebook.

Finally, the “301” redirect says it has moved permanently. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever point it to a different URL on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s the most efficient way to do the redirect (a browser doesn’t have to check every time if it was previously told it is a permanent move).

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