URL Shortener: Useful Examples and Why You Need It

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URL shortener

More than ever, a URL shortener is becoming a very useful tool for bloggers. It is no longer news that we are in the computer age. An internet user spends an average of 6 hours and 35 moments per day surfing the internet. Internet is so easy to access these days that you only need a mobile phone, a web browser and a stable internet connection.

When a user opens the browser, they need an “address” to the particular website they want to visit. Each website has its unique address, which is known as the URL.

URL is an acronym that stands for “Uniform Resource Locator.” It is a unique identifier you can use to locate a particular website online. Think of the URL as an address you enter into Google Maps to tell you where to go.

The URL is the address that a web browser uses to locate a particular web page. Oftentimes, URLs contain several characters that are too long to remember and share with others. Here is where the need for a URL shortener comes in. 

Meaning of URL Shorteners

A URL shortener is a tool that helps to reduce the number of characters of a web page link, making it easier to memorize and type out. Many URL shorteners allow users to create short and unique URLs that redirect them to the old URL links. 

Usually, the shortened URL link contains the shortener’s site address, coupled with some random letters and/or numbers. There are a few URL shorteners that allow users to customize the links. This enables beautification and familiarity with the shortened links.

Read also: Redirects on Business Websites: Types, Importance and Uses

4 Examples of URL Shorteners

  1. Bitly

This is an all-rounder URL shortener that offers full services to individuals and businesses. Bitly is an easy-to-use tool with a friendly user interface. Aside from creating short URL links, it has a dashboard where users can track their social and website link performances. 

Bitly also contains a QR code generator for all short URL links. The free version offers only 10 URL links per month, although 5 of these 10 free links can be customized according to the user’s preferences. Bitly’s basic plan costs $35/month.

This plan allows the users to create up to 1,500 branded short links per month. It also offers more analytical data on who clicked on a link and when. The premium plan costs $300/month. It comes with more features, such as 3,000 customizable links, and analytic data, such as types of devices used, location and date. It also provides support for its users.

  1. Rebrandly

Rebrandly is also a great URL shortener with an awesome web app interface and a too-good-to-be-true free plan. The free plan offers amazing value to individuals and small-scale businesses. They get up to 250 branded links in a month and track up to 2,500 clicks, providing comprehensive analytic data to users. 

The paid version is categorized into Essential, Professional and Team. Essentials plan costs $34 per month with 5,000. The professional plan costs $9/month, while the Teams plan is $499 per month and it can be used by 10 users. With these plans, users get more control over links, and they can use a domain name they already own. 

Like Bitly, Rebrandly can generate automatic QR codes for URL links. Rebrandly has many great features, and it is a highly recommended URL shortener for business owners and bloggers. 

  1. Tiny URL

Tiny URL has been around since 2002, and it is still one of the best URL-shortening tools.  It offers one of the best free versions, as it does not require users to create an account before accessing its services.  

All they have to do is open the website and input their lengthy URL links. Tiny URLs will create shorter and even customizable links for them without fearing link expiration. Additionally, users with a Tiny URL account have access to a list of all their shortened links, and the paid version offers data analytics of all links, a URL link edit button, and a custom domain name. 

The major challenge with Tiny URLs is that the website is a little bit old-fashioned. Other than this, it is a great URL shortener.  

Read also: Building a Portfolio Website: The Ultimate Guide

  1. Short.io

Here is another URL shortener with cheap premium plans. Short.io has a user-friendly interface and offers one of the most advanced tracking and analytics tools. It shows the users where, when and what devices people are using to click on links. 

It also allows users to send different links to people based on the type of devices they use. That is, if the target audience is iOS users, the users click on the Apple icon on the website, and it generates a link that works for only iPhone/MacBook users. The Android icon generates links for Android users, while the globe icon creates short links that work for everyone, regardless of the type of devices they use. 

Short.io is an excellent URL shortener, although one of the cons of using it is that users are mandated to use a custom domain even with the free version, which offers 5 of these. The free plan offers 1,000 branded URL links and 50,000 tracked clicks. Device targeting is also available on the free version. The paid plan costs $19/month, offering unlimited custom links and geo-targeting.

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Why Do You Need a URL Shortener?

  1. Looks simpler and more appealing

Using a URL shortener helps to create more aesthetically pleasing URL addresses, which will improve the chances of people clicking on the links shared with them, ultimately increasing traffic to the web pages.

  1. Allows brands to customize links

Incorporating branded URL links into a content management strategy is a great way to improve brand awareness. These kinds of URL address shorteners allow brands to customize lengthy URL addresses into shorter and unique ones. 

That is, brands can customize the short links to their brand name. This improves the overall content management strategy as it helps people get familiar with your brand name. It also helps to resolve doubt issues users get before clicking on lengthy URL links. 

Read also: Why You Need a Backlink Checker for Your Website

  1. Easily track website performance

A lot of custom URL shortening tools offer tracking metrics. They provide analytical data by making information such as who clicked on a link, location, time and date, etc., available to users. The availability of such data will help users to keep track of the successful link clicks.

It can also help to understand the behavioural pattern of the audience engaging in the content and their wants. 

  1. Easier to copy and share

A URL shortener can eliminate the barrier of sharing long and complicated links with people, especially on platforms such as X (formerly known as Twitter), with limited words per post. Shortened links are easier to copy and paste and share via social media posts. They are also convenient to type out on browsers. 

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URL shorteners offer branding and analytics benefits. However, it should be noted that there are a few downsides to using them. One of them is the possibility of people using them to share malicious content that can harm or steal peoples’ data.  Overall, URL shorteners are great tools recommended to community managers, bloggers and other businesses.

Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About the Author

Akorede Olawale is a graduate of Microbiology and is enthusiastic about public health. She enjoys reading, which sparked her interest in writing. Akorede also enjoys cooking and baking, as well as scrolling through her favourite social media platform – Twitter.

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out inisght.ng/guest-post.

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