URL Shorteners: Everything you need to know

URL Shorteners: Everything you need to know


What are URL Shorteners? 

As the name suggests, a URL shortener is a marketing tool that transforms any long URL into a shortened URL. This new shortened link is more readable and when a user clicks they are redirected to the original link of the webpage. Indeed, URLs are quite difficult to memorize, type out or even distribute. As a result, short URLs have proven to be more convenient, reliable and content-friendly. 

In addition, with the arrival of social media platforms, lengthy URLs started to present a problem. At that point, Twitter limited their messages to a maximum of 140 characters, and they counted every character in a link. Therefore, URL shortener tools appeared to solve this sharing content problem. Furthermore, shorter URLs are more engaging and have more visual appeal. Although this might not seem important, a shorter URL could make the difference in convincing someone to click on your affiliate links. According to a study by Rebrandly, branded links are proven to increase click-through rates by up to 39%. 

4 reasons to use URL Shorteners

1# Short URLs provide a better user experience 

Appearance matters in all aspects of any online business as this influences users’ decision of either visiting a website or not. That being said, shortener links ensure that your links look as professional as possible. In addition, short affiliate links will make your links more user-friendly, improve click-through rates, and help protect your commissions from fraud. 

In fact, to provide a better user experience we need to strive to structure our URLs to maximize readability. Find below some factors that impact the readability of your links that you can use to optimize your URLs:

  • Use hyphens, not underscores
  • Between three to five words and try to use a max of 60 characters
  • Use lowercase letters
  • Add 1-2 keywords per URL
  • Avoid keyword repetition 
  • Always use HTTPS instead of HTTP

2# Shortener links make it easy to remember your brand

URL shortening is useful and helps you save valuable space when sharing it. It is also highly recommended when creating new branding opportunities and to make your URLs instantly recognizable, memorable, and trustworthy. Therefore, shortener links allow the enhancement of your branding efforts across different digital channels. 

3# Shorter URLs Improve SEO

When we think of SEO, several things may come to mind such as keywords or key phrases. Although it is not a secret that keywords play a prominent role in the Search Engine Optimization process, not everyone is familiar with them for shortener URLs.

The best practice to improve SEO is by using short URLs and adding your branding keywords to the links. In addition, another effective way to rank higher on search engines is by matching our URLs with your page titles. So, when search engines crawl your pages to index them, it is important that the pages’ content is relevant to its URL.

4# Link shorteners allow you to track performance 

URL shortener platforms enable you to track and analyze your campaigns more effectively, allowing you to optimize your marketing efforts and increase your earnings. Depending on the link shortener platform you use, you can get access to plenty of performance metrics like audiences’ demographic, traffic sources, visitor data and click-throughs.

5 best shortener URLs to use for your links

  1. Bitly

Bitly is a free URL shortener and comprehensive solution that enables you to customize your links and gives you all the tools that you need to connect with your audiences. Working with this versatile platform, you can track clicks, see traffic referrals and get data on audiences’ geography. Nevertheless, Bitly has an upgrade plan that provides premium custom options. 

  1. TinyURL

TinyURL is a free URL-shortening service and link management tool designed to help users shorten and customize URLs. In addition, It allows users to manage and track all the URLs and have access to upgraded features for advanced analytics. 

  1. Cuttly

Cuttly is a URL shortener and all-in-one link management platform with extensive link analytics. Cuttly offers solutions that will allow you to manage your links, create your own link-in-bio microsites so you can better reach your audience and generate and customize QR codes to track performance.

  1. Rebrandly

Rebrandly is a URL shortener and the industry-leading link management platform to brand and tracks short URLs using a custom domain name. In addition, Rebrandly allows users the easiest way to create, share, and manage branded links. 

  1. Ow.ly

Ow.ly is an excellent URL-shortening solution to shorten links, measure traffic, and demonstrate social ROI inside the Hootsuite dashboard. With Hootsuite’s link shortener, you can shorten and measure the traffic of links. 

Final thoughts

URL shortening is not only important to increase click-through rate but also to provide a better user experience. URL shorteners are more convenient, increase sharing and provide higher levels of professionalism. Working with URL shorteners allows you to track clicks and other metrics of your links and so optimize the results for better performance.