Why are Tumblrs shortened URLs for so long

URL shorteners: that's why it's worth using

Again and again you see social media channels URLs that start with bit.ly, owl.ly or lnkd.in. Behind all these links there is a landing page that you will be redirected to when you call it up. A URL shortener is generally not a bad idea. But there are a few things to consider. In this guide, we'll introduce you to the best URL shortener services and give you tips on how to use them correctly.

Why are url shorteners needed at all?
It works without ...

In principle it works without it. Before the short URL services celebrated their breakthrough, you could get to the desired destination with one click. One of the main reasons for the rapid spread is probably the character limit for tweets on the microblogging service Twitter. Until 2014, users were allowed to use a maximum of 140 characters in a tweet. In the meantime, this limit has been relaxed to 280 characters, but a URL can be quite long.

The URL shortener creates a redirect URL to the original address that is much shorter.

What are the advantages of url shorteners?

  • Very long URLs can be shortened significantly. This makes them ideal for sharing on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
  • Destination URL can be obfuscated. However, there are more and more services that do not allow short URLs. Google Ads does not accept bit.ly links to advertise search ads either.
  • Marketing campaigns can be evaluated in a targeted manner. How often was the URL accessed within a period of time? Where did the users come from?
  • Using many tools is completely free! There are always premium providers with additional services, but shortening them is usually free
  • Well-known URL shorteners are integrated directly into many programs and websites. A short URL can be generated directly at the push of a button
  • Short URLs / Short URLs do not have a negative impact on SEO! According to Google's Matt Cutts, a short URL has no effect on the pagerank and can even be used as a normal backlink. The link juice of the original page is inherited, so to speak!

Are there any disadvantages?

Depending on the application scenario, there are of course also risks and disadvantages that should be considered before use. Especially with services that are free and less well established, you should always consider the problems that arise if a URL shortener disappears from the market overnight and, for example, stops its service.

All URLs will then most likely come to nothing. If these have now been used in marketing campaigns or in printed product catalogs, it quickly becomes a huge problem. Because potential customers then no longer come to the actual page when the URL is called up. In particularly critical cases, you should therefore check the use of your own URL shorteners.

In principle, anyone can create shortened URLs themselves. Even with your own domain. But: the shorter the domain name, the better. Ready-made software for this is available for purchase in many places on the WWW. In the end, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the various solutions. For business-critical processes, it is better to rely on your own infrastructure. For many other purposes, you can also use a URL shortener service without hesitation.

The most popular URL shortening providers

1. Bitly | URL Shortener, Custom Links & Link Management

Screenshot: bit.ly / FLYERALARM Digital

Probably the most popular URL shortener on the market is bit.ly. Bitly allows you to create any number of shortened URLs. However, there is no way to use a custom URL. Instead, a random combination of letters and numbers is used. The bit.ly URL shortener service is integrated into many other platforms and services via an API. For example, short URLs can be generated on-the-fly from social media management software tools. This can save valuable time for other topics. You can already access call statistics in the free version. To do this, you simply have to append a + to the shortened URL. This trick can also be used to call up statistics from external URLs and thus get an insight into the performance of competitors.

2. Ow.ly - Shorten URLs, share files and track visits

Screenshot: Ow.ly / FLYERALARM Digital

ow.ly is also a URL shortening service, but it is no longer publicly available. ow.ly is fully integrated into the Hootsuite tool. This makes it child's play for users of the tool to carry out evaluations of your social media activities. In the past, you could shorten any URL without registering. In the meantime, however, this is only possible with a Hootsuite user account.

3. Rebrandly | URL shortener, branded link management, API

Screenshot: Rebrand.ly / FLYERALARM Digital

Rebrand.ly is also a service that can shorten your links. An unlimited number of URLs can be shortened free of charge. However, the tracked metrics are limited. A maximum of 5,000 clicks per month can be tracked. Rebrandly is integrated with over 100 different tools and systems. For example, you can have a short URL generated directly via a Chrome or Firefox extension. There are also connections for Zapier, Slack or Google Sheets that can make everyday life easier.

4. Cuttly | Free Custom URL Shortener, Branded URLs, Link Management, API

Screenshot: Cutt.ly / FLYERALARM Digital

cutt.ly is also a very fast and easy to use URL shortener. Here you can generate short URLs for free and even set a custom alias. Instead of cutt.ly/128dka that would be cutt.ly/meine_aktion. A QR code can also be generated directly with a click. Performance data such as clicks, referrals, devices or GEO location are also saved here for each URL. Campaigns can be easily evaluated in this way.

5. Google URL Shortener

Screenshot: goo.gl / FLYERALARM Digital

Google also had its own URL shortener with goo.gl. This was started in 2009 and finally discontinued on March 30, 2019. Existing links will continue to work, but you will no longer be able to create new links. Instead, Google also recommends using alternatives such as Bitly.

Your own URL shortener

With many providers like Bitly you can also use so-called custom domains. This is usually only possible from a paid package. But you can save yourself the installation, maintenance and operation of your own URL shortener, for example, and use all the features of the established URL shorteners.

The advantage of a custom domain is obvious: If the domain is short and memorable, it can increase brand awareness. Such link shortener domains are now used by many providers: youtu.be, apple.news, fb.me, sz.de, ...

Ideally, a short domain is available that is tailored precisely to your company. True to the motto “Facebook Me”, the short link from Facebook.com is an ideal example here. These domains can also be used much better in marketing materials such as printed flyers or brochures.

Use your own domain at bit.ly: You can use your own branded domain to generate shortlinks at Bitly from as little as $ 29 per month. In addition, you benefit from many other features such as the statistics and click metrics of the URLs.