A link shortening program or link shortening service allows users to publish long and unwieldy links as concise links. These shortened links are super clickable and look better when posted on social media channels like Twitter or Instagram. Another reason link shorteners are essential for businesses on Instagram is that they come with built-in analytics. These programs can help track clicks on your links over time.
URL shorteners are apps that take a large URL and reduce it to a smaller number of characters. Take TinyURL, for example, and the web page generates a significantly shorter link when you copy and paste a long link into TinyURL. Shorter links look better in emails, social media, print materials, and other places.
Most link shortening services focus on converting long links into short ones. However, more robust services can also be used to track link performance. In other words, these advanced apps can display the amount of traffic generated by each link.
This feature is helpful since it allows you to create custom connections for specific purposes. For example, assume you want folks to visit a specific page.
You create two variants of the same long link and send cold emails to prospects because you want to amass some warm leads. You only send out cold emails to new potential clients using link A. Link B is only sent to old clients. This allows you to distinguish between email link traffic from new and existing clients or customers in an A/B test.
Some URL shorteners add even more value by allowing you to purchase a domain that you can use to brand the link and increase brand awareness. However, note that to acquire that level of personalization, you must purchase the desired domain. In addition, some services sell domains as part of their comprehensive commercial or enterprise packages.
What’s the Best Link Shortener Program?
If you own or manage an SMB website, you should also examine your online traffic sources to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Link shortening services may also provide information on possible customers or prospects. Small businesses may not always have a marketing professional on staff who is familiar with traffic tracking. However, you can do it yourself, regardless of your technical skill level. Employing a URL shortener and link tracking service is one of the easiest ways to get more analytics data.
There are numerous link shortener programs in the market, each one promising the best results.
When deciding which one to use, it would help to ask these questions:
- What app provides the highest domain rating?
- Does the link shortener program provide a dofollow or nofollow link?
- Does Google index the new profile, eventually?
Jovie Social surveyed seven popular programs on the market and discovered that Linktree (https://linktr.ee/) has the highest domain ranking at 92. Linktree was also the only service in the survey that provided a dofollow link for each new link added to the profile.
Link shortener services ranked by domain ranking (highest to lowest)
|Link Shortener||DR||Dofollow links||Our Link||Indexed by Google?|
Avoiding the Risks of Link Shorteners and Maximizing the Good
Admittedly, users have identified some downsides to using link shorteners. For example, people have written about the number of redirects when clicking on a shortened link. These redirects are the result of the click passing through different analytics.
Each time the shortened link redirects, the ‘moment’ with the user decays, bit by bit. Since impatience is the name of the game on the internet, some users may already be veering away from clicking on shortened links because of these redirects.
If you’re using a URL shortener for the first time, it might be good to check if the resulting shortened link redirects too many times before you reach your intended destination. If there are some 301 redirects, they shouldn’t take too long, and they should not interfere with the essentials of what you’re trying to do.
Analytics are necessary but not as important as customer experience (CX). Tech experts often refer to the network of servers that create the additional layer as a “creaky system,” so if you use a link shortener that’s poorly designed, your links might end up creaking, too.
The second risk associated with link shorteners is sometimes banned because of spam. Shortened links are not inherently spammy. However, their commonplace and widespread use on the internet means that undesirables use them alongside ordinary people and businesses. People who have bad experiences with shortened links quickly learn to distrust such links. Spammers can masquerade their links through a variety of tactics, too.
Despite these risks, however, you shouldn’t avoid link shorteners. They’re more valuable than risky. However, if you want to reduce the risks, there are a couple of things that you can do today to start improving your prospects of converting better with shortened links.
First, get a custom domain to go with your shortened links. Premium subscriptions to link shortener programs should also give you access to custom domain integration. The link shortener will continue to work, and you get to show off branded links to your clients/customers. By sharing consistently branded links, people will have no issues clicking on them. They become part of your digital brand.
Second, pick a reliable link shortener with good reviews. The ones we’ve listed previously are already rockstars in their own right, though they may not be the largest in the market. TinyURL and Bitly are two of the first to jump into the fray, but you’re not limited to these two. We suggest trying different link shorteners before deciding to settle on one. Experiment with the different pages and content you need to share and see how people respond to the shortened links. The results will differ, and that’s a good thing because we want to be able to use the best shortener for your market and audience.