A Comprehensive Guide to Short Links

Sep 11, 2023

Introduction to Short Links

A short link is a condensed version of a long URL that redirects to the original link. Short links have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the rise of social media and the need to share links with shortened URLs. This article will provide an overview of what short links are, their benefits, and some of the top shortening services available.

What is a Short Link?

A short link is a shortened alternative for a long URL that redirects to the original link. For example, the URL “www.example.com/blog/articles/how-to-use-short-links” could be shortened to “example.com/s/abcd”. The short link redirects to the original URL but with far fewer characters, making it easier to share, tweet, remember, and use in printed materials.

Short links essentially work by using a redirect to send users from a shortened URL to the original page. Shortening services create a unique shortened link that points back to the longer page. When a user clicks the short link, the service will track analytics like clicks before redirecting to the destination URL.

Top Benefits of Using Short Links

Short links provide a number of benefits:

  • More characters available. Short links maximize the number of characters available when sharing a link on social media sites or messaging platforms with limited space like Twitter.
  • Improved readability. Long links with extraneous query strings or folders can be hard to read. Short links are clean and easy to understand.
  • Easy to type and remember. Short links are simpler to manually type out and easier for audiences to remember.
  • Trackable analytics. URL shorteners provide metrics like clicks, geolocation of clicks, and click rates.
  • Customizable links. Many services allow users to customize the shortened URL for branding purposes.
  • Security. URL shortening obscures the original site’s URL, which improves security.

Top URL Shortening Services

There are many URL shortening tools and services available online, both free and paid. Here are some of the top options:

Bitly – One of the most popular shortening services used on major social platforms like Twitter. Provides click analytics.

TinyURL – A fast, simple shortening service that has been around since 2002. No accounts required.

LinksGPT – A powerful new short link service with free credit and an attractive price

Google URL Shortener – A reliable option that integrates with other Google products but is being phased out.

Rebrandly – Feature-rich shortening tool with advanced analytics and the ability to customize shortened links.

Bl.ink – Focuses on optimizing links for social media specifically. Provides share counts and metrics.

Short.io – Shortens links and customizes them with metrics pages and in-link calls-to-action.

Tiny.cc – A quick, ad-free shortening service that counts clicks and allows custom aliases.

Best Practices for Short Links

Here are some tips for getting the most out of short links:

  • Choose a service that offers analytics and link customization to track engagement and brand links.
  • Make shortened URLs easy to say and remember. Use your brand name if possible.
  • Use link shorteners made specifically for social sharing to optimize engagement.
  • Shorten links used in print materials like brochures, flyers, and business cards.
  • Redirect old or changed content to new pages with a short link.
  • Preview shortened links to test them before publishing them live.
  • Use link management tools to organize and track shortened links in one place.
  • Monitor click metrics to see which links have the best performance.


Short links are a simple but effective technique for optimizing links for sharing, tracking, branding, and usability. The right shortening service can provide valuable analytics while creating clean, professional, and memorable URLs. With a bit of care, short links can help improve audience engagement and access to content.

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