Are URL Shorteners Useful Today?

Short URLs are everywhere, and I do not see them going away anytime soon. Services like T.LY, TinyURL, and Bitly have billions of short links spread out all across the web. If these services shut down, billions of URLs would fail to redirect, and this could break the internet. Explaining what a URL Shortener service is not complicated. Most people know how they work and the purpose but here are a few reasons to create short URLs that you may not know of.

Make URLs Shorter

There are many uses for short URLs besides the obvious long link to short link. How much easier is it to share: t.ly/short vs https://timleland.com/are-url-shorteners-useful-today/. This is common use case when links are shared verbally. For example, when sharing a URL on YouTube videos, podcasts, radio, and tv, a long complicated URL is not going to result in many visits.

Some other use cases are when there is a character limit such as text messages which are limited to 160 characters. This also use to be an issue on Twitter but they solved the issue by using their own URL Shortener.

Short URLs are also easier to remember when typing or saying. I may not remember the full URL of this blog post but I will remember t.ly/short.

Analytics

Short links are great when you need a quick and effective way to track clicks on a social media post. You can generate unique URLs that are specific to the platform to know what posts are getting more traffic. You can also see stats like browser, location, device, and more. This is very useful to marketers because their job is to monitor and improve the performance of social media campaigns.

Other analytics tools such as Google Analytics are often not accurate because so many users use Ad Block. When a user clicks a short link, the redirect analytics will be reliable. This data about your clicks is extremely helpful when it comes to analyzing the effectiveness of your content. It’s crucial to measure the effectiveness of your social media posts. Adding a + sign to the end of any T.LY will take you to the stats page. Give this link a try to see the stats: t.ly/short+

Custom Domains

Using your own custom domain is a great way to brand your content to your company. It also allows you to migrate all your links to another service if you need to switch. People inherently tend to trust URLs that are branded to the site they are expecting to visit. Services like T.LY make it easy to add your own domain and start creating branded short links in minutes.

Smart Links

Have you ever wanted to share a link that you wanted to redirect to different URLs depending on the user’s device, browser, and counter? This is useful if you are wanting to send users to install your mobile app for iOS or Android. You wouldn’t want an Android user to end up in the Apple App Store. This would result in frustrated users and fewer installs. Fortunately, T.LY makes creating smark links easy.

Password Protect Links

Have you ever wanted to share a link but did not want the whole world to see it? Password-protected links are an easy way to send a link and protect it with a password. This is another feature the T.LY makes simple to add password-protected links.

Expiring Links

Have you ever wanted to share a link but wanted it to only be visited once or expired after a certain date? This is another feature the T.LY makes simple to add expiring links. You can set a short link to expire after a number of visits and/or a date. This is useful if you want to share a link that you don’t want to be visited after a certain number of views or a date. This is another feature the T.LY makes simple.

But How Short?

Ever wonder how many short URLs are possible on a domain? It depends on the number of characters, but most shorteners use (A-Z, a-z, and 0-9 to make up all the possible URL combinations. This means there are 62 possible characters.

  • Two character URLs 3,844 (62^2) unique combinations
  • Three character URLs 238,328 (62^3) unique combinations
  • Four character URLs 14,776,336 (62^4) unique combinations
  • Five character URLs 916,132,832 (62^5) unique combinations
  • Six character URLs 56,800,235,584 (62^6) unique combinations
  • Seven character URLs 3,521,614,606,208 (62^7) unique combinations
  • Eight character URLs 218,340,105,584,896 (62^8) unique combinations

When you create a short URL using Bitly, you get a seven-character long-short URL. TinyURL’s 8-character long URLs are really not tiny anymore since it has been around for over 20 years. As a URL shortener grows, the number of actual short links diminishes. Currently, T.LY has over 10 million short links, which means plenty of four- and five-character short URLs are available. Since the domain is also shorter than so many other services, if you are trying to create a really short link, T.LY is the best solution.

How to Create Short URLs?

The quickest way to create a short link is to the URL Shortener browser extension. All it takes is one click to shorten any webpage. You can signup for T.LY to unlock additional features such as API access, custom domains, advanced analytics, smart links, expiring links, and more.

 


Thanks for reading. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the progress of my side projects T.LYWeather Extension, and Link Shortener Extension. If you are interested in the tech I use daily, check out my uses page.  

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