At this point, you’re probably familiar with the practice of shortening links. However, with so many different link shortening tools and services available, how do you decide which is right for your business?
There is no one simple answer to that question. However, there are a handful of factors you can consider when deciding which link shortener will be best suited to your needs. Key considerations include your budget and whether or not you want to brand your links.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using shortened links in your marketing content. Then we’ll offer three tips for choosing the best link shortener for your business. Let’s get started!
The Benefits of Shortening Links
Short URLs are cleaner and more concise than long, bulky URLs:
Most people will see the first link as more appealing and even more reliable than the second. In other words, they'll be more likely to click on it.
Using link shorteners can benefit your business, because they offer more attractive and memorable links to use in your marketing campaigns. Shortened links are particularly suitable on social media, where space for your promotions is limited.
To take your marketing efforts up a notch, you can brand your shortened links as well. By including your brand name in a URL, you can boost brand awareness while simultaneously making your links more trustworthy, clickable, and shareable.
There are a variety of ways you can shorten your links, including both free and paid methods. The purpose, scope, and goals of your links all come into play when determining the best link shortener for your business.
3 Tips for Choosing the Best Link Shortener
A handful of websites will let you shorten links for free. This may be a viable option for individuals with limited linking needs. However, using a paid service or plugin can offer you more control.
Let's take a look of the considerations you'll want to make when evaluating potential link shortening tools.
1. Evaluate Each Solution's Features
The first step in deciding on the best link shortener is to evaluate the functionality available with each option. Then, you'll need to determine which features are necessary to your business.
For example, you'll find some basic, free link shorteners such as TinyURL:
While effective for making URLs more concise, this tool doesn't offer much else, such as the ability to brand or track your links. It's also a standalone service. Therefore, each time you want to shorten a link, you will have to navigate to the site and input the URL individually, which can become time consuming.
When settling on a tool you'll use regularly, a few important things you may want to look for include:
- Tracking and analytics options
- Social media sharing and integration features
- Custom domains/URL slugs
- Retargeting functionality
It's also worth considering what platform you're using to run your website, as it can be smart to pick up a tool that integrates with it. If you're a WordPress user, for instance, you can try out our Pretty Links plugin:
Our link shortener integrates with your WordPress dashboard, so you don't have to go anywhere in order to shorten links. It also comes with a wide range of features, including tracking, retargeting, branding, and social sharing functionality.
2. Decide If You Want to Brand Your Links
When you use generic link shorteners, you miss out on the opportunity for brand expansion. For example, when you use TinyURL or the free version of a tool such as Bitly, your shortened link will include the service's brand name, rather than your own:
Branded links are shortened URLs that contain your business' name (or something else that's relevant to your brand). They are easier for your audience to remember and recognize, plus they help to establish credibility.
Incorporating your brand name into your shortened links makes it so that every link you share is a promotion:
This is why the best link shortener tools for businesses are often the ones that include custom branding options. By upgrading to Pretty Links Pro, for example, you can easily turn shortened links into branded links directly from your WordPress dashboard.
3. Consider What's Included in the Tool's Cost
As with anything in life, the cost of link shortener services can often be representative of their quality. If you're not interested in branding or tracking links, of course, there's nothing wrong with using free and generic link shorteners.
However, if you're looking to do a more with your links, it's probably worth paying a little extra. When comparing link shortener options, you'll want to consider not just the price, but also what's included in that cost.
Paying between $50 to $100 per year for a premium package may seem like a big investment at first. However, paid solutions typically offer you a solid return on investment through ease of use, convenience, and advanced functionality.
Having a link shortener plugin such as Pretty Links that's integrated with your WordPress site provides everything you need for effective linking. This can make an upfront investment well worth it over the long term.
You likely know that you should be shortening your links. However, with so many options, choosing the right solution can be challenging.
As we've discussed, there are three tips you can follow to help you pick out the best link shortener for your business:
- Evaluate the features of each tool, and determine which are most important for your business.
- Decide if you want to brand your links or simply shorten them.
- Consider the cost of each potential solution, as well as what’s included in that price.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best link shortener, or about Pretty Links specifically? Let us know in the comments section below!