Not long ago Facebook rolled out a lite version created for users in countries where connections are slow and bandwidth is small. But during testing, they discovered that the lite version was quite popular with American users, too.
Facebook Lite (www.lite.facebook.com), which is currently only available in the U.S. and India, features smaller type, fewer ads, and no applications, pages, or groups. It lets you quickly and easily see what’s happening with your friends without having to take in lots of other information, and I for one love it. Facebook Lite might even make me a regular Facebook user.
As Mike Elgan at Computeworld points out, Facebook Lite is growing in popularity for the same reason Google trumps Yahoo and Twitter is a wild success: simplicity. Simplicity works every time. We like cool stuff, but we like it even better when it has a clean design, a straightforward approach, and it’s easy to use.
The same concept applies to your blog and your website. Too much stuff flashing, waving, blinking, or talking will drive your readers crazy. Too many choices will confound them. It’s OK if it’s fun, or unique, or different as long as it’s easy to use. People want information without having to fight for it. If your site is too much trouble, they’ll find another one.
So, today, make an honest assessment of your website. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it simple to navigate?
- Can people find what they’re looking for?
- Does it have the features you would want?
- Is it loaded up with too much stuff?
- Does it have a unique perspective? That is, is there a reason to visit your site rather than someone else’s?
- Does it give visitors a reason to bookmark it or to come back again?
- If you stumbled across your website, would you stop and look, or would you just keep going?
Did you get your vanity URL on Facebook? If you didn’t, you may still be able to get the one you want. It’s at least worth a try. But before we discuss how to do that, let’s talk about what a vanity URL is and why you might want one.
If you use the Internet, you use URLs all the time. The URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator) is the global address for documents and resources on the World Wide Web. For example, www.google.com is the URL for the Google website.
The URL for LinkedIn’s homepage is www.linkedin.com and LinkedIn automatically assigns a unique URL to each user’s profile. The URL it assigns, however, is full of random characters and is difficult to remember and not so appealing on a business card. Here’s an example of a URL that was automatically assigned to one agent’s profile.
But who’s going to type all that in when they want to see the agent’s online résumé on LinkedIn? So LinkedIn gives users the option of changing their URL to something like:
How to Get Your URL
To get your vanity URL in LinkedIn (assuming you already have a profile on LinkedIn):
- Log on to LinkedIn
- Click on “Accounts & Settings”near the top of the screen
- Scroll down to “Public Profile” and click
- Choose one of the suggestions offered by LinkedIn or create one of your own (Your custom-created URL must be 5-30 characters—letters and numbers but no spaces, symbols, or special characters.)
- Click the “Set Address” button to save your selection
To get your vanity URL in Facebook (assuming you already have an account)
- Navigate to www.facebook.com/username
- Select the username Facebook recommends or create one of your own (click “Check Availability” to see if the one you want is available).
- Click “Confirm” to save your selection
Now that you have your vanity URL, add it to your business card, your e-mail signature, and anywhere else you show your contact information so friends and clients will be able to find your profiles easily.