URL Shorteners – What’s the Point?
If you use social networking – in particular, Twitter – on a daily basis, then you have probably seen many different truncated URLs that look almost too short to be real. These types of links are generated by URL shorteners, which take an often unmanageable URL with dozens of characters and shorten it down to around 10-20 characters. While some may not understand the immediate benefits of having a smaller URL, there are many aspects of web management and content distribution in which it becomes important. Below, we have listed several reasons why you should use such a service.
Easier to Fit in Places
While this may sound silly, there are a variety of reasons why you should want the shortened URL for placement. On social networks such as Twitter, there is a character limit. If you spend 100 of your 140 characters on the URL, then you do not have much in terms of space to describe what the actual link is about. This may also come handy in forum signatures or when pinging on iPhones, due to limited character inputs and smaller screens. While shortened links may remove some of the SEO attributes that they otherwise have, you do still have your original link when and if necessary.
Believe it or not, there are actual elements of utility to shortening your URLs for particular purposes. Bit.ly, one of the most popular URL shortening services on the internet, offers the ability to track live click data, the origin of the traffic and the geographic location of the user. While not all URL shortening services offer the same amount of traceability, the option is available through several services if you select them. By being able to keep track of who is coming to your site and from where they are coming, you do not have to sacrifice the analytics you need for convenience in a shortened URL.
When it comes to sharing, simplicity is the key to success. Shortened URLs offer the ability to readers and subscribers to send the URL in texts – it is much easier while pinging on iPhones or other portable devices to type out 20 characters than it is to type out 100 or 200 characters. There are also URL shorteners that can provide you with an array of sharing options: Pagetweet, for instance, offers several social networking buttons through which you can share and see basic stats such as the number of times the URL has been viewed.
Utilizing a URL shortening service can provide you with a better quality of sharing information with others – in any format. Shortened URLs are much easier to handle, more likely to be viewed than large, obtrusive URLs and can even be monitored for basic stats and analytics. From the perspective of the webmaster, there are really no disadvantages to using this strategy on Twitter and elsewhere. We recommend this service to any webmaster who has a regular fan base established via social networking or someone who is seeking to build their online repertoire.
Though this article may seem obvious to those who already use URL shortener this is a good article for those who don’t or who haven’t yet learned about them. I still remember when I first got on Twitter and kept asking myself why everyone’s URL started with “bit.ly”, “ow.ly” or “tinyurl”.
I primarily like using URL shorteners for tracking purposes. Tracking is key in testing and scaling up your marketing and so if you use Twitter especially, it’s basically a must – Unless you’re just posting straight up links with no description which probably isn’t the most effective.