It’s a fair question… As a URL shortener and a company that specializes in everything to do with links, it’s something we get asked quite a lot.So we thought we’d give you the entire breakdown on this secretly evolving industry. Find out how you can use a link shortener to your advantage.It couldn’t be any simpler than that.
I want to clarify that a URL shortener is the same as a link shortener… is the same as a link shrinker… a link compressor… a URL condenser… a vanity URL creator… I think that’s them all covered. They are all different ways of saying the same thing, which is that we want to take something long and ugly, then make it short and cute. To keep it simple, I will stick with the term URL shortener from today until the day I die.
What is a Custom URL Shortener?
A custom, or branded URL shortener, is when you’ve connected your own custom domain to a URL shortener which acts as a base for all the short links you create. Instead of using a generic domain such as bit.ly or rebrand.ly, you can pick your own.We always recommend using your own custom domain when sharing links online as it leads to increased link trust, brand awareness, and click-through rate.
If you want to find out more about the difference between branded and generic short links, you can check out the video below:
A Brief History of URL Shorteners
Since the dawn of the internet, links have been the way to get from one place to another online. Think about it, you either start by searching for something and then clicking a link, or by typing a link directly into your browser’s address bar. There’s no other way to get around.You can share links directly, embed them in “anchor text” like this, or use a custom link shortener to make your links branded and cool like this:
Derric.link/Twitter (hey… follow me on Twitter while you are at it.)
With the advent of Twitter and other social sharing platforms, lengthy URLs started to become a problem. Originally Twitter – who used to limit messages to 140 characters – counted all characters in a link. (Now it makes all links count as 23 characters), which meant sharing a URL like:
http://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2016/29075/the-state-of-social-media-marketing-infographicWould eat up the entire Tweet… Unless you used a URL shortener.And Twitter did…
Originally TinyURL was the URL shortener of choice for Twitter, before the platform switched over to Bitly in November, 2009.Then Twitter eventually came out with their own URL Shortener: t.co. Designed to both protect users from malicious links and shorten lengthy URLs.
Google followed suit by launching goo.gl in December 2009, and dozens of URL shorteners have followed in since then, all with varying features and revenue models. (Though, it’s worth noting that earlier this year Goo.gl announced it will be winding down its service).But aside from this early necessity of URL shorteners for Twitter “back in the day” what can URL shorteners do for you right now?
What Can a URL Shortener Do?
URL Shortening has come a long way since its inception in the year 2000.Here are a handful of pretty slick things you can do with your URL shortener today:
Obviously shortening a URL allows you to mask the original web address.
This is bad for us as consumers in the sense that it allows for spammers and hackers to hide malicious links from us. Thankfully, with security protection features from Chrome and other browsers (you use Chrome, right? You should…) we no longer have to worry about malicious link masking.
Proper link masking might be where you take a URL from a strong piece of content that you are looking to share, and simplify it to portray a key point in your social message.
The original link is: https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-top-100-social-media-blogs, which isn’t too ugly to begin with – but is too long to show on Twitter.
So I created a short link to portray the same message in a shorter space while masking the fact that the post is from Buffer. I’m not masking it for malicious reasons. In fact, I share many other Tweets that reference them and link to the same piece of content. But I am masking the destination URL from the user.
Other good reasons for masking a link might include:
- Hiding, “beautifying,” or branding an ugly affiliate link.
- Shortening a lengthy domain such as my upcoming book title: “playyourbusinesslikeapokerplayer.com” to something simpler like “bizpoker.link”
- Tracking – maybe you are just masking the link so that you can track how many people click on this one specific link. This is a digital marketing best practice when sharing links online.
And don’t confuse link masking with link cloaking – which is presenting false information, most specifically to search engines – called spiders or bots – while redirecting humans to a different URL that has nothing to do with the forged content. This is a black hat SEO practice that can get your website banned from Google search results. Don’t do it.
It’s much simpler to share a short and memorable URL than a lengthy one, especially when those lengthy URLs contain random numbers in them.
Which URL are you going to shout to a room full of people while giving a talk? The short one, or the long one?
Which URL would you link to in your presentation?
Which URL would you want to tell people at a networking event when you ran out of business cards? Me, I use Derric.link/card. It’s that simple.
Which URL do you want to put into a forum when sharing some new ideas?
Whenever you are sharing a link in a public setting, you should be using a link shortening tool to help pretty up the link and track the number of click-throughs.
Link tracking has got to be the number one reason to shorten a link. We, as digital marketers and social media managers, need to know the fruits of our labors…
And we probably have to do monthly reports on our efforts too.
If we can’t prove our clicks – and hopefully conversions – then we have very little job security.
You can see how many real visitors clicked on a link versus the number of bots or spiders. This gives you a more accurate idea of real visitors coming to your site and the conversion rate. You can get a daily breakdown, or even a geographical one (not shown). And there are a hundred other features worth checking out.
ClickMeter is not for everyone though. It’s more for heavy digital marketers or social media managers looking to track large or ongoing campaigns in great detail.
But simple link tracking is very important for all marketing efforts, whether it’s personal or professional… For curiosity or for ROI… Which is why TinyURL is kind of useless now. But tools like bit.ly, snip.ly and, of coursem Rebrandly are the preferred URL shorteners.
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For any Link abuse - copyright please feel free to drop a mail to [email protected] we will take down the link and take necessory action agaisnt user if violating any DMCA