Tired of those long web addresses that look like a jumbled mess? You’re not alone. Most URLs are just too long. Thankfully, there’s a solution. With URL shorteners, you can transform those lengthy web links into short and snappy URLs, which are especially useful for many people, including casual Facebook users, online marketers, budding entrepreneurs, TikTok enthusiasts, and more.
In this article, we present to you a list of the best free and paid URL shorteners choices that can be your social media secret weapon.
What is a URL shortener?
A URL shortener is a tool that takes a long website address and turns it into a short and unique one. This short URL will then take you to the exact webpage you want to visit. It basically makes the web address shorter and easier to share. The new, shorter URL usually contains the shortener’s website address and some random letters.
💡 How do URL shorteners work?
URL shorteners function by setting up a redirect to your lengthy URL. When you type a URL into your web browser, it sends a request to the web server to display a particular website. Both the long and short URLs are essentially distinct entry points for a web browser to reach the same destination.
The Reasons to Use URL Shorteners
⚡ A short URL is neater
The most obvious benefit is that a short URL looks better and is more user-friendly compared to a long one. A shorter URL avoids the distraction of complicated UTM tags and numbers. This is particularly important on social media where you want your message to shine without being overshadowed by a complex URL.
⚡ A short URL appears safer
Long links can give off a spammy vibe. When you see them, you might become concerned about encountering a scam or a barrage of unwanted ads on the other side. While a shorter URL doesn’t guarantee safety, it doesn’t raise the same red flags as a long link, making it seem less suspicious.
⚡ A short URL is more memorable
Link shorteners allow you to personalize the end of your links, whether or not you’re using a custom URL shortener. Trimming your URL down to a few chosen words, whether with a custom domain or not, provides an opportunity to describe what your link is about and make it more memorable.
Short links are easier for your target audience to search for, while long URLs filled with hyphens, numbers, and UTM codes are harder to remember and locate. Imagine how much simpler it is to share links when the URL is short and easy to recall.
⚡ A short URL doesn’t take up precious content space
This advantage is particularly significant for social networks and SMS messaging. Platforms like Twitter restrict the number of characters you can use in a post, and even on platforms like LinkedIn, long links can be unattractive. Short links use fewer characters and don’t steal the spotlight from your content.
⚡ A short URL provides valuable analytics
Most URL shortener tools provide comprehensive analytics that track how frequently your link is clicked, where the clicks are coming from, location data, and more. These analytics can assist you in identifying your most effective marketing channels, click-through rates, and other insights that enable data-driven success. Additionally, managing your links within most URL shorteners is straightforward and user-friendly.
Free URL Shortener Websites
TinyURL has been a trusted service since 2002, and its continued success is thanks to its straightforward URL shortening features. It’s a handy tool when you’re in a rush and need to create a short link that won’t expire. Just paste your long link into the box, optionally customize the second part of the URL, and click “Make TinyURL!” You can then use this link indefinitely without worrying about it becoming inactive.
While you can use TinyURL without an account, creating one allows you to keep track of all your shortened links. Additionally, there’s an option to subscribe to a paid plan if you require features like link tracking, analytics, branded domains, and the ability to edit each TinyURL after creation. Overall, if your needs are simple, TinyURL is a good choice.
Most URL shorteners provide insights about where people click on your links and what devices they use. However, Short.io takes it a step further by allowing you to target visitors in specific locations or using different devices and direct them to different links. This feature is handy if you want to ensure that iOS users and Android users see the appropriate app download link, or if you want to tailor content for customers from different countries like the US, Australia, and Singapore.
When you add a link on Short.io, you can click on the Apple icon, Android icon, or the globe icon to choose how you want to target your audience and which link to serve them. It’s important to use this feature thoughtfully, as sending iOS users something entirely different from desktop users can be confusing. Instead, it’s best used when you have a specific reason to guide different types of visitors to slightly different web pages.
Short.io is a great URL shortener, but unlike most alternatives, it requires you to use your custom domain. However, even on the free plan, you can have up to five custom domains, which is a unique offering. You can also set a default domain for any short link that doesn’t work and access detailed statistics about when, where, and how people are clicking on your links in the Statistics and Clicks Stream sections.
Rebrandly gives you the chance to create your very own branded short link with a custom domain, and this option is accessible even with a free account.
For example, let’s say you have a website called LucasUsedCarDealer.com, which could serve as your main URL. However, when it comes to sharing it on social media, the character count becomes a concern. To tackle this problem, you can create a short and customized URL like lu.cars specifically for sharing links. This way, you can include your business name without taking up too much space.
Paid URL Shortener Websites
Bitly is a comprehensive URL shortening service suitable for both large online businesses and smaller ventures. It offers a user-friendly platform with a wide range of features for managing your links effectively. In addition to quickly creating short links, Bitly provides a detailed dashboard for tracking the performance of your social links and campaigns. You can even generate QR codes for your short links, and it has recently introduced a “link-in-bio” feature, allowing you to manage all your links in one place.
Bitly offers several pricing plans to cater to different needs. The Basic plan, priced at $35 per month, includes a free custom domain, the ability to create 1,500 links monthly, and provides more extensive data on link clicks. For those requiring more, the Premium plan costs $300 per month and offers 3,000 links per month, along with detailed analytics including city-level data and device types. There’s also a Starter plan with 200 links per month, but it requires an upfront payment of $192, equivalent to $16 per month over a year.
Overall, Bitly is a reliable choice for businesses looking to share, brand, and track links. While it may require some pricing analysis, it’s a safe bet that’s been serving users well for a long time. You might find a better deal with another tool if you’re willing to do some calculations, but Bitly is unlikely to disappoint, especially if you’re willing to invest in its features.
BL.INK is a comprehensive URL shortener service tailored for small businesses and enterprises. It not only shortens long URLs but also allows you to track the traffic generated by your links. The dashboard displays trending links and general statistics, while the analytics page provides detailed insights into traffic by device, location, and referrers. You can even analyze clicks by the time of day, and tags help you organize link traffic related to specific campaigns.
BL.INK offers four paid plans, starting at $48 per month, providing options for small businesses, teams, and large enterprises based on the number of links you need to generate and track. Even free account holders can create 1,000 active links, track up to 1,000 clicks per link, and establish a custom domain for branded links.
If you’re a business seeking a comprehensive URL shortener that’s accessible to your entire team, BL.INK is one of the top choices. It offers features like multiple users for less than $50 a month, which can cost hundreds of dollars monthly with some other link shortening services.
3. Sniply Link Shortener
If you’re looking to include a call-to-action (CTA) in every shortened link, Sniply is an excellent choice. Sniply is a URL shortener that allows you to add a personalized CTA, which can be a button, form, image, or text, to every link you shorten.
You have the freedom to customize these CTAs with your brand’s colors and design, and you can even conduct A/B testing with two different CTAs. This added CTA feature aims to attract more visitors to the link you’re promoting.
Sniply is particularly beneficial for marketers, solopreneurs, and small business owners who want a branded feel but lack the time or resources to create a customized CTA on their webpage’s backend. Additionally, Sniply offers basic URL shortening services, including UTM tags, detailed analytics, and custom domains. However, it does not provide QR codes.
When it comes to social media and marketing, time is key. A good URL shortener should be your trusted sidekick, not a time-consuming chore. Look for one that seamlessly integrates into your workflow. With a suitable URL shortener, you can simply input your link, and it’s magically shortened without you breaking a sweat.
No more added tasks on your to-do list; it’s smooth sailing from here. So, as you get started on your digital journey, remember that a reliable and effortless URL shortener can be the secret sauce that elevates your online presence.