What are URL shorteners?
URL or link shorteners are simple marketing software that cut a lengthy URL into a shorter one. The endpoint is still the same, just the URL is much smaller. These types of URLs are perfect when there is limited space to fit a regular URL in, for instance, when linking on Twitter. On top of that, link shorteners can simply make your URLs nicer to look at. URL shorteners have other features too.
Some of these additional features include the option to track and retarget these URLs. It’s also possible to check the analytics and see exactly how many users have clicked on the shortened URL as well. With all these additional features in play, you can tailor your content more easily and subsequently drive traffic to your site in a more meaningful way.
Finally, using one of these shortened link solutions can also mean you can create memorable URLs too. This means that they can also be great for adding to a business card, an ad, or even at the bottom of a podcast or video. In fact, they’re a great option when the user is unable to actually click the link but will need some way of memorizing it instead.
What do URL shorteners do?
The best URL shorteners all have much the same features, but some allow more links to be created, a greater number of clicks to be performed, and provide more in-depth analytics. That being said, here are some of the features that all link shorteners have in common:
- Shrink links — The main feature of link shorteners is, of course, to shrink the link down. By doing this, you can create a memorable link that can be put almost anywhere. It is especially useful for social media sites with limited characters or in places where the user is unable to directly click on the link and will need to remember it in order to type it in at a later date.
- Analyze clicks — Top shorteners will also have a number of analytics options available. These vary across solutions but tend to offer the option to track links, check how many clicks there have been on the shortened link, and retarget a specific audience. With all these analytics at your fingertips, it’s possible to improve your online presence dramatically.
- Add UTM tags — These are ways to track the traffic that is coming to your website from a specific platform. UTM tags are small pieces of text that you add to the end of your URL when you customize it. By doing so, the analytics can tell you where your visitors are coming from and even which campaign or shortened link brought them to you enabling you to further tailor your content.
How We Rank the Best URL Shortener Software
Our ranking methodology for the best URL shortener software includes a comprehensive evaluation of pricing, features, link customization options, analytics, ease of use, and overall value. Check out our full rating methodology page to learn how we rate the best URL shorteners and how to make your decisions based on your specific link management needs.
Main Features of URL Shorteners
All the best URL shorteners have a number of features that are the same across all solutions. Such things as link shrinkage, retargeting, analytics, and so on are the staple features, although the depth each one goes to will differ. You need all of these elements to run a truly useful online campaign, though. When you are looking for the best option, then here are a few of the most important features that shorten URL software should have.
- URL retargeting — this feature allows you to add your retargeting pixel code from your social media site into your shortened link. This means that anyone clicking on this shorter link is added to your retargeting pixel and thus grows your audience.
- Bulk URL creation — many software solutions allow you to create short URLs in bulk, which is very handy if you have a lot of links and campaigns to get through.
- Customized URL — not only can you shorten your link, but you can customize it too. By doing so you can create a more recognizable brand. Users will recognize links as coming from you and will be faster or more likely to click on them when they pop up.
- Analytics dashboard — top shorten link software will give you access to the full analytics dashboard. This means you can take a look at an enormous selection of analytics that can help you target specific members of your audience or uncover what worked and what didn’t.
Benefits of Using URL Shortener Software
There are a number of benefits to using a link shortener. One of the main ones is to be able to create aesthetically pleasing links that are easy to remember. On top of that, you can learn a lot about your clients and customers so that you can implement a better marketing strategy down the line.
Being able to share your content on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website. By using link shorteners, you can really reap a number of benefits. These benefits include:
As a starting point, it is so much easier to share a short link over a long one. This is extra important in situations where the user is unable to click on the link directly. A number of cases for this can include during a PowerPoint presentation, on a business card, flyer or even on social media. This shortened link can be typed into a phone so that customers will still end up at the right place.
A massive benefit of using a shorten URL software solution is the fact that you can track the clicks made on each link. You can even get the option to see audience demographics, as well as which posts or channels were actually driving the traffic.
Short links make sharing a lot easier too. They are easy to copy and share, which can then help you get organic reach and traffic too.
Using shorten link software to create memorable short URLs can often lead to more engagement. That’s because people can start associating specific links to your brand. This can actually give you a massive boost.
Finally, if you’re regularly shortening links, then customers or followers will begin to notice the pattern. The shorter compressed URLs with your special tags also look more professional, while longer ones can simply look sloppy and messy in comparison to these cleaner URLs.
Who Should Use URL Shorteners
These days, almost every company will benefit from using a shorten URL solution. That’s because getting an audience through social media is the norm. So, to drive traffic to the website, a link shortener is the way to go. Here are some companies that would benefit from using URL shorteners.
Small businesses are the first that should use this type of software. URL shorteners for small companies should focus on the branding and customization options in order to grow their business. It’s also a good idea to get one with tracking options so that you can see which audience to target and where they are coming from.
Larger companies will benefit from the same branding, customization, and tracking options too. But, for bigger brands that are likely more established, the ability to bulk shrink URLs is a major must-have. Paying that little bit extra for a link that’s branded to your company will also make sure that everything looks professional too.
How Much Do URL Shorteners Cost?
When it comes to the cost of a link shortener, things can vary wildly. Many options to shorten URL links are actually completely free. However, you will find yourself limited in what can actually be done with this free software. For individuals and businesses that require more features, a URL shortener can cost from $29 at the low end right up to $499 for a business-level solution or even more for higher pro levels. Often the cost is volume-based, such as per link and per click per month, which is why the cost can grow larger for bigger companies.