Why and How to Change Your LinkedIn URL

Why and How to Change Your LinkedIn URL

Unless you run a website, the chances are that you’re used to a URL, or Web address, being something you simply get by default. After all, in most situations only the website administrator can set them. All you can do is follow the link or type in the address.

However, there are a few exceptions. In particular, many social media sites let you choose a custom URL for your personal or business profile. And as a business-focused social network, LinkedIn is no exception. You can use the default address, or you can customize. For the rest of this article, I’m going to discuss why you might want to do this. Then, I’ll show you how to pick, and change, your URL.

How do I know what my current LinkedIn URL is?

How do I know what my current LinkedIn URL is?

Of course, before learning how to change your LinkedIn URL you need to know what they’ve assigned you. If you’ve ever added this address to a resume or job application, then you already know how to find it. Otherwise, here’s the best way to do this. First, go to the LinkedIn homepage and click on your profile picture in the top left-hand corner. Your profile in public view will now appear with your LinkedIn profile URL appearing as the current URL in your browser’s window.

For most people, this profile URL includes their first and last name. Then there will be a series of numbers which differentiates the profiles of people with the same name. It is a generic URL that follows a specific pattern.

Should I edit my LinkedIn URL?

Of course, most people keep this default URL. And it isn’t always because they don’t know how to change your LinkedIn URL. Rather, it doesn’t occur to most people to change it at all, because they don’t understand the reasons that they should. Armed with the right information, however, you may decide that this is advantageous for you.

The computer-generated URL that LinkedIn provides you upon signup serves you no purpose.
LinkedIn gives you a URL for one purpose: letting people view your profile. In fact, everything on the Internet needs a URL to be visited. And of course, each URL must be unique so that the right page is pulled up at the right time.

Generic URLs, while serving their basic purpose, don’t do anything special. They don’t have specific value or relevance to the topic on each page. While a website administrator will typically assign the URL in part based on topic or keyword, LinkedIn only uses a name and numbers. This means that each profile address for people with the same name can only be distinguished by different numbers.

In practice, this means one thing: default URLs don’t have any branding for LinkedIn members. This means that, while the generic URL doesn’t “hurt” your brand, it doesn’t help you either. If you know how to change your LinkedIn URL, then you can make that URL work for you.

Edit it to claim your name before other LinkedIn profiles do.

Since your existing LinkedIn URL isn’t doing anything to help you, knowing how to change your LinkedIn URL is a great way to change this. Back in the “wild West” days of Internet address registries, we said that it was important to state your claim before other people do so. This was true not only for branding purposes, but because of cybersquatting. Briefly, cybersquatting is the practice of buying domain names that are relevant to a particular person or business, then selling them to the business.

With LinkedIn, cybersquatting isn’t possible, in that you can’t “sell” the URL. However, people can still claim your preferred profile URL before you do. This can put you on the back foot, especially if your intended LinkedIn URL would be an important part of personal branding.

Make it easier to remember and thus share with customers, hiring managers, or your network.

Make it easier to remember and thus share with customers, hiring managers, or your network.

On the other hand, by claiming your name and the URL that goes with it, you have an instantly recognizable LinkedIn profile. This means that you won’t have to remember it when networking, either on LinkedIn or through other means. In fact, you could even add the link to your business card or email signature. Both of these options boost the presence of your LinkedIn brand across other channels.

Another great way to benefit from a custom URL is when you are nurturing sales leads. Depending on the kind of sales you’re doing, establishing yourself as a subject matter expert can be especially valuable. In addition, it’s always important to project a professional image. With a custom URL, you boost a professional image as an individual. If your URL reflects your brand affiliation, it also helps project your SME status.

Showcase your brand image in your URL.

For corporate accounts and company owners, there’s another benefit to a customized LinkedIn URL: it showcases your brand. Knowing how to change your LinkedIn URL means that you can change it to the name of your company, for example. Or it could be relative to personal branding or expertise. Either way, this is a valuable opportunity to further your branding on the Internet.

Further Reading: 17 Must-Have Items for Your Professional LinkedIn Profile to Shine

What should my LinkedIn profile custom URL be?

What should my LinkedIn profile custom URL be?

Now that you know the benefits of changing your LinkedIn URL, it’s important to decide what your URL should be. This has a major impact on your personal or corporate brand, so don’t choose lightly. With that said, there are several good ways to choose.

Use the same thought process as your website.

First, you should remember that web addresses, whether on social media or as a freestanding website, reflect heavily on you. For that reason, knowing how to change your LinkedIn URL shouldn’t be used to pick something you’ll soon regret.

