Why Do I Need One? Within the coming weeks I will be writing a number of articles on URL Shorteners. I have been using Shortened URL's for some time also it wasn't until people started asking me about that they are only really understood by people engaged in On-line Business that I realised. Therefore this series of articles aims to provde something for the beginner and, hopefully, something for the more Online that is seasoned Professional.
In this article that is first will cover what's a URL Shortener and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using one. I will also provide an 'Initial' list of URL Shortening Providers (there are over 200 in existence today!) which, over time, I am going to provide further information on... so check back if you want more information... or let me know if you want a particular provider reviewed a bit quicker.
top url shortener
In future articles I will take care of, in addition to the provider reviews, a look at Free vs Paid for solutions; how to check and validate a shortened link and then on to some tracking information.
What's 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 utilizing an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the Internet page that has A url that is long.
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 real 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 perspective that is positive it does allow an address to be manufactured 'more presentable' i.e. by removing dozens of seemingly random characters and also to hide the originating domain name that, for whatever reason, people may not choose to click on.
Long URL's are sometime difficult to read and if you want to write one down then your chances or recording the URL incorrectly are high.
Memorable In the same vein as readability the shortened URL is much more memorable. In many cases you'll be able to format the URL with a description of your personal choosing. Making URL's memorable has advantages that are obvious a marketing perspective. It is much simpler to remember bbc.co.uk/ rather than brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_motivational5.html?vm=l
A URL is clicked upon for Internet or Affiliate Marketers URL Shorteners provide a mechanism to track when, where and how many times. Knowing these statistics is essential to the success of anyone working online as you must know your target market and when they're likely to be online and what types of product they tend to purchase. I will come back to tracking and statistics in a future post.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
A url that is good shortening will pass along information to the goal page by using something called a 301 redirect. I won't go fully into the technical details in this post but this can 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 free service is absolutely fine. We will discuss in a future post the 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 actual fact that you cannot see the details of the web link is used by spammers as an easy method of getting people to open links that they might otherwise ignore.
URL Shorteners Get Closed
Some URL Shorteners get closed down precisely because they don't get a grip on the known level of spam that hails from their service. If this happens and you have been utilizing the service then each of your links become useless.
Using a Third Party Provider
The URL Shortener is effortlessly another alternative party within the process it to your audience between you creating a URL and sending. You should therefore choose your provider carefully.
Some Sites Do not allow Shortened URL's
Due to the 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 perhaps not enable shortended links that refer to affiliate products, as they class this as spam!
Redirection Could Cause Performance Issues
To resolve a shortened URL requires a translation that is extra the shortened URL and the target URL. Whilst this should really be negligible it will also depend on the provider you use to shorten your URL's.
Are URL Shorteners Good or Bad?
In my opinion URL Shorteners have a valid role to play, particularly where the life expectancy or a URL is not long... which can be 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 with all links, be careful what you click on!
My rule of thumb is that a URL is used by me Shortener for Social Media and for short term affiliate campaigns. Then i will use the domain name... and mask this if it is too long if i write articles or e-books that I expect to live for a longer period of time.