Top 6 Most Important Things You Need to Know About URL Shorteners
Have you ever used a URL shortener? Well, you might be missing out on a lot of opportunities if your web pages do not have short links.
So, what are URL shorteners? Basically, it is a general term for the creation of short links from original longer links. For example, if you have a long link for your web page, you can put it on an online tool and redesign it the way you want it to be. Of course, it comes with many benefits to people who know how to use it.
You must first understand the basics of how to create a short link. Here, we will provide a comprehensive guide on the most important things that you need to know about URL shorteners.
A Brief History about URL Shorteners
Since the inception of the internet, links have been a key component of sharing information. People could share their links as they were without any trouble. However, the advent of Twitter made things a little bit complex as lengthy URLs were no longer accepted. Twitter puts a limit on the number of characters that can be used when sharing a link.
TinyURL was Twitter's original URL shortener before moving to Bitly link shortener. In December 2009, Google launched its own URL shortener goo.gl. However, it is worth noting that Google URL shortener deprecated and is no longer in use.
6 Amazing Things that a URL Shortener Can Do
Since the inception of short links in the early 2000s, there has been an evolution in this field. Nowadays, there are many amazing things that you can do with your URL shortener today. Here are the top 6:
1. Link Masking
The most obvious reason for using URL shorteners is to mask the original web address. Link masking used to be very dangerous as malicious websites would mask their original web addresses and use their short links to lure viewers into insecure sites. Luckily, there is new security protection by top browsers such as Chrome that intends to cut off malicious sites that mask their original web addresses.
To have a proper link masking, you might need to decide on the webpage that you want to share and extract its URL. Shorten the URL with the key message that you intend for your viewers. The following are some of the reasons why link masking is great:
- Making your affiliate link more beautiful
- Making a lengthy domain very short
- Tracking your webpage visitors. You can mask a link to see how many people visited that particular webpage.
It is important for you to know the difference between link masking and link cloaking. The latter is the presentation of false information to search engines while redirecting traffic to a different page that is unrelated to the short link.
2. Link Shortening
Another amazing thing that you can do with URL shorteners is to make your links shorter. When you are sharing links with your targeted audience, it is simpler to do so with short links than lengthy ones. The short URLs are known to capture the attention of your audience and they are likely to click on the link provided.
When deciding on why you should shorten your link, think about yourself as the targeted audience and reflect on whether you prefer longer or shorter links.
3. Link Tracking
If you are using URL shorteners for a commercial website, then link tracking is probably your first reason for using URL shorteners. Most digital marketers are obsessed with knowing how they are performing. A custom link shortener does exactly that! It helps you know the number of people who have been visiting your webpage.
Depending on the online URL shortener, you can have the data presented in various forms. Even a free link shortener can present some sensible data that can help you interpret your viewers demographics. This is very important if you are running a robust marketing campaign and you want to know the fruits of your labor.
4. Link Retargeting
Do you know what retargeting is? Well, it is the reason why Amazon ads hit you immediately after viewing products on its website.
Retargeting is the process of adding a piece of code to your site that allows you to send ads to the visitors of your webpages. Retargeting makes huge profits for marketers.
Link retargeting is even better as a viewer only needs to click on the short link you have made. You can impress your viewers with a good short link and later follow it with targeted ads of the products you have on your website.
A free URL shortener might not offer this service, thus, the need to invest in a custom link shortener.
5. Link Rotating
URL shorteners also allow you to run an A/B test. You can use the linking features and split traffic from the link to perform a landing page test. Essentially, this allows you to optimize your web page by running tests on it.
6. Link Swapping
Another great thing that URL shorteners can help you with is link swapping or changing. Assuming you have created a short link and shared it with about 10 networks and then one day your page goes down. This means that you will have to track all your links and change them. Luckily, you don't have to undergo this extraneous task as you can use the best URL shortener to swap or change your short links as soon as your original web page is closed. You only do it once and it reflects on all the short links. This allows your viewers to land on the new page you have created instead of getting lost.
Tips on When to Use a URL Shortener
You should use a URL shortener:
- When you want to post your link across many sites
- In your social profile bio
You should not use a URL shortener:
- When sending a chat message to a friend
- When linking from within your web pages
With this knowledge, you can comfortably use URL shorteners to run an amazing marketing campaign for your online business.