Short Links: The Basics
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Short links are fantastic because they take long URL’s and … well … shorten them.
Today we take them for granted. There were services like TinyURL years ago (that’s still going) but it was Twitter that really made them explode on the scene. It was also just one of those times when people were fed up trying to type out an obscenely long URL or pasting it in their emails which always look junky.
Once short links became a thing there has been some “dark” times with them because people were quick to exploit them (some still do) but out of all that we are now at a time when there are dozens of highly reputable short link providers, scripts, and services at our disposal.
The Benefits of Short Links
Besides the general “well, it makes them short and easy to use” there are many other benefits of short links that you may not really notice (or even apply) depending on the approach you take to them.
- Tracking – Tracking is probably the biggest reason why you should be using short URL’s. Most services include basic tracking nowadays which is perfect for those that don’t want to get too deep into analytics. Seeing the engagement will give you a good indication of how well it’s received. There are services with extensive tracking which is worth your while, too, so you can see where people are coming and going (which aids in building relationships and link building).
- Interchangeability – Let’s say you wrote an amazing book and had it published on Kindle or even in print. Throughout the work you may have included full URL’s but blah! Something happened and those links are now pointing people to dead pages. Short links come to the rescue because you can, depending on service, change the reference URL so you can point people to the appropriate resource rather than hoping a long-url will be around forever.
- Continuity – When someone sees a URL they try to pick out the keywords to assure themselves they are going to the right page. Sometimes URL’s don’t do this such as when they are automatically generated. Short links are a great way to create a sense of continuity because you can set the names so instead of something like “.com/82hs/thing-stuff_1.php” you can go with “.com/CanonPrinter” which is way easier to notice.
These three alone warrant the use of short links but let’s not forget the one that we’re all thinking about: being able to use short links in place of our full affiliate links.
Affiliate links are generally ugly because they use string characters. With a short link you can pretty them up and gain all the benefits in one go.
Services, Scripts, and Resources for Short URL’s
Here are some of the various ways you get short URL’s into your regular routine:
That should about cover the basics of short URL’s wouldn’t ya say?