Links are the integral part when it comes to social media promoting. People now days, have added a lot more information to the link for describing the content itself, resulting in link getting longer. It’s clear that search engines take keywords from URL into account in maintaining the rankings, thus improving SEO but the advantages URL shortening offers are certainly more valuable than its disadvantages. It may happen that you are losing out on visitor count just because of those long, ugly looking URL’s. Let’s discuss What is URL shortening in detail? I will cover its need, some best websites offering them and how to integrate within WordPress with an example? So, let’s begin.
What is URL Shortening?
URL (Universal Resource Locator) shortening is a method in which length of your URL is shortened by simple tools, still pointing to the same web page. Here we apply HHTP redirect on the shortened domain name linking to the web page having long URL.
Pros of having a shortened URL
- Improves Readability: The long URLs are sometimes harder to read and memorize. But with the advent to URL shorteners, it becomes easy to read and memorize though. It has an added advantage in your marketing strategy. People will easily remember your short URL seen anywhere on the internet rather than for those having a long URL.
- Easy Sharing: A social platform such as Twitter, where your post is limited to 140 chars only, it becomes harder to put a long URL. Indeed it occupies most of the space and leaves nothing to tweet except the URL. Here shortened URL’s are big saviors. In fact, to any social platform, while commenting or creating post, it makes the post more clearer, readable and gets easily fitted in your promotional mediums. You don’t feel any mess.
- Enhance Disguising: It will totally disguise the web address. People may not have clicked if you have given them the original one, but with shortened URL, you may get more clicks than expected. Some people even click out of curiosity.
- Meta Information: URL shortening serves a double purpose. One is to provide a short URL and second is, it has a lot of information stored with it. Meta data like how many times it is clicked and from where it is clicked is a very big achievement. You can conclude from where you are drawing maximum traffic and mould your content in such a way so as to improve your website’s statistics.
- Free Service: There are hundreds of websites offering URL shortening that too absolutely free.
A quick list of websites offering URL shortening
It’s the best website offering optimized link so as to improve the customer experience. They offer a variety of services like mobile deep linking, digital campaign tracking, provide branded links etc. it helps you to see, control and customize the customer experience over the web. It provides very robust Statistics and also allows accessing JSON and XML data.
This is another super fast and easy website for URL shortening. One of the awesome feature is that a person can customize the link for his own text. You have preview feature enabled here. Even the bookmarks can be shortened along with twitter links.
The URL’s shortened here will add a goody factor to your domain name though no tracking of data will be available. It is best if your long URL does not look good. It provides tremendous short URLs. The interface provided is pretty clear and not messy.
Yeah!! You are right.. It is indeed Google’s URL shortener. It provides a very strong digital tracking as well as analytical data. Secondly, opting it for your long URL, adds to the brand value of your web page as well. It follows a HTTP 301 redirect method. It is an open API which also helps to know number of clicks too. Isn’t that amazing? They have no expiry.
Rebrandly is a link management tool that enables marketers to brand, track, and share short URLs using a custom domain name. Branded links can drive a 39% higher click-through rate, increase trust and brand awareness – a must-have for any marketer.
Another website to make your URL branded. HootSuite brings this amazing tool to shrink your URL. Just like Google it is an open API supported by HTTP 301 redirect. The main pitfall is that it does not record any data regarding the traffic it draws.
There are hundreds of websites offering URL shortening; I have just listed few of the best from Twitter usage. There is another way out too. You can buy a short domain name and make it your primary one. Let’s discuss how to create your own customized URL for your WordPress blog with bitly.com. I am using bitly because of its good integration with WordPress making your short URL’s easy to share and make them trackable too.
Step1: Buy your own short domain name
Register for a new domain name which is pretty shorter than the original one. There are many tools and websites on the internet that will help you out. One of them is Domainr.com. Just type the keywords you want in your domain name and it will give you nice suggestions for your short domain name.
Step2: SignUp for bitly account
Go to bitly.com and register over there. Click Settings under the Brand Options. Click on Advanced Settings then add your branded domain name there.
Step3: Setting up DNS
Copy the DNS from bitly.com and add the IP address to your domain provider’s website. Go back to bitly and verify it.
Step4: Install WP bitly plugin
In your WordPress admin area, install the WP bitly plugin and then activate it. To be able to connect to bitly site, we need to configure the plugin. Take the password from bitly (or Oauth token) and copy paste it in your WordPress plugin and save them. Now you are all set to generate custom URL’s for your blog. This plugin will also keep an account of the click count data and from which websites the traffic is getting generated.
So, now you will be able to create and customize your short URL. If you don’t want so much work, then just visit any of the URL shortening website. They will provide a text box where you can paste your long URL and that’s It!!! Your short URL gets generated within few milliseconds. But you need to be very careful about the expiry time of the short URLs. Some websites provide no expiry while some have. If you want complete account of your traffic and click count, you can rely on GOOGLE and BITLY.
Start making money from your short links. Just post your blog’s link to Facebook, Twitter, emails, other social networking sites etc and with every click see the money rolling down into your account. More the clicks, more is the cash. Good Luck!!!