A URL shortener, as the name suggests, is a tool that shortens long and complicated links for websites without changes to the underlying address.
They are simple, quick, and easy to use. A basic URL shortener will take your link and replace it with another domain name. All that slug after the URL is replaced with a series of letters or numbers.
For a more personalized look, you can choose to only shrink the length (for example, www.domain.com/option/category/subcategory/examplea is changed to www.domain.com/examplea) .
Most of the link shorteners also offer a number of other features.
The most common feature offered is the customization of the link to display the brand name using a custom domain or vanity URL.
URL shorteners come in handy to regular internet users who prefer links that fit the character count on Twitter and make their Facebook statuses look nice and readable.
However, link shorteners are of immense importance, particularly to business owners or their sales or marketing teams.
These people are more concerned with efficient means of publicity and expanding the user base. A custom/branded link features your brand name and adds value and recognition to it.
It allows you to share a URL that not only showcases your brand name but also builds a connection and a level of trust with its audience.
A short personalized URL is certainly less distracting and helps your target audience reach you quickly and safely.
For situations where you want to advertise your brand, putting in a short and clean website link appeals to customers and makes the whole text much more memorable.
Along with the benefit of creating a custom link for better branding and a more aesthetic look, some of the best URL shorteners allow you to access and monitor full analytics of link targeting and link tracking.
Some even manage archives. Variations of a single link can make keeping track of source traffic easier than ever!
With the use of a unique URL shortener, you can now understand and analyze your audience’s web usage and details such as their click-through rates, language, device preferences, and even their location.
The internet is surging with a variety of different free and paid URL shorteners: from easy-to-use quick ones to ones with advanced tools and features to ones that you can host from your website. With so many options out there, it can be quite difficult to choose the one that is ideal for you and your audience. We have compiled a list of some of the top-rated URL shorteners that provide the best features and tools to make this decision effortless for you.
Linkly is a unique URL shortener that is specially designed for marketers.
It allows you to track about 1000 clicks per month free of charge.
To get started, you simply need to set up an account (no credit card information needed).
One of the appreciable things about Linkly is that the website is well planned and so easy to navigate. You can scroll down and choose the tools you want to utilize in just a matter of one click on the features tab. The main page is specially designed for you to get acquainted with all the amazing gears and features it offers if you are new at this.
Some of the best features include retargeting and tracking pixels for Google, Twitter, Facebook, or any other custom tag.
Since these are some of the most important and most commonly used websites, it’s now easier with this feature to redirect a large audience to your website.
Linkly creates beautiful, visual reports and with sparkline charts you can even check out the performance of each of your links, including where traffic came from, and whether it was human or robots. This way you can plan your marketing strategy accordingly.
These links are quite efficient in their function.
When users click on the URL, their email app will pop up and the sender field (and even the subject and body if you wish) will automatically fill with the email address/body you provide. The same applies for SMS and tel links.
You also have the option to add UTM tags which is beneficial when assessing which marketing scheme or site works to your advantage, add Facebook Pixel or other tags, and customize social media previews when sharing the link.
Linkly offers a variety of plans to suit your requirements. For personal use,
For businesses with more requirements, you can find four different kinds of plans with varying numbers of clicks that you can analyze and redirect per month. All of these again, offer a money-back guarantee in the first month and a 2-weeks free trial version to get started.
Bitly is ideal for quick anonymous use.
Its free service lets you shorten a URL using the Bit.ly domain name.
On the other hand, the paid service Bitly Enterprise allows you to customize the link to feature your brand name and easily share it on social media and even SMS.
You can monitor link referrals, traffic, and analytics and get deeper insights on geographic information and user data to gain better control of campaign strategies and marketing approaches.
The Bitly links are completely safe and secure as each link is encrypted with HTTPS, hence, there is no need to worry about third-party tempering.
With so many integrations you can computerize your workflow using the verified Bitly API.
If you are an enterprise, the website gives you the option to get a quote on a plan that best fits your requirements. It is very expensive indeed.
You can either use the free services with a few perks or decide to buy the basic personal plan at $29/month plan that gives a few extra benefits.
Clickmeter is ideal for users who are more interested in click-rate optimization.
The option to track conversion rates is the best feature it has to offer because not a lot of the other URL shorteners are offering this benefit.
The technology they use is a bit more advanced to facilitate technical and affiliate marketers so someone who is not tech-savvy might find it a bit hard to navigate through the website and read the in-depth analysis reports of the data.
The ability to create links in bulk and support multiple languages may come in handy for users with an extremely large audience, however, it should be noted that the tool only works in a select few countries.
It is a downer that Clickmeter does not provide a free trial of the plans but it compensates for that with a 30-day money-back guarantee if the service does not work for your business.
The pricing of the paid plans ranges from $29/month in the medium plan, $99/month for large, and $349/month for the X-large plan.
Geniuslink provides all the basic services an ordinary URL shortener offers but its primary focus is on affiliates, authors, and content creators.
The best thing about this service is that it detects an online shopper’s data such as device, language, and most importantly location and automatically redirects them to their country or region's website.
The affiliate tracking ID is added to the URL without any further work.
This service is completely automatic for iTunes, Microsoft, and Amazon but you can also make your custom destinations for any affiliate of your choice.
GeniusLink offers super affordable plans starting at only $9/month for 10000 clicks inclusive of most of the necessary features. The price generally increases as the number of clicks you need to analyze per month increase, but you also start saving more as you pay more.
Rebrandly is a great tool for newly established businesses that are interested in brand recognition and distinguished brand name.
The best feature they provide is up to five custom domains to free users to encourage marketers who are just starting and getting themselves acquainted with the digital market. This is a great opportunity to try and test different domains and find which one attracts the most users.
