This post lists 10 best URL shortner services along with the answer to what is web URL shorter and how to use them efficiently. Allow me to express my sincere thanks to Chitraparna Sinha for the compilation of awesome list of the most popular URL shortners.
Reading this post you'll learn:
- What is web url shortners
- Why url shortners are used
- Know top 10 url shortners
- How to use Bit.ly and analyze
An Incident with Short URL
There’s a small incident some time back in Frihost.net forum. I wrote an insightful post and left a shot URL at the end for anybody interested in the topic.
Just after some time there was a reply to my post, not replying the topic I was discussing, but warning other members not to click on that link. Because the URL was disguised, he took it as his earnest responsibility to aware safe browsing! Funny me 🙂
I had a specific purpose to use short URL instead of my real web address in that post. Using Short URLs, I could track the clicks. I intend to study the effectiveness of that forum to build traffic to my blog.
After clarifying my purpose of using short URL and, he might have made a brief research on my reputation, finally he was convinced. The topic did very good and it was really interesting discussion afterwards.
Okay, that was an incident I experienced. Now, lets jump to the topic – web URL shortner!
What is Web URL Shortner?
URL shortner is simply a service that will offer you a short URL instead of your long and ugly web address. When your readers click on that short URL they will be redirected to your original one.
Chitraparna: “URL shorteners are life-savers as a quick-to-access communication tool, especially in internet marketing and social networking.
URL shorteners are services in which, let’s say, a long-ish URL is inserted and at the click of a button, the URL is shortened to a maximum 10-character code. When anyone clicks on this code, they are directed to the original URL.”
“This is especially convenient for messaging technologies such as Twitter and Identi.ca which severely limit the number of characters that may be used in a message. Short URLs allow otherwise long web addresses to be referred to in a tweet. In November 2009, the shortened links on one URL shortening service were accessed 2.1 billion times.” –wikipedia
There can be another use of URL Shortner – to disguise the links.
There are times when you don’t want your readers to see the original web address of the pages you are linking to. This can be specifically when you are promoting some affiliate products. Short URLs will help you to protect you from commission stealing.
I use Pretty Link Pro to create custom short URLs so that the real affiliate link is not displayed to the sneaking eyes. You can use Pretty Link Pro to cloak URLs, auto link the keywords and generate performance reports of your short URLs.
Why URL Shortner?
This must be already obvious from above discussion. However, let me summarize it:
- Track URL Performance – you can analyze clicks and how they are performing in your campaign
- Make URLs short – easy to remember and possible to share in Twitter and Identi.ca
- Make URLs pretty – Long URLs with parameters and codes really look ugly. Make them pretty!
- Disguise URLs – add an extra layer to hide your URLs.
- Protect Your Commission – Are your affiliate earnings stolen without your notice?
I am already using and I recommend Pretty Link Pro for above benefits. If you are looking for some free options, Chitraparna has an awesome post – Top 10 Essential URL Shortners:
Chitraparna lives her life as a writer, marketing content developer, professional blogger, consultant. There is something profoundly satisfying in expressing what you want & earn in the process. Visit her blog at SocialVani.com, a resource for bloggers and small business owners.
Top 10 Essential URL Shorteners
There are 100+ URL shortening services. Here, I give you the best of the lot, according to my observation. Your choices can vary so feel free to share it with us.
This is the official tool from Google which not only allows you to shorten unlimited URL’s but helps you track traffic / visits from its very easy-to-access dashboard.
This is a popular and perhaps the oldest tool to share shortened URL’s and builds traffic. The dashboard shows detailed stats of views and clicks, and also gives you access to developer tools and side bar bookmarklet.
This is a very clean and non-obtrusive tool with great sharing functionalities like tracking. You can also bookmark re-tweeted links and check out visitor stats.
This is my personal favorite & I would recommend using this for promotions. With this tool, you can decide when the shortened URL will be ‘live’ and ‘die’. You can give the link a custom name and also decide on a specific number of clicks after which the shortened URL will cease to function. Amazing?
This is another of my favorite URL shorteners with which you can promote affiliate links, redirect URL’s and use custom names for links.
This is a mass URL shortening tool and comes with an API to create short URL’s in the active browser.
Like Google’s Goo.gl tool, Su.pr is the official URL shortening tool from StumbleUpon.com. This tool, besides URL shortening, allows you to syndicate content three ways between StumbleUpon.com, Twitter.com and Facebook.com. You can also schedule posts and the tool recommends the best time to post as per your activity and responses.
#8. Is.gd & V.gd
Apart from their easy to remember names, these tools allow you to create Quick Response (QR) codes for the shortened links. You can track traffic from dashboard and preview links before sharing.
If you don’t want to share your ‘real’ email ID with unknown people YET have to use the ID to allow others to contact you, use scr.im tool. Enter your email id and the tool will convert it into a non-recognizable format, which you can share anywhere on the web without bothering about stalkers and spammers.
This URL shortening tool enables you to add ‘categories’ to the shortened links to divide the links properly and assist in easy retrieval in future.
If you’re into heavy online promotions, using any of these URL shorteners will be a big help. Don’t you agree?
Don’t forget to share your favorite URL shorteners.
Awesome! Those were the 10 web URL shortners Chitraparna suggests. If you ask me about free URL shortner, I’m using bit.ly (now bitly.com), t.co and goo.gl excessively. There is something more interesting story about Su.pr to increase StumbleUpon count. I’ll tell you in some other day.
How to use Bitly to Shorten and Analyze Links?
From among the 10 shortners Chitraparna referred, I picked up bitly because this is what I often use to monitor and analyze the links. So, here’s the brief how-to about bit.ly.
Why do you need to track and analyze links?
Well, After you tweet messages or post in Facebook, you’d like to know how many clicked on the link, don’t you? Those clicks were made from which locations – isn’t it something more desirous? This will help you to learn what changes you need to make to get most of the tweets and sharing in future.
Here’s a video by TheTwitterKing explaining:
- how to create account in bit.ly
- how to create short URLs
- how to create short URLs with your custom name
- And finally, how to monitor and analyze the performance
Enjoy the video and do comment. Let me know how you find this post.