What is a Link shortener and how to use it?

Published on August 08, 2021

What is a URL shortener and how to use it?

URL shorteners: What are they?

URL shorteners or link shorteners are services that can transform any long link into a memorable and easy-to-use link. The main question now is, are URL shorteners something you should use in your everyday life, and in your online business.

In this article, we will show you the power of URL shorteners through some examples. We will show you how they can help you improve your online business, and also present our own Get-L.ink shortener service.

Top reasons for using URL Shorteners

There are quite a few good reasons to use a URL shortener if you’re going to be sharing a link. We’ll try and point out some of them. Along the way, you will probably remember some yourself, once you get the hang of how they work.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should always shorten your long URLs.

 

Make links more manageable

Here we have two links, pointing to the same resource

Direct link to Google Docs

And shortened link

Shortened Google docs link

Pretty sure, nobody can remember the first one! It’s big, it’s ugly, and it just takes up a lot of space.

The second one was shortened by the Get-L.ink service, by using custom Alias, which we will explain later. Or you can click the picture and see it in our user manual if you just can't wait.

 

Apart from being easier to remember, it is much less intimidating to click on a short link.

Would you rather open this link:

https://www.google.com/search?q=cute+cat&rlz=1C5CHFA_enRS931RS931&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXu9PnsI_wAhXL-6QKHWy1CSMQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1440&bih=821#imgrc=S_fAjEZ3GR3VEM

Or this one?

https://get-l.ink/CuteCat

 

Also, imagine posting that first monstrosity on Twitter or your Facebook feed ?!

 

Link Tracking and Statistics in URL Shorteners

URL shorteners provide you with one more very important functionality, and that is the ability to track your links. We will show you what we mean by demonstrating it through the Get-L.ink service.

Let's say that we want to see how our https://get-l.ink/bio is performing. By navigating to the statistics of that link we can see a lot of information.


Shortened link statistics number of clicks

Total Number of Clicks

 

Besides the number of clicks, you can see information about your users. Where are they coming from, what operating system are they using, and from which device they are accessing your links?

Link Country and Device data
Top Countries and Devices

 

And that is not all! Let's say that you use the same link for your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email campaign. You would like to know which channel is bringing most of the traffic to you.

You can see that information also.

Link referrers and social shares

 

Geotargeting and Device targeting

You might ask why is it important to know from which country, or from which device my traffic is coming from?

Well, there is a simple answer: Better user experience!

 

Let's say you have two different websites. One in the USA, another one in Spain. Based on your customer's location you can redirect them to the appropriate site, and for example, show the one that is in their native language.

 

Or if they are accessing your content from a mobile device, you want to redirect them to mobile-optimized content.

That is something that our service also provides

Geotargeting and device targeting for short links

 

Utilizing Pixels for Custom Audience Building

 

You might ask: What exactly is a Pixel?

Pixel is a piece of HTML code that is loaded when a user visits a website, opens an email, or clicks a link in this case. It is useful for tracking user behavior and conversions. It is also an analytics tool that measures the effectiveness of your advertisement campaign by showing you the actions people take on your website.

One of the more popular pixels is provided by Facebook. Once you've set it up, the pixel will fire when someone takes an action. Adding an item to the cart or making a purchase. The pixel receives these actions, which can be seen on the Facebook pixel page in Events Manager. You then have an option to reach those customers again through future Facebook ads.

 

Get-L.ink offers a choice of multiple tracking pixels to use.

Tracking Pixels for links

Tracking Pixels

 

Affiliate Marketing Links

This is a big one, and worth a post of its own. Which we will actually do.

Here we’ll just touch on the basics.


Affiliate Marketing gets a lot of hype these days. Offers change, providers change, links have their lifetime ranging from a couple of months to a year. For those that expire.

Let’s say you want to promote service X, and you used a link for that service in a few social network posts, email campaigns. What happens if you decide to change the provider? I.e. you get a better commission from different providers, or you want to promote different hosting services altogether.

 

You would need to go and update all of your links if that is even possible (what about emails you already sent?). You are bound to forget or skip some of them.

 

By using URL Shortener, you just need to update your “long URL” in the backend and everything will work by default.

 

Branded Links That Users Will Recognise

Aside from shortening your links, you can build recognition with your users i.e. by adding prefixes to your links.

 

They will make your job of tracking them easier, and users will know what to expect.

Let’s say, you prefix all your Affiliate Marketing links with “aff-” or some other topics “SEO-”, or include the network in URL “FB-”, “tw-”, “in-”

Short link branding

Or add a type of resource in front, or as a postfix “vid-”, “img-” or “-vid”, “-img”.

 

Bundles/URL Rotators

URL Bundles/Rotators are used to create one “main link” that will randomly redirect clicks between links that are a part of that bundle.

Links won’t be perfectly evenly distributed, but by the laws of statistics, with a large enough click count, they will be distributed evenly enough.

I.e. If you have 3 links, and 100 clicks it may look something like this

You can go to this link and play a bit to see what are values you can expect.

 

Conclusion

Sharing long, complicated, and intimidating URLs online is not the best idea – that’s why URL shorteners were invented. By understanding how URL shorteners work, and what doors they can open, you will increase your chances of making it in the world of online business.

 

There are a lot more specifics of how URL shorteners can be customized to suit your specific needs, but we will cover that in another post.

Keep reading

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