Definitions

What is URL Shortener? – Definition, Uses, And More

Definition URL Shortener

A URL shortener is a tool that helps reduce the number of characters in a link. And the shorter, the easier it is to share the link, either through email, social networks, or a downloadable PDF.

When you start adding UTM tags to your URL links, they can also become even longer and more complex. You need these tags to track your URLs, but the longer they are, the bulkier. It is in these cases where a URL shortener is most worthwhile.

Some tools offer the ability to track link clicks and keep a file of each URL you shorten, while others simply provide a short URL. There are also some social media programming platforms and analytics tools that have the URL shortening service built-in.

Also read: What is Bitcoin? – Definition, Properties, Functions and More

How does URL Shortener work?

URL shortening is a technique where a URL or IP address directs you to the same page as the most extended address. URL shortening uses an HTTP redirect technique, which facilitates the availability of multiple URLs for specific web pages.

You can also say that a URL shortener is an online application that converts a regular URL (the address of your website, for example, starting with HTTP: //) into a shorter format. To do this, you just have to copy the full URL of your website and paste it in the URL shortening tool to create a shortened version that has between 10 and 20 characters.

Uses of URL Shortener

  • In order not to visually overload a post, it needs to be accompanied by a URL.
  • Post messages that must accommodate a limited number of characters, such as Twitter.
  • Store, read, copy or list numerous URLs

Note: URL shortening is also known as URL redirect.

Functions of a URL Shortener

The short URL is a practical help for forwarding a link, for example, if you want to deliver a link to contact by email, to share it on social networks or a mobile device.

In the context of social media marketing, a short URL will allow you to enrich the part of the text with more information, for example, on Twitter.

Surely you are wondering if, from an SEO perspective, Google sees the short URL well. The answer is yes. These use a permanent redirect (code 301), which is what the search engine prefers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shortening URLs

URL shorteners are regularly used in Digital Marketing, as they allow business owners to track how many people clicked on a specific link. They can provide statistical information on website traffic and the performance of a marketing campaign. But these are not the only advantages; below we will give you others:

Short URLs are more attractive

Shortened URLs have become very common; you must include them in your content. Shortened URLs tend to blend, while long links tend to stick out in a disproportionate and unprofessional way.

Also, most people have become accustomed to shortening links as it offers them many benefits, such as higher click-through rates and more actions per post. From an aesthetic point of view, short URLs are more attractive, leave room for more content per publication, and are easier to share.

URL shorteners personalize your brand

Shortened URLs can offer a unique opportunity for your business. Several shortening services provide a custom domain brand. It means is that instead of your shortened URL appearing as an Ow.ly or Bit.ly link, you can create your URL. For example, Time Inc.’s brand URL is “ti.me” and Moz’s “mz.cm.”

Using custom domains will create more reliable interactions with your audience. If a user sees your company name included in the abbreviated URL, they will have more confidence in the link, since it guarantees that it is safe, credible and will take the user to the desired site.

Measure web traffic

The real secret weapon when it comes to URL shorteners is that most offer analytics features, which you’ll need to measure your social media campaigns, for example. In this way, you will be able to track your shortened URLs in real-time, to obtain information about the demographics of the audience, the participation rate, and the click rate available instantly.

Other metrics can include the time and date the link gets clicked, from which channel it was viewed, and from what type of device.

For example, is there a higher participation rate on mobile devices compared to PCs? Are you receiving more successes from Argentina than from Mexico?

Track Dark Social shortened links

A growing problem in the world of Content Marketing is the inability to track Dark Social actions. If you think social media doesn’t affect your marketing efforts, think again. Dark social sharing accounts for more than half of all content you share online.

Also read: What is QR Code? – Definition, Information, Uses and More

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Kamran Sharief

I write about technology, marketing and digital tips. In the past I've worked with Field Engineer, Marcom Arabia and Become.com. You can reach me at kamransharief@gmail.com

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