Everyone who is on Twitter knows about URL Shorteners. When you tweet, your goal is to pack as much info into that 140 characters as possible, so why would you want to waste it on a lengthy URL? Many websites and blogs have put together a naming process that includes the title of their article (to assist with SEO), but that could very well take up more than your available space to Tweet! So, although URL shorteners were around before Twitter and other social media websites, they now became a necessity. It’s pretty much standard that you’re not going to see a full website URL when you glance at your Twitter stream.
But are they good for anything else? Absolutely. Whether you prefer bit.ly or tinyurl or even the new goo.gl shorteners, they have other uses than paring down your characters for social networking – although that’s still the way that most of us will use them!
Top Ways to Use URL Shorteners:
- Customize Your Extension:
Many of the URL shorteners allow you to choose your own extension (assuming it is still available) in place of the random string of characters. If it’s something that you want your users to easily remember, or if it is a URL you will be using frequently (home page of your blog perhaps?) – try to obtain that quickly. [Shorteners That Allow Customization: bit.ly, tr.im, cli.gs, snurl, budURL, tinyURL, Doiop]
- Compile and Track Data:
Several of the URL shorteners track data for you! You can gather the amount of times your URL has been clicked, geographic location, inbound links, and more. This gives you additional information than just seeing referring links from Twitter on your Google Analytics. [Shorteners That Track Data: bit.ly, tr.im, cli.gs, snurl, budURL, kl.am, zi.ma]
- Get Promoted:
Some of the URL Shorteners actually promote the top clicked links – so you could get some free visitors and readers to your website! It’s not a given, but could be beneficial all the same. [Shorteners That Promote Links: bit.ly (popular links on Twitter), kl.am (popular links on their website), Snurl (shows interesting ones on Browse Snips)]
What is your favorite URL Shortener?