For those of you less familiar, a URL shortener…. shortens URLs! It makes website addresses shorter, so that it’s easier to paste into an email, a Tweet, or a text message.
For example, let’s say you wanted to show someone the WebEden video tutorial that shows you how to put AdSense on your website. The full URL is http://webeden.co.uk/blog/video-tutorials/website-builder-tutorials-how-to-put-google-adsense-on-your-website/.
If you’re trying to cut and paste that into a Tweet then it uses up lots of character space. Bear in mind that you only get 140 characters to make your point – this URL uses up 115 of them in one go.
If you put this long URL into a URL Shortener (bit.ly for example), you end up with http://bit.ly/5CVnmy. Anyone clicking on this second link will automatically be sent onto the first, long URL. And this second URL is just 20 characters long, leaving you much more space to say other things.
There are lots of URL shortners out there. Popular ones include http://tinyurl.com and http://bit.ly.
More and more big brands are launching them too. Google have goo.gl, Facebook have fb.me.
We often give Microsoft a hard time on this blog, but this time they have done something which deserves a bit of mirth. Because Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com has launched a URL Shortener… which is in fact longer than their main URL!
‘Binged.it‘ is in fact 1 character longer than the normal bing.com domain! This may not seem like a big deal, but when the whole point of the product is to use up as few characters as possible, this seems an odd decision. As Techcrunch pointed out, there are other options including ‘bin.gd’.
Have you tried using URL shorteners? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave us a comment below.