With the advent of microblogging, the need for shorting URLs has grown remarkably. Twitter, Facebook, Shout’Em and other services all rely on the length of your message. Having a short URL lets you share links you like, love or are appealed by with the world. With dozens of URL shortening services out there, here are six of the best ones:
The Simple Solution – Is.gd
TinyURL might be the most popular URL shortening service, but it’s interface is just plain ugly. Is.gd on the other hand has a Google-like simplicity AND beauty. Enter the URL and shorten it. That’s it.
The Unique Offer – Snipr
At first look, Snipr is yet another URL shortening service. However, this service has some pretty unique things to offer, and it’s not just the simple and pleasant interface:
- Multi-snip lets you paste as many URLs as you want and shorten them;
- You can choose from five prefixes for your URLs, with one just 5 characters short;
- Choose to automatically copy shortened links to your clipboard;
- Subscribe to your shortened links via e-mail.
The Open Source and Branding Choice – Shorty
For those who like having things on their own server or want to preserve their own domain mentions, Shorty is a simple yet perfect choice. Instead of having your URLs as http://urlservice/123/, you can have them as http://yourdomainname.com/123/.
This is great for preserving your brand while sharing content from your website. Another added benefit is that your shortened URLs will live as long as you like since they’re hosted on your own server. Even though Shorty does require you to know how to install it, it’s completely free!
The Analytics Tool – Cli.gs
- Total hits chart with a breakdown of bot and human hits;
- World map overview of locations of hits;
- Referrer statistics;
- Search engine bot sightings;
- Social media mentions on Twitter, Friendfeed, Google blog links and Yahoo links
The money maker – LongURL
LongURL just launched a couple of days ago, but looks promising for those who want to try to make money when redirecting. Basically, the service adds a small frame to the top of the linked page with a “Share this button” on one side and your own text ad on the other:
- Write an ad for each link you share;
- Save ads to your profile and reuse them as you like
The Overall Best – Bit.ly
Bit.ly is a great choice in that it has a beautiful and simple interface with a lot of features hidden within. Use them if you need them, here are some:
- Use the bookmarklet to shorten URLs directly from your browser toolbar;
- Install the Firefox plugin to preview short URLs, supports services other than bit.ly as well;
- You can save your Twitter account to your Bit.ly profile for instant sharing;
- Preview of the link destination;
- List of referring sites, locations and conversations from Twitter and FriendFeed.