how to:How To Shorten Web Addresses with a URL Shortener
Oftentimes, when you share a link on Twitter the URL (web page address) is too long to fit with the 140 character limit. When sharing links via email, Facebook or other platforms, you often don’t want to paste in a long URL that is messy and hard to remember. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to shorten a URL. If you have a URL that is hundreds of characters, using a shortener can significantly shorten its length, making it much easier to copy and share.
Take our blog post on group texting apps as an example. The long URL is:
Using bit.ly we shortened the URL to:
http://bit.ly/dzT0Pk (Check it out! It directs you to the same page!)
How does a URL shortener work? These sites issue a “301 redirect”: a technique that makes a web page available under many URLs. When you shorten a link using a site like bit.ly or ow.ly (or one of the many other URL shortener sites), you are redirecting a click from that site to the destination URL.
There are a number of different URL shorteners out there. We’ve shared a few options below. Play around with them and see which one you like best.
Note: All of these services are free.
bit.ly is one of the most popular URL shorteners. Copy and paste your long URL into the text box and click "Shorten." Copy the new bit.ly link
Want to find out how many times a bit.ly link was clicked on? If you create a free account with bit.ly you can retrieve data and metrics about your links. You can track and compile data about how often links are clicked on and the webpage where the link was clicked on.
bit.ly, like many other URL shorteners, doesn’t re-use or modify links; they consider their redirects to be permanent.
TinyURL is another shortener that is extremely simple to use.
You can add TinyURL to your browser’s toolbar. On the main page, http://tinyurl.com/, scroll down. Click and drag the TinyURL link to your browser’s links toolbar. By clicking on the toolbar button, a TinyURL will be created for the page you are currently at.
Ow.ly gives you the option to sign into your Twitter account
Try out doiop.com, which lets you choose your own keyword so you can add some context to your short link. For example, using the long URL for the blog post mentioned above, I choose “grouptext” as the keyword and got this:
Google released its own shortener goo.gl. If you sign in to your Google account, you can build your goo.gl short URL history and view the number of clicks on the link and traffic sources. They also create a QR code for your link.