It’s likely happened to you – you copy and paste a link onto your social media profiles and had second thoughts. The links are often long strings of random letters and numbers, and frankly, can be distracting and aesthetically unpleasing.
Enter in URL shortening services.
What is a URL shortener?
A URL shortener is an online tool that allows you to enter a long URL and receive a shortened version in return. In other words, making the hyperlink text look more attractive.
Why use a URL shortener?
Most social media platforms have a limit on the number of characters you can include in your posts. So, including a lengthy link would take up most character limits, leaving you with a compromised post caption.
You can create custom-branded URLs with some tools. This becomes useful, especially when you want to share these URLS on your web site and on-air.
Link shorteners provide analytics to show you who has clicked your links, and they’re often available through a centralized dashboard view. This valuable data on your posts should be integrated into your content strategy to help you create more of what resonates with your target audience and less of what doesn’t.
Which URL shortener tool should you use?
- Bit.ly is a link shortener used by many (including yours truly). It provides analytics for every link you shorten with it. The free tool allows you to shorten URLs by simply pasting the link and from there, you can instantly copy and paste the link on your social pages. Becoming a registered member allows more options, such as customizable links and the ability to track statistics for specific links.
- TinyURL is a great go-to URL shortener as well. It’s very user-friendly and like Bit.ly, you can use it without any sign-ups (customization is possible without even logging-in, making it an efficient option when you’re in a rush to share something quickly). Paid plans offer more features such as monitoring and analytics.
- Ow.ly is an integrated shortener in the Hootsuite platform and is included with every plan type – including the free version. One of the benefits with Ow.ly is you can see your short link metrics right alongside your other social media analytics, so you can view the performance of your brand holistically.
If you’re not already using shortened URLS, it’s definitely time to consider adding it to your social media strategy!