URL shrinkers are an absolutely essential tool in today’s internet. URLs are getting longer, attention spans are getting shorter, and places like Twitter have strict character limits. The internet is just not built for long URLs anymore but websites like Dropbox and Google Search results continue to generate URLs that are longer than this paragraph. The solution is the URL shrinker. Would you like to know the best ones? Read on to find out!
First up is cli.gs and this is a powerful shrinker. It clocks in at 20 characters per URL. One of the features it includes is click tracking, so you can see how many people have clicked your link. Even better is that you don’t need an account to check the analytics. You just need the original link and you can see how many times it’s been clicked and which websites the clicks came from.
Google’s shrinker is called goo.gl and if you have a Google account that you actively use then this is the URL shrinker for you. You can see various analytics, much like cli.gs above, with the exception being that you need your Google account to keep track of them. You can use it without an account but you can’t otherwise manage it once you move away from the site. The best feature is that it keeps a detailed list of all the links you’ve created for future reference if need be. The links are 20 characters long.
Bit.ly is one of the original URL shrinkers and one of the few that the average person recognizes. This is also one of the more powerful shrinkers, as long as you make an account. The links come in the standard 20-character size so you don’t need to worry about length in comparison to others. Some of the features include analytics and browser extensions should you need them. The fact that people recognize Bitly is important because it lends credibility to your links and people won’t feel as much trepidation when clicking on them.
is.gd is a lesser-known URL shrinker but it does have a unique claim to fame. The shortened links generated by this site are a paltry 14 characters long and are the shortest of any on this list. You’ll be missing out on stuff like analytics, browser extensions, and other tools. But if you need something short, simple, and sweet, this is the one you should use.
TinyURL is the original URL shrinker and the very reason this article exists. It’s been doing this the longest and blogs, websites, and everyday people have been using TinyURL for ages. That means practically everyone has seen TinyURL links and trusts them. Unfortunately, the links are a little bit longer at 25 characters. However, on the plus side, you can also preview any TinyURL link to see where it heads by putting the word preview in the URL. For example: http://preview.tinyurl.com/2mgpyg
SnipURL is the last one on our list and it clocks in a little long at 24 characters. Don’t let that chase you away, because SnipURL has one of the more unique features of any on this list in that it allows you to edit links after you make them. So if you use a wrong link you can fix it without creating a whole new shortened URL. It requires a free account to access the features but you can still make links without one.
The bottom line is that you should find the URL shrinker that works for your personal needs. Bloggers like myself appreciate things like click metrics to see if the links we share are getting clicks. People on Twitter may like the URL shrinkers with the smallest links. Those of us who are clumsy may appreciate the ability to edit links after we create them. The options are there and you just need to choose!
Featured photo credit: Google via goo.gl
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