For a person, there are times when it obviously doesn't help to be brief: for example, reaching that furiously tall cupboard in the kitchen where your partner keeps the best snacks. (Popcorn! Just! Out! Out! Reach!)

However, when you're a url, shorter is better almost every time.

This is why URL shorteners are such useful tools. Any long and unwieldy website address can be reduced to a few characters at the push of a button.

And unlike a specific kitchen cabinet, URL shorteners are accessible to anyone with an internet browser – social media managers, regular everyday Facebook moms, small business owners, and TikTok tweens of all sizes.

Here is everything you need to know about using URL shorteners and why they should be an essential part of your social media toolkit.

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to plan your own strategy quickly and easily. Also use it to track the results and present the plan to your boss, teammates and clients.

What is a url shortener?

URL shorteners are tools that create a super short, unique URL that redirects to the specific website of your choice.

Basically: You make a URL shorter and easier.

Your new, shorter URL will usually contain the address of the shortener site plus a combination of random letters.

For example when I entered a url like animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/full-episodes/puppy-bowl-xvi in the Hootsuite Ow.ly Shortener it would generate ow.ly/uK2f50AJDI6. This shortens the link by 48 letters, but still gives you access to cute dogs who are bad at football.

In some cases, you can even customize this mini-url with a custom phrase. Oh the power!

Why use a url shortener?

There are many good reasons to use a URL shortener when you want to share a link.

Long, unruly links look suspicious

If you are linking to a specific page buried deep in your website or using UTM parameters to track your visitors, you may have problems with a long URL.

Long url
Source: Twitter

An oversized URL looks clunky almost anywhere you use it – in social posts that are shared in text and pasted into an email.

But worse, long URLs also look very suspicious. With so many letters and backslashes, as well as numbers and question marks, anything can happen when we click this link! Something!

Use the shortest possible URL to ensure order, order and friendliness.

Brand your links with a custom url shortener

If brand awareness is part of your social media strategy, a custom URL shortener is another tool to aid in dissemination.

URL shorteners that allow you to customize your shortlink provide the ability to name your brand. For example, Hootsuite's link shortener allows you to create a vanity shortlink with just a few clicks.

Especially if you use a free web hosting service or have a less exciting internet service provider, a custom url shortener can always keep your brand front and center when sharing links.

Link shorteners allow you to track performance

Most link shortening websites offer tracking metrics. Here you can find information about who clicked your link, where and when. This information will help you calculate the ROI of the campaign.

Create different links with different UTM parameters to easily track the source traffic. If you combine this with other analysis tools such as Google Analytics, you can prepare for marketing success.

Link Shorteners track performance

Source: Bitl.ly.

Short URLs are a great way to get the most out of the character restrictions on social media

Twitter has a strict character limit of 280, so it's important to keep posts short. Abbreviated URLs give you a lot more room for that poignant watch of politics or the perfect punctuation emoji for your killer hot dog joke.

URL Shortener Twitter
Source: Twitter screenshot

Even with posts on Facebook or Instagram where the character limits are in the thousands, it's best to keep things short and sweet for readability and engagement. Short urls help the TL; Avoid DR Syndrome.

Another benefit of shorter links: they're also useful for instant messaging or email, where longer links can be difficult to read or broken altogether with line breaks.

Shorter links are more memorable

Aside from the functional benefits of a shortened URL, they're just faster and easier to remember.

When a wedding publication tries to collect posts on a Google form, e.g. B. to guide followers docs.google.com/forms/d/1ezpZnYSA08L3nlsLzgjKToA76qKYgFpKzW5FMaKLoxI is a bit mouthful. A custom shotlink like bit.ly/submitRWOn the other hand, it's easy to understand and remember.

Try a shortlink on business cards, print ads, or physical signage. If users can actually type in their browser with just a few keystrokes, the more likely you are to earn some traffic.

Business card short link
Source: Unsplash plus some creative work on Canva

How do url shorteners work?

URL shorteners create a redirect to your long URL.

When you type a URL into your internet browser, an HTTP request is sent to the web server to go to a specific website. The long and short URLs are simply different starting points for an internet browser to achieve the same goal.

There are a few different types of forwarding HTTP response codes. However, look for those that use a permanent 301 redirect: the other variants can affect your SEO ranking.

10 URL shorteners to try out in addition to the Google Link Shortener

Google discontinued its popular URL shortener back in spring 2019, but on the plus side, there are dozens of alternative options.

On the other hand … there are dozens of alternative options. How do you know which one to choose?

Our advice: look for shortener services that allow you to customize your link or that have built-in analytics. A URL shortening website that has been around for a while may also be more reliable, reputable, and likely to avoid closing or interrupting services.

