Google+ is a strange place. The design is very contemporary, and the whole site is quite slick, and yet, it seems to be the forgotten social network.
The estimated number of active users varies wildly depending on which publication you read (so I won’t speculate), but it’s safe to say that it’s not the most actively used social network around.
Google keeps plugging away at it, though, and so most bloggers tend to create a ‘page’ for their blog, regardless of whether they use it.
Some people do have some success when they put their mind to Google Plus, though, especially when they become active in communities or they start a collection.
So, ignoring the merits of the site, you should probably get a page set up, and secure your Google+ URL.
Ah, but it’s not as simple as that…
If you blog as your name (i.e. firstlastname.com) and you want to use your regular Google Plus profile, you must satisfy the following rules before being eligible for a custom URL:
- You have 10+ people who have added you to a circle
- Your account has been active for at least 30 days old
- You have a profile photo
- Your account hasn’t been been banned/had any transgressions
For a business/brand page, it’s a little simpler in that you now just need a verified domain linked to your page.
However, even once you meet these requirements, you still might not be able to get the URL you want.
Google seems to insist on requiring that people add a few characters to the end of the suggested URL.
For example, if you use your personal account, the default URL might be FredBlogs, but Google would require that you enter a few characters on top of this, even if just FredBlogs is available.
For a fredblogs.com brand/business page, again, you’d be asked for a few characters on top of the /+FredBlogs default. If you have any other domain extension, this would also be added by default, so fredblogs.io would have the default suggestion of /+fredblogsio, plus the few characters that you’re being prompted to add!
Please tell me there’s a way around this…
Well, there is.
Get a custom Google Plus URL for your personal account
For a personal account, you need to change your name to something a bit shorter (for example: Fred Bl). Now refresh, and go back to your profile links section, where you should be promted to choose your URL. You can now ‘add a few characters’ to make /+FredBlogs.
For business/brand pages, there are two options:
Business/Brand Option 1 – Wait it out
This is the option I’d recommend. Google are unlikely to take kindly to people playing the system, so to be given the chance to accept the name you want, make sure you meet the following criteria:
- You’ve entered the name and tagline for your business/brand page.
- You’ve uploaded a cover photo and profile picture.
- You’ve entered the URL of your website, and verified it with one of the available methods (Google webmaster tools is probably the easiest).
Once you’ve completed the above, you should wait for a few days (but allow up to a week). Then, when you go into your profile -> links section, you should be prompted to accept the name you want.
Business/Brand Option 2 – Register a new domain
If option 1 doesn’t work for you (please make sure you’ve tried it first…) you can try a similar trick to how we got a URL for the personal page.
Note: As before, check that the name you’re trying to get is actually available, otherwise this whole process will be pointless.
This method involves registering a new domain, but one which is shorter.
Let’s go back to our imaginary fredblogs.com domain! If google.com/+fredblogs is available, we want to check availability of the following domains:
It should go without saying that shorter, more generic URLs are most likely not available, but for the sake of this post, let’s say that fredbl.com is available. Great!
Once we’ve registered it, we can add the URL to Google+ and verify it:
Once one of the verification methods has been completed, go back to the Google+ profile links section, and click ‘Link website’ again to confirm it. You should get a little verified tick next to it. Now, when you refresh the page, you should be prompted to select your custom URL. This should now be /+fredbl plus a few characters, which you can enter to make up the full /+fredblogs!
So now, with a bit of patience, you should have the name that you want/deserve!
If I’ve missed anything, or if Google have changed their rules (again) and I’ve not noticed, please leave a comment or tweet @taptappost to let me know! I’d also love to hear how these methods worked for you, which one you used, and what awesome Google Plus URL you managed to get!