Not everyone notices this, but the length of a URL and what characters it has in it can have a surprisingly large impact on how people perceive its legitimacy. Even a URL from a trusted site can give people pause if it’s exceptionally long, and that odd assumption about legitimacy can reduce the chances that people will share links with friends or even visit them in the first place.
The best way around this problem is to use a URL shortener.
What Is a URL Shortener?
URL shorteners are online tools that allow users to enter long URLs and then receive shortened versions of them in return. It is that simple. Some URL shorteners are free, while others are paid. Either way, they work in favor of the person sharing the link.
How Does a URL Shortener Work?
Every URL shortener is a little different. Some require creating accounts, while others allow anyone to simply paste a long URL into an input box. If the URL shortener requires a subscription, users will have to pay for the service before they can access any features.
Benefits of URL Shorteners
Shorter URLs look more appealing to many Internet users, but that’s not their only advantage. Other benefits of using URL shorteners include:
A More Streamlined Appearance
Building a brand, especially through social media campaigns, requires sharing a lot of links. If they all have a similar, streamlined appearance, that will work in the brand’s favor. Shortened links also look better in Twitter and Instagram bios because they are less likely to overwhelm viewers.
Ease of Replication
Most people don’t bother writing down links or typing them out. They cut and copy the URLs instead. There are, however, some circumstances where it makes more sense to replicate the link manually, which can create serious problems if it’s exceptionally long. Even users who copy and paste links can get frustrated if they extend beyond the input box.
Using a URL shortener makes it easy to track clicks on the links. The ability to track clicks with ease makes it easier to put together reports and manage social media accounts. This is similar to how logistics companies track deliveries – except its all online traffic.
Shortened links that all look the same lend legitimacy to a business. Longer URLs that look completely random are often perceived as being shady. Since businesses look for high social media engagement to ensure the success of many online marketing campaigns, it’s important to convey an air of legitimacy.
Downsides of URL Shorteners
URL shorteners are very helpful tools, but like anything in life, they come with drawbacks as well as benefits.
People won’t know where a link is sending them if it’s in shortened form. Some users will avoid clicking on links that they can’t see as a result of security concerns.
When URL shorteners go under or make large changes, existing links can become defunct. It’s bad for business when links don’t work, and if a lot of time goes by without an update, it can make the business itself look unreliable.
URL Shorteners Are Great for Social Media
People don’t need to use URL shorteners to share links on social media, but doing so can help. Just make sure to choose a service that is well-established and unlikely to go under any time soon.