If we want to shorten a link and create a short, short and catchy link, then it is possible to make a link shortening easily and often for free by a special tool that does that. Here are going to use a lot of the words “short” and “link / URL” in different mixes, we hope not to overload you too much.
Here is the professional and only guide you need.
Shortening a link is an action in which we turn a long link into a short link. We reduce it to present in a compact and convenient way to our user or customer.
A long link can be created for several reasons. For example, if you create an article or post on a blog, and do not change its “URL slug”, it can inherit the information from the title of the post. Then you will get a very, very long URL.
And if it’s in a non-English language (Hebrew, Russian, etc.), then it’s going to be really, really long and in a rather vague language with special characters. Such a link looks very bad and can harm you and your trust in the eyes of the customer.
In addition, a fairly long link is not a clear link, it may be considered spam in some cases in the eyes of the platform where it is published, it catches characters in cases where there are restrictions (like Twitter) or even makes you pay more (if sent in an SMS).
For this purpose, tools are known as “link shortener” or “URL shortener” are used. This is a service that actually creates a really short link of only a few characters. When you click on it, you go to your full and long URL.
As we said at the beginning, there are quite a few reasons some of which are also the benefits of why to do so, here are the main reasons for shortening URLs. In fact, these are important benefits for you.
- Tracking – You can track all clicks on the link. You will know how many times users clicked, source of arrival or traffic, details about users, and more.
- Easy to share – Easier to share a short link. Chances are your customers or users will not make a mistake, especially if they need to enter it. It also saves them time to enter everything, which is not sure will happen at all.
- Prevent link breaking – Sometimes the link can be broken, if you copy it incorrectly and share it later. Especially if it is a long and unclear link where it starts and where it ends.
- Customization – Usually the link created is a sequence of letters and numbers. But, it is possible to customize the abbreviated link, in clear words or familiar concepts. For example, you can get a 20% off campaign, you can write “20-off”.
- Use with UTM parameters – UTM parameters allow you to tag the link to track campaigns and sources of revenue through Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and other tools. You can add the parameters even before creating the shortened link.
- Doesn’t hurt SEO on Google – If you thought a short link might hurt site promotion, then probably not. That’s what Matt Cutts said when he worked for Google (original video).
- Doesn’t hurt preview – When sharing a link on social networks, mostly, there is a link preview. So a shortened link does not harm it, so it can also be displayed to the user on Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.
When should you use shortcuts?
If you still do not know when you should use a short link, here are some examples and cases:
If you upload a post with a caption to social networks, and you want to direct the user to your website, you can use the shortening of your URL and thus also follow clicks and entries to the site.
When you place an advertisement on the Internet, you can enter the abbreviated link directly in the dedicated area designed to direct the user out of the system. You can also add the link in the text area of the ad on social networks.
If you promote and market businesses or products through affiliate marketing, you can create a short link to disguise your referrer ID. In addition, affiliate linking is usually very long, so it is also very convenient to shorten it anyway.
We are back to this topic again. If you have several types of campaigns and you want to know what their effectiveness is or you just want to add them to your link, then surely the link will become longer. A short link can help you create a short link.
You can send SMS messages to customers and manage the effectiveness of this marketing channel. Also, you can save costs, because you use fewer characters that you would have to pay for.
If you provide any support services to your customers through your website, FAQ service, or any other system, then you can create such abbreviated links.
In addition, if you create screenshots links, instructions for use, and similar cases, a shortened link can help everyone reach their desired destination.
If you use file storage services like Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or a similar service, then you can create such a link to make sure the user is redirected to the appropriate link.
Offline is a great place where you can estimate your data using an abbreviated URL. Offline marketing channels can be any other marketing channel such as arrival at a physical store, business card, flyer, advertising in outdoor areas, etc.
If you are emailing customers or marketing a newsletter, you can use the link shortener tool to shorten and track clicks. Whether it is a link in the body of the email or those that are also in your signature area.
Tracking visits to another site
If you also post links to social networks or other sites that you do not have statistical access to, you can create a short link to get information about the number of clicks and visits to the site.
This way you too can create a short link and enjoy everything. In principle, link shortening is done according to the following steps:
- Copying the long original link.
- Pasting with a tool shortens links.
- Clicking the Link button in the tool.
- Copying the abbreviated link.
- Pasting where you wanted.
An explanation of URL shorteners here.
So how does all this happen? In fact, there are services that make it possible to shorten your link in a simple and easy way. Just paste in the link field and click on Create Short Link.
Here are all the providers (URL shortener):
Bit.ly is one of the most popular. The service allows you to shorten an even and customized website address for free. You must create an account to create and manage the links.
Tinyurl.com is another tool for creating shortcuts. In the past, it was not possible to get statistics or manage links. Today the tool has been upgraded and it is possible to do so.
Bit.do allows you to shorten a long address and get a very short and customized link. Of course, you can manage all the links in one place with a control panel. By the way, you can delete the link so that a subsequent click will not be directed to the link you created.
Tiny.cc Another service that allows you to shorten links, you can get statistics and manage all the links together.
Is.gd is another service that allows you to create short links. But it is not possible to manage the public links and statistics (displayed to everyone).
Ow.ly This is a Hootsuite service (helper system for social media page manager) that allows you to create short links and get information and reports.
To.click is another tool for shortening links easily with a system for managing links and viewing statistics.
Cutt.ly Another tool for creating free shortcuts. There is a system for managing and viewing reports and analytics.
Note: There was a service called Goo.gl – a Google URL shortener. It was an active Google service but it closed back in 2018. Google decided to focus on creating deep links to apps and therefore closed the regular service.
Most of the tools above allow you to customize the shortcut URL. Some also offer an API service, to allow remote interface and create apps for creating automatic links without manual entry.
All offer a free version for free at all, depending on the number of links or referrals. And most of them have paid packages that offer even more advanced tools for large businesses or developers.
For some, it is possible to create a QR code instead of the link, mainly intended for mobile phones.
Data tracking and analysis
One of the important things is data tracking and analysis. This allows you to better understand the link and the users such as the number of clicks, the geographical location of the user, date and time of clicking, source of referral that led to the click, user operating system, browser, and more.
Some of the information may not be displayed to everyone due to the provisions of the Privacy Protection Laws.
This information helps you better understand the users, whether you are addressing the right target audience, and more cases.
If it is important for you to brand yourself, you can purchase a short domain that is reminiscent of your brand name. Then, you can implement a system of shortcuts to the domain, thus managing all your shortcut links.
This can be done by one of the vendors above, this may involve an additional fee or the purchase of one or another premium package.
But you can also do that by a service called yourls.org for free. But in this case, you need to know and know the basic knowledge of code and programming.
The big ones also create branded links such as:
- Google company with the domain g.co.
- Facebook with fb.me.
- Twitter with t.co.
- LinkedIn with lnkd.in.
- And more..