best url shortener
In this article that is first will cover what exactly is a URL Shortener and what are the benefits and drawbacks of using one. We will offer an 'Initial' list of URL Shortening Providers (there are over 200 in existence today!) which, over time, I'll provide further information on... so check always back if you want more information... or let me know if you would like a particular provider reviewed a bit quicker.
best url shortener
A look at Free vs Paid for services; how to check and validate a shortened link and then on to some tracking information in future articles I will cover, in addition to the provider reviews.
What exactly is a URL Shortener?
A URL Shortener is just a technique on the Internet for taking a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and making it substantially shorter in length whilst still directing to the mandatory Internet page.
This is achieved by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the Internet page that has a long url.
What are some great benefits of utilizing a URL Shortener?
With the advent of Social Media sites like Twitter and Identi.ca that only allow a relatively small number of characters in a note, using long URL's meant that there is little or no space for the actual message. Shortening the URL allows longer messages to be included alongside the URL.
Shortening the URL allows the web that is originating to be disguised. This has some disadvantages which I will cover later but, from a positive perspective, it does allow an address to be made 'more presentable' in other words. by removing all those seemingly random characters and also to hide the originating domain name that, for whatever reason, people may not elect to click on.
Long URL's are sometime difficult to read and if you want to write one down then the chances or recording the URL incorrectly are high.
Memorable In the same vein as readability the shortened URL is far more memorable. In many cases you'll be able to format the URL with a description of your own choosing. Making URL's memorable has advantages that are obvious a marketing perspective. It is much easier to keep in mind bbc.co.uk/ rather than brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_motivational5.html?vm=l
For Internet or Affiliate Marketers URL Shorteners provide a mechanism to track when, where and how often times a URL is clicked upon. Knowing these statistics is essential towards the success of anyone working online they are likely to be online and what types of product they are likely to purchase as you have to know your target market and when. We will come back to tracking and statistics in a post that is future.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
a good url shortening service will pass along information to the prospective page by using something called a 301 redirect. I won't go fully into the details that are technical this post but this may help your page to rank with sites such as Google.
Numerous of the URL services are free of charge. For most uses e.g. Social Media, a service that is free absolutely fine. We will discuss in a post that is future advantages and disadvantages of free vs paid for URL Shorteners. Exactly what are the Disadvantages of utilizing a URL Shortener?
Like anything else in life there is normally a stability between advantages and drawbacks. The same is true of URL Shorteners.
Spamming The fact that you cannot see the details of the hyper link is used by spammers as a way of getting visitors to open links that they might otherwise ignore.
URL Shorteners Get Closed
Some URL Shorteners get closed down precisely because they don't control the level of spam that emanates from their service. If this happens and you have already been using the service then every one of your links become useless.
Using a Third Party Provider
The URL Shortener is effectively another 3rd party in the process between you creating a URL and sending it to your audience. You need to therefore choose your provider carefully.
Some Sites Do not allow Shortened URL's
Due to the known level of spam associated with some URL Shorteners, some sites will not accept shortened URL's. This is really important for Affiliate Marketers as some providers will maybe not allow shortended links that refer to affiliate products, as they class this as spam!
Redirection Could Cause Performance Issues
To resolve a shortened URL requires an extra translation between the shortened URL and the target URL. Whilst this must be negligible it will also depend on the provider you use to shorten your URL's.
Are URL Shorteners Good or Bad?
In my viewpoint URL Shorteners have a valid part to play, particularly where the life expectancy or a URL is not long... that is particularly true of Social Media. Some of the drawbacks around phishing and spam can be true of any URL, not just shortened ones... the same is true along with links, be careful what you click on!
My rule of thumb is that I use a URL Shortener for Social Media and for short-term affiliate campaigns. If I write articles or e-books that I expect to live for a lengthier period of time then I use the domain name... and mask this if it is too long.