With that in mind, you should pick a LinkedIn URL that is compatible with any website that you may have. And if you don’t have a website, then think about what you would pick. This means that your URL should put your best foot forward and represent who you are as a professional. Furthermore, if you are building a “personal brand,” and you should, then your choice should reflect that brand.

Grab your name if your website would be yourname.com

This is the choice I made for my own LinkedIn URL, and if you have a website that’s your name, you should use it too. I recommend this in particular because then you have consistency across your website and LinkedIn account. It’s an easy choice that doesn’t require any creativity.

Using the same name for both your URL and website removes any potential confusion between your profile and the owner of your website. Your name as a LinkedIn URL can’t be misunderstood and accidentally offend anyone, either. Finally, using your name makes the custom URL even easier to remember, both for you and for the people you share it with.

The other option is to use your brand name (pdcasocial) or hybrid name+keyword brand name (fractionalcmoneal).

Of course, sometimes your name isn’t the right choice for your LinkedIn URL. For instance, people with common names may find that someone else has already claimed it. It also could be that your website isn’t your name for whatever reason. Furthermore, some people don’t want to use their names for this purpose, preferring another kind of branding.

In these situations, there are other options. For instance, you can leverage your website, company, or brand name. I am the founder of a company (PDCA Social), so I could use this instead of my name. Another option is to use a hybrid of your name and a relevant keyword. These keywords should reflect your personal branding or profession. I’d especially suggest this last approach when your name is already “taken.” It shows that you are taking your personal brand seriously.

LinkedIn profile URL restrictions

LinkedIn profile URL restrictions

As with many other websites, LinkedIn has specific rules for your public profile. This includes the choice of your profile URL, which are outlined on their website. Let’s take a look at their specifications.

Your custom URL can be 3-100 characters long. Don’t use spaces, symbols, or special characters. In practical terms, this makes it harder for you to pick your name in a slightly altered format. For instance, I couldn’t use ne@lschaffer.

The customizable part of the URL is case insensitive. This means that you can’t use capital letters to try and differentiate your choice, either. One example of this principle is that nealschaffer and NealSchaffer would form the same URL.

You can change your URL up to five times within six months. Once you have changed your URL for the fifth time, you won’t be able to change it for another six months. Moral of the story: know what you want as your LinkedIn URL. Mastering how to change your LinkedIn URL doesn’t mean it can be done constantly just to be “cool.”

If a member uses a URL and then changes it, the original URL will be unavailable to members other than the original owner for six months. From LinkedIn’s perspective, this is very practical: if a URL has been used, then reassigning it too soon will make for plenty of confusion. The first owner’s contacts could use it and then get a different profile. This wouldn’t provide a good experience for anyone.

How to Change Your LinkedIn URL.

Now that you know the why’s of changing your LinkedIn URL, and what you should pick, you need to know how to change your LinkedIn URL. This is a relatively straightforward process, fortunately.

First, go to your profile the same way I told you to do it above. Then, click on the pencil icon under the bottom righthand corner of your profile background image. This opens up the options page for your LinkedIn account as a whole, called the editorial page.

On the very top of the editorial page, where it says Profile URL your current LinkedIn profile URL link will be displayed. Clicking on it will open a new browser tab called Public Profile Settings. Look at the top righthand corner of this page it will say “Edit your custom URL” and this is where you edit it. Simply type in your choice of URL, and hit save.

The alternative way to get to the same screen is by clicking on your profile photo on the top menu and then selecting Account Settings & Privacy, choosing “Visibility” in the lefthand menu, and then pressing “Change” where it says “Edit your public profile.” From here, you will follow the same instructions as before.

As you can see, this is pretty easy.

Further Reading: 9 Tips to Update Your LinkedIn Profile with Impact in One Hour

What happens when you change your LinkedIn URL?

What happens when you change your LinkedIn URL?

One reason why people may hesitate to change their LinkedIn URL is their concern that people won’t see their profile using the old URL. However, this is not actually a problem. In fact, many LinkedIn users have demonstrated that using the old URL will result in traffic being forwarded to the new one.

With that said, LinkedIn did say that the old URL is released to be reused by other people after six months. It may be that the old address won’t work after that. Of course, this won’t be a major issue if you immediately start circulating your new URL. As soon as you change it, be sure to update your business cards, website, and email signatures. This way, you can reduce the chances of people using the old URL after six months. For most people, their LinkedIn profile URL is considered to be something that they can’t change. However, this isn’t true. In fact, LinkedIn allows users to change their URL, subject to some constraints. They even encourage this by making it easy to learn how to change your LinkedIn URL. Especially considering the advantages of making this change, there’s little reason not to.

Don’t stop here – go to LinkedIn NOW and change your LinkedIn URL today!

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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