Trying to convince people to click a long, jumbled link is almost as bad as a door-to-door salesperson trying to sell people financial services.
If your audience sees a link on one of your social media posts that they find spam, it’ll do the digital equivalent of slamming the door on your face – scroll past it.
To avoid getting perceived as spam or sloppy when you have a legitimate link to share, check out our list of the seven best link shorteners that will help you put your links into clean, consistent, and clickable URLs.
A link shortener cuts your links into polished URLs. Shortening your links will make it easier for you to share and track performance. Some URL shorteners even offer branded link options. For example, a branded link for this blog post could look something like “hubs.ly/url-shorterner”.
What are the benefits of using link shorteners?
Using link shorteners can benefit your brand in three ways:
- Posting long links on social media can look like spam or prevent users from clicking something they don’t recognize. In particular, adding tracking parameters to your links can result in URLs that look long and confusing to someone unfamiliar with typical link tracking practices. Link shorteners can turn spam links into clear and concise links.
- Many link shorteners also let you track the performance and analysis of each link to understand what content works best on specific platforms.
- Every social media network limits the number of characters you can include in your posts. Twitter and LinkedIn have the shortest character limits at 280 and 700 characters respectively. So if you need to compress a link or an additional hashtag in one of your posts, link shortening can help you stay within the limitation.
Best link shortener
Bit.ly is a link shortener platform with a comprehensive dashboard that shows the performance metrics of your links, such as: B. Click-through rates, channel statistics and geographic information of the people who click on your links.
They also offer branded links and are built into social media management software like Sprinklr, Sprout Social, Buffer, Hootsuite and HubSpot so you can seamlessly distribute your shortened links across your social media profiles.
Bit.ly’s free account offers up to 1,000 unbranded links and link reports for 30 days, which is great for small businesses. Their business plan allows you to brand 3,000+ links per month and provide all of the above data and metrics. This is best for large companies that want to brand and track every link in their marketing campaigns.
As one of the more robust link shorteners, Bl.ink offers smart branded links that allow you to create custom links that contain relevant words rather than just a random string of characters.
They also offer analytics reports that can be used to track clicks by date, time, language, referrals, device, and location and integrate with web analytics tools like Google Analytics and Adobe.
Bl.ink offers six subscription levels from a free to a business plan. Starting at $ 12 a month, they calculate their plans based on the number of links you want to create and follow.
Rebrand.ly is a link shortening platform that allows you to brand your links, track their performance metrics or integrate with over 50 other platforms to distribute your links seamlessly.
With three plans for individuals and two plans for teams, Rebrand.ly offers link shortening solutions for small businesses and businesses. For example, their free plan offers 5,000 tracked clicks, 500 branded links, and 5 custom domain names, while their premium plan offers 1,500,000 tracked clicks, 150,000 branded links, and 20 custom domain names for $ 499 per month.
Developed by the social media management platform Hootsuite, Ow.ly is a link shortener that is included with every free Hootsuite account. With Ow.ly, you can distribute your links and track their performance metrics right on the Hootsuite platform. This is a great way to shorten every single link that you post on all of your social media profiles. Ow.ly is a great option for anyone who already uses Hootsuite as a social media management platform.
Much like Hootsuite’s Link Shortener tool, Buff.ly is integrated with Buffer, another social media management platform. Buff.ly allows you to shorten, customize your links, distribute them to all of your social media profiles and track your performance metrics right on the Buffer platform. Buff.ly is perfect for anyone using Buffer as a social media management platform.
TinyURL is a free link shortening platform that is perfect for users who have one-off links that they want to shorten.
Using TinyURL is easy. All you have to do is go to TinyURL.com and follow the instructions. You can quickly enter the link you want a short URL for, as well as a custom alias. If no one is using your alias, the link you get will look something like tinyurl.com/alias.
Once you’ve entered the URL information and hit submit, you’ll see three types of URLs: the long link, a generated short link, and a third that can serve as a preview link for a webpage. Here is an example:
Tiny.CC is another free link shortener that allows you to create temporary short links by simply pasting your long link in a text box and clicking on Shorten. As with TinyURL, you can customize these links too.
When you register or become a paid subscriber, you can have non-expiring links and edit URLs later. If you’re a free user, the link will eventually expire and you won’t be able to edit it once it’s generated.
Navigate link shorteners
If you need to share a couple of gigantic links, it doesn’t hurt to shorten them as the process is quick and easy. Not only are shortened links easier to look at, but they can also be useful for print ads, physical signage, or places where you can’t link to another website.
There are a handful of free or affordable link shortening websites out there. But you may be wondering which one to choose. To help you, here are two quick tips:
- If you don’t use analytics software like Google, you might want to use a link shortener that has basic stats like page views.
- On the other hand, if you want to customize your link you will also need a shortener to do that with.
Now that you’ve mastered shortening your URLs, you may want to explore a similar process for creating QR codes as well. In this case, you will find tips and tricks in this guide.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for completeness.