The pricing is quite reasonable compared to the others and you have the option to use services and features when you need them and pay as you go. The basic plan is at $29/month and the plans increase in benefits as the prices go up from $69/month to $499/month.
This is a custom URL shortener and a great tool for content curators.
The best feature it has to offer is that it gives you the option to add a call-to-action button with your link to direct the audience to your webpage.
This service can prove to be advantageous in terms of redirecting the audience from some other webpage to yours.
This might encourage a big number of people to view your content and overall increase the traffic.
However, some of the downsides of this tool are that you can see the number of clicks but actual conversions are quite problematic to track (weak analytics).
The CTAs or the iFrames may not be supported on all websites, so if you have posted your link on one of the websites that don't back these features, your users will be directed to an error page and end up losing their trust in you.
Moreover, it lets you use a custom domain but not purchase one, therefore, each time you need to share URLs under that domain name; you'll have to pay for it.
The pricing is the usual for basic accounts; $29/month. It is, however, a bit steep ($79, $149, and $299) for premium accounts considering the features it offers.
Choosing the right URL shortener can be a little challenging if you are planning to generate income or grow your business.
If you are looking to shorten and share URLs hassle-free on your social media, then you probably don’t need to worry about the specifics.
You can get started with any of the free URL shortener easy-to-use tools available on the market, like Bitly.
However, if you are an enterprise whose business revolves around effective marketing strategies and growth, you will have to analyze your needs a little more in-depth.
You can go on to exploring each URL shortener and weigh the available functionalities with your requirements.
Some of the factors you will need to consider while making this decision are mentioned below
If your company mainly depends on social media marketing then you will need a URL shortener that has various integrations with different marketing tools and web extensions to bring the users of those websites to your page.
Brand expansion and exclusivity require customized links/slugs and for that, you will need more than what a generic link shortener can provide.
Alternatively, if your marketing strategies are highly technical and well-thought-out, you will need detailed analysis reports that help you understand your audience better.
Features like the UTM parameter allow you to know where most of your traffic is sourced, the language preference as well as the device your viewers use, the demographics, and everything else you need to know about your target audience.
Whether you are planning to generate income from your URLs could also steer you in the right direction. URL shorteners that let you add interstitial ads to your link or redirect people from similar pages to your webpage can be of advantage to your business. For this purpose, Geniuslink or Sniply might be a good choice.
The size of your budget plays an important role in this decision. If you are just a regular social media user, you will probably not need to spend hundreds of dollars for features you are not even sure how to make use of.
However, if you are more into business growth and willing to purchase technical tools to reach a large audience, URL shorteners like Linkly might interest you because of their geo-targeting tools and open-graph tags.
Furthermore, quality matters! If you are spending a bunch on buying a premium account, you should also consider what and how much is included in the package and how it will help your business.
Hence, spending on a good link shortener with great features may prove to be a worthwhile investment for the business.
Businesses that require teamwork could make use of URL shorteners that give separate accounts to each member so they can monitor different portions of the data on their own, and collaborate.
Linkly offers multiple workspaces with unlimited users for free.
The scale of your business determines the size of your audience and consequently the number and type of features you will need to plan strategies for its marketing.
Different link shorteners provide different tools to fulfill a variety of purposes.
For example, a small business can probably make do with the basic or at most the medium-sized paid plan because they offer slightly more number of clicks you can redirect and analyze per month, a few advanced features like geo-targeting and custom domains while keeping the costs low.
Conversely, an enterprise would require an unlimited number of clicks, unlimited reports, and multiple accounts for different members of the team to use.
For any important venture, it is necessary to have a handful of technical tools and features to make use of.
We have described some of them down below to help you understand your requirements better and choose the URL shortener that provides most of these services.
So many amazing features can get overwhelming when deciding where and how to start.
Here, we have put together a small list of ways you can make effective use of short URL.
Shortened URL in a Video
If you are a Youtuber who uses a bunch of references in their videos to back up arguments or introduce new ideas or products, this is just the thing for you!
Adding a short and neat URL to your social media profile or a reference website is the way to go.
Similarly, if you’re running an ad campaign, a nice and short URL will help maintain the overall neat look of the ad.
Shortened URL in Plain-text Email
Most of the time while interacting via email, people attach links to share ideas and convey their thoughts.
But attaching a series of long and ugly URLs can make this encounter boring and confusing at times too.
Adding a short URL, and especially a customized one, can give more context to the reader and make the Email much more readable.
Shortened URL in a Print Piece
Short URLs are particularly important if your ad campaign involves printing, for example, brochures/pamphlets or magazines.
Even if you’re just a regular person sending out invitation cards or letters to friends, you will need short URLs to save both time and space.
It is imperative to consider the fact that the readers will not have the option to simply copy and paste the link on their mobile phones and visit your webpage or social media profile.
Hence, putting in a short URL that is easy to remember or at the very least takes less time to type can be a good idea to attract more people to the business. Or have your friends visit the page you asked them to.
Customized Shortened Link
A short custom-made URL means that people recognize your brand each time they come across it.
A custom link gives context to the reader so they are aware of the content they are going to come across. This could also build customer loyalty and ensure them of your trustworthiness and reliability.
For doing this, you simply go on to a URL shortener website and put in the link you want to shorten, customize, and voila!
You have gotten yourself a clean user-friendly URL to share wherever you want.
Tracking the clicks on the Links
Some link shorteners have the option to embed UTM codes in them too so you can track how many clicks you are getting on your link, from where you are getting most of the traffic from, and where your link is being shared.
This is especially convenient if you are a startup interested in the recognition and growth of your business.
We’ve looked into some of the finest URL shorteners and explored almost all the features they have to offer. Now it is up to you to evaluate your requirements and choose the one that fits your needs the best.
Track 1000 monthly clicks with all features included.
No credit card required