When making the switch to Pardot from another marketing automation tool users are faced with the question of what to do for their new CNAME (also known as their vanity URL or tracker subdomain): Keep the old, existing CNAME that’s currently in use or switch to a shiny, brand new CNAME.

Before Making a Decision

Before you make the decision, take a look at the two options below and the steps involved – you’ll likely find that one makes more sense for your organization over the other. It’s also helpful to outline all of the content in your current tool that may be associated with links (landing pages, files, etc.) and then decide how much of that will be brought over to Pardot.

Choosing a New CNAME

Out with the old, in with the new! In many regards, choosing a new CNAME can be simpler and it involves the following steps:

  • Pick a new CNAME that works for your organization and that is unobtrusive, something maybe like “go.yoursite.com”, “www2.yoursite.com” or “more.yoursite.com” and set it up to point toward “go.pardot.com”.
  • Set up the content using your new CNAME (landing pages, uploaded files etc.) in Pardot, ensuring to update any hyperlinks within that content that used to point toward existing assets now point toward the new Pardot assets you are “re-creating.”
  • Set up 301 redirects for all of the old landing page and content links to redirect to the related content that is now in Pardot so if anyone encounters the old links, they’ll still be able to get to the Pardot versions of the content.

Keeping Your Current CNAME

Couldn’t bear to part with your current CNAME? No problem! Keeping a current CNAME is possible and although the process involves more steps, in certain cases it can be the more efficient choice, especially when there are many internal links on your site using your current CNAME.

  • Choose a new temporary CNAME while you bring all of your content into Pardot to use as a placeholder. This step is necessary because users must have a CNAME in Pardot to be able to create vanity URLs for all marketing element, which will come in handy in our next step. That temporary CNAME can be anything as long as it is unique, including “www2.yoursite.com” or the other above mentioned examples.
  • Copy existing link extensions from your current content into Pardot’s vanity URLs.

    If you previously used custom (or vanity) URLS for marketing automation links (like “go.yoursite.com/whitepaper” to share a new white paper) be sure to structure them exactly the same when you recreate them in Pardot. In this case, if you choose “www2.yoursite.com” as your new temporary CNAME, then be sure to create the vanity URL for the new landing page in Pardot as “www2.yoursite.com/whitepaper”.

    If you didn’t previously use custom (or vanity) URLs then replicate the same structure for the similar content in Pardot. So “go.yoursite.com/ab45067” has to be created as “www2.yoursite.com/ab45067” in Pardot.

    Note: If you want to deviate from your current link structure, go ahead and create the links the way you want them in Pardot and then you’ll have to use 301 redirects for the old links to the new Pardot links. Although if you are restructuring your links, there is less value is keeping your existing CNAME, as your internal links will all need to be updated on your current site.

  • Make the big switch. This should definitely happen before the end of the day that you will lose access to your other marketing automation tool. Only one CNAME can point to “go.pardot.com” at a time, so you will have to turn off the temporary CNAME and re-point the desired CNAME from your old marketing automation tool to “go.pardot.com”.
  • Update the CNAME on the Pardot side and all of the links that were created in Pardot should automatically repopulate as your new CNAME once the new CNAME is pointed correctly and working.

Finally, here’s how to check to make sure the CNAME is working correctly.

  • Log into your Pardot account.
  • Find your user name in the upper right corner of the dashboard, and click on it to select “Settings.”
  • Choose “Edit Account Information”.
  • Replace the current CNAME with the desired CNAME and hit “Save.” If Pardot lets you save with no errors, then you’re good to go and the CNAME is set up correctly.
Editing Your CNAME in Pardot

Editing Your CNAME in Pardot

While users have the option to keep their existing CNAME or pick a new one when implementing Pardot, there are certain circumstances that can guide the choice. If your website contains many internal links, we recommended you don’t change the link structure and stick with your current CNAME. In the case of having fewer internal links or if you want to change the link structure, choosing a new CNAME is the way to go.

Any questions on setting up CNAMEs? Feel free to ask us in the Comments section below.