An URL shortener is a website that reduces the length of your URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The idea is to minimize the web page address into something that’s easier to remember and track.
There are many URL shorteners on the market today, including Bit.ly, Goog.le and Tinyurl.com. The URL shortening service you choose will maintain the connection between the new link and the original URL. This means that anyone who clicks your new link will be redirected to the original page.
A history of URL shortener tools
Since the internet first began, links have been the primary mode of transportation for users. They allow people to go from one website to another instantly just by clicking an URL. Unfortunately, links often become long and complex as tracking parameters are added or site structures grow to accommodate hundreds of pages.
As social media emerged, lengthy URLs started to present a problem. Originally, Twitter limited their messages to a maximum of 140 characters, and they counted every character in a link. This meant that a lengthy URL could take up your entire tweet. URL shortener tools emerged as a solution to this sharing problem.
The benefits of URL shorteners
Content is a critical part of any marketing strategy. To share that content, you’ll need the right URLs. An URL shortener ensures that you get the right messages out to your audience without taking up too much space in your social posts. Additionally, tools like Bit.ly:
- Make it easier to share your content: Simplified and branded URLs tell customers everything they need to know about your site. There’s no need to use reduced URLs with random combinations of letters and numbers anymore.
- Make your URLs more appealing: Shorter URLs have more aesthetic appeal. Although this might not seem important, a shorter URL could make all the difference in convincing someone to click on your links.
- Allows for traffic monitoring: Bit.ly comes with tracking monitors that measure the sharing activities of your tweet or post over a certain period.
However, it’s important to ensure your short links don’t harm your reputation. Though URL shortener tools are useful, they also hide the original content of your link, making customers more suspicious. Brands will need to make sure that their links always lead to the content promised to keep customers happy.
How do you find and use URL shorteners?
There are plenty of URL shortener tools on the market today.
Some sites, like bit.ly, handle everything from URL shortening to analytics and tracking like. Others simply transform your URL into a new reduced link.
When you choose the URL shortener you want to use, simply enter your URL into the content box and click the button to reduce the link. Remember to be careful of link shortener tools that remove the branding from your content as this could make the link look less reliable.