URL Shorteners: A Complete Guide

URL Shorteners: A Complete Guide

Have you ever copied a page URL to share on social media or via a blog and realized that it’s three lines long and completely unwieldy? If you’ve been there, then you know why shortening a link can be so valuable. But that’s only scratching the surface. That’s where implementing URL shorteners come into play.

There are many reasons to use a URL shortening service.

1. URL Shorteners Track Analytics

Most URL-shortening software adds the ability to track clicks and analytics. This is invaluable data for figuring out where your customers are coming from when they are clicking and what they’re interested in. You can also add UTM parameters to shortened links that allow you to individually tag URLs with source, medium, campaign, term, and content information.

2. Make Links More Manageable

Long links can get out of hand quickly. They’re messy and not easy to share on emails, web pages, and social media services. Shortened links are clean and more attractive for some users and take up fewer characters, so you pay less for SMS messages and have more tweet room.

3. Ability to Customize

Some URL shorteners allow you to customize your link with a specific combination of letters and numbers to describe exactly where the link is headed. For example, if you regularly send traffic back to your blog, you could create the URL ow.ly/mywebsiteblog. You can also brand your links with your custom domain name.

So, what are the best URL shorteners, and why should you consider using them?


Starting April 13th, new users will no longer be able to use Google’s URL shortening service: goo.gl. It’s the end of a service that began in 2009 as a way for people to share links with a simple URL. Existing links will continue to work even after Google ends its service, and existing goo.gl users will have another year—until March 30, 2019—to continue using all features of the service.

Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL)

FDL will replace goo.gl as a more advanced form of deep linking. This dynamic service creates smart URLs that work within iOS and Android apps and seamlessly between mobile, desktop, SMS, app, and more. To create a dynamic link, you’ll need to use the Firebase console, which makes this URL shortener a little more complicated to use and not as valuable for the average user.

Kelly VoEditor’s note: This post was written by nDash community member Kelly Vo. Kelly writes a variety of business articles and website copy on topics such as Cloud computing, business safety, B2B & B2C marketing, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and more. To learn more about Kelly, or to have her write for your brand, check out her nDash profile page.