1. Ow.ly

Owly is built right into the Hootsuite platform and is included in every plan type (including the free version).

The benefit of this is that you can view your shortlink metrics right next to your other social analytics, so you can take a holistic view of your brand's performance.

Hootsuite Ow.ly Link Shortener
Source: Ow.ly

2. T.co.

Twitter has a built-in URL shortener that automatically reduces long URLs to 23 characters and gives you plenty of room to express yourself.

Every link you share – even a shortened one! – is converted to a t.co url so that Twitter can record metrics and weed out any spam or dangerous websites.

3. Bitly

When you use Bitly, you have to chew a ton of data. Here you can see the performance of each link based on metrics like demographics, referral sources and click-throughs via the robust Bitly dashboard.

A free account offers analysis and customization for one person. However, Basic and Enterprise subscriptions are also available that offer branded links, QR codes, richer data, and multiple users.

Bitly URL Shortener
Source: Bit.ly.

4. Tiny url

The website itself won't win any design awards, but who cares? It does everything you need to: create a tiny new url. Adjustments are possible without logging in. This makes it an efficient option when you're in a hurry to share the latest episode of your MasterChef Junior podcast.

One cool feature here: you can add TinyURL to your browser toolbar so you can create shortcuts for any website you're on right now.

TinyURL

Source: Tiny.url

5. Rebrandly

Rebrandly allows you to create your own branded shortlink with a custom domain – even with a free account.

SujindersCookiePalace.com Maybe it's a great main url, but when it comes to social sharing, that number of characters adds up. A short branded URL for link sharing only su.jinders, still gets your company name without taking up valuable space.

In addition, Rebrandly offers tracking, optimization and scaling tools in its various packages (paid options starting at $ 29 per month).

Rebrandly
Source: Rebrandly

6. Hyperlink

Get real-time notifications when hyperlinked links or change settings to hourly, daily or weekly summaries.

Hyperlink also offers per-click details: get device, location and recommendation information for each visitor, as well as a live tracking dashboard.

The app (for iOS and Android) is a nice addition to the Chrome extension for those who need to share links on the go. (You're busy! We get it!)

Custom domains are available with paid plans that start at $ 39 per month.

Hyperlink
Source: Hyperlink

7. Tiny.CC

Quickly shorten, track and manage your URLs with the simple interface of Tiny.CC.

Custom url slugs are available. When you register an account, you can follow the statistics for the shortlink.

Custom URL from Tiny.CC
Source: Tiny.cc

8. Bit.Do.

Bit.Do is another easy and cute option that has everything you need: customization options, traffic stats, and even an automatic QR code generator.

Short branded domains are also available here, but prices are slightly higher than the others on this list at $ 85 per month. Hence, if branded URLs are the way to go, it might be better to choose a different service.

Bit.Do
Source: Bit.do.

9. ClickMeter

ClickMeter's beautiful visual dashboard makes it convenient to get the most out of your links.

At a glance, you can monitor broken links and latency, find the visitors with the best conversion rates, track views and clicks, and more.

With packages starting at $ 29 per month, it's popular with agencies and publishers for its robust offerings and convenient link shortening features.

ClickMeter
Source: ClickMeter

10. Shorte.ST

Data is valuable to your insights, isn't it? Well, third party companies are often interested in this information too, which is why a home industry of companies has emerged that actually pay you to shorten your ties with them.

Shorte.ST is one of the most numerous URL shortenders on the internet. The payout rates vary depending on the geographic target group. (For example, Shorte.ST pays $ 14.04 CPM for U.S. traffic.)

In addition to cash, Shorte.ST offers a dashboard with thorough statistics for review.

Shortest
Source: Shorte.St

11. Cut.Ly

You don't need an account to use Cut.Ly or customize the URL. However, having an account gives you access to real-time analytics, including click-throughs and social media referrals.

Cut.Ly also has a free custom URL shortener button that you can add to your browser toolbar so shortening your link takes just one click.

Customize Cut.Ly URL shortener
Source: Cuttly

12. Clkim

The intelligent redirects of the Clkim system are intelligent. Based on contextual triggers, the URL can redirect users based on the mobile operating system or geographic location so that they can access your website in a way that is best for them.

There is also the option to run Target A / B tests to find out which landing page is better to convert. Also, Clkim offers retargeting based on custom lists of people who clicked on your shortlist.

Clkim
Source: Clkim

Bottom line: whatever combination of speed and detail you need, there is a shortening service for your long connection. Try a few, try them all – just make sure you keep it short and sweet.

Get more traffic to your website and save time with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can manage all of your social media profiles, shorten links with one click, measure success and much more. Try it for free.

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