URL Shorteners are a great way to share long URL which sometimes gets broken if something goes missing while copy pasting everywhere,
Because sometimes websites pass multiple parameter and paths with complex character pattern which no one can remember and the only way is to copy-paste URL, which doesn’t look good and might break the URL on some platform while sharing.
So to keep the URL intact convert it into a short simple URL, which you can easily verify at any point of time.
You get a simple small URL to share everywhere with custom words, so you can even remember the link.
How URL Shortener Services Works-
What they do is, take your long boring URL and then generate a short simple URL.
Which looks something like:
Long URL: https://www.thetechbasket.com/internet/facebook-security-and-privacy-settings/418/?utm_source=urlshortner_post&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=spring&utm_content=facebook_privacy
Short URL: https://goo.gl/h8esQc
Short URL is being redirected to the original URL from the servers of URL Shortener Services.
These URL Shortener services have domain names with very small words generally 4-6 words for example- goo.gl, bit.ly, owl.ly, tinyurl.com
Is it free?
Yes, almost all services provide free of cost with analytics like how many times URL has been opened, on which devices, country and some extra details, which is cool right?
There are some extra services like using your own custom domain, enterprise-level features which is not free, you can pay and use,
But for most of the part, it’s free to use for individuals, personal usage, and small businesses.
Why should you be using URL Shorteners?
- Sending an email, want to know whether that person has clicked and checked something you wanted him to open and see.
- Sharing a useful URL in a WhatsApp group or Facebook groups, Facebook pages, twitter or any other social media platforms, you can instantly track how many people actually clicked.
- Sending a direct download link of a file, shorten it and then share to track in real-time stats.
- Printing QR code of a URL or specific page, shorten it and you can make scanning faster and less complex code.
- Putting your social media URLs on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook under about section? shorten them, no you can track how many people are clicking on those URL and checking out your other social media accounts from one another, isn’t cool?
- Use a URL Shortener service with auto-expiration date, now if you share something on public forums or groups, only active people at that time can see, after that whatever you shared is gone, no one else can see using expired short URL.
- Most of the URL Shortener services provide analytical data, that data can be used for further planning, forecasting, and estimating your strategies. You actually know which posts, links are performing better with analytics which can be further optimized.
- Using a custom domain with URL Shortener services provides an opportunity for branding, which provides more trust among users and you have more control over your links.( List of websites using branded URL)
How do I choose which one is better?
You need to look for multiple things considering why you need one-
- Are you going to shorten URLs rarely, often or daily?
- How easy is to create short URLs, which means URL can be created using their Android/iOS app, browser extension, API, bookmarklet and website, how easy to use and go through.
- I’m ready to pay for extra features or I just need free and fast service no extra features needed.
- Using some automation tools, which means you need API access, which can automatically shorten your URLs of the fly without doing it manually.
- Do they offer custom domain name setup if I want to use for my brand?
- Some URL Shortener services redirect users to other page and then original URL, it should not be the case with the service you select.
- How long they are in the business, what if they close their services which means your links can be broken, select only reliable ones.
- How Fast their redirection is, which means when a user clicks on the URL and it goes to their server and redirected to original URL, it should be instantly for users.
For testing how redirection is happening you can check URL shortener speed and reliability shootout
You can try by yourself, create short URL using your favourite service and then try various online tools like ping, loading time to check which one is fast in your case.
Also try to find out what’s the uptime of the services, which means just fast is not going to work, it should be always up and working so any time someone clicks on the link they are redirected to the intended page even if it’s just a few microseconds slow.
Here are some of the best URL shorteners available-
It doesn’t mean these are the only ones, there so many more.
If you don’t like these services try creating your own, you just need a server and domain name some patients and you can create your own URL shortener services with no dependency on any other service.
Bitly is one of the most widely used URL shortening service and surprisingly it’s super-fast.
You can use custom words to personalize links something like bit.ly/yourwords which makes it easy to remember.
It also integrates with various social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, so all the links you share can be tracked without any extra hassle.
Bitly also supports 1 branded short domain for free and also can be integrated with IFTTT)
Another great fast and reliable service.
The interface is quite simple, just a field to enter the URL and get your short URL with personalization option and option toggle on or off whether you want to log statistics for the link.
It gets the job done, no more extra features no signup.
It’s part of the HootSuite social media management tool,
You can use it freely and integrate with HootSuite, anything you post can be tracked or just use it without their social media posting tool.
Another simple and fast URL Shortner, you can use their service without registering or login
You can track statistics just by adding a dash (-) at the end of the short URL.
Get real-time statistics, use your custom domain and customize the characters at the end of the URL.
Buffer is one of the most popular social media management tool, which provides scheduling on different social media platforms,
Every time you post a URL it can shorten it using buff.ly and will provide you statistics, click engagement reports.
You can use their website or mobile app as per your convenience.
Everything you expect from URL shortens service, unlimited short URL, unlimited redirect, powerful dashboard, analytics, no ads and spam.
Advance analytics which you can filter by country, language, device, browser etc.
TinyURL is great and quite famous people are using it for very long time.
Paste your long URL and provide a custom name or customize it and share wherever you want, this is how your URLs looks after shortening tinyurl.com/yourwords, this one looks long compared to above-mentioned options of URL shortening services.
Some more URL shortening services quite often used-
- McAfee Secure Short URL
- Rebrandly – In free tier you get 1000 Branded Links, 1 Custom Domain
- URL Shortener by Zapier– While you are automating stuff you can short URLs automatically
URL shorteners are great no doubt if used appropriately they can help in real time tracking which is crucial while sharing a link,
You can do a lot more with it and you don’t have to buy premium plans for most of the useful features.
Tell us which URL shortener you are using?
Do you short URLs very occasionally or daily for social media platforms?