Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tiny bits of goo - the scoop on URL shorteners

Some URLs are long and ugly. Have a look at the link for this Google Form:

Could you ever write that on the board? Of course not.

Problem solved with a handy tool: the URL shortener. URL shorteners take a long URL and make it into a shorter URL alias that directs to the desired web page. It makes your URL easier to say or write on the board, like - or

Here are three commonly used URL shorteners and they all work the same way. Copy your long URL, navigate to one of the links below and paste your long URL into the URL shortener. Optionally, Tiny URL and Bitly allow you to create a custom alias.

Tiny URL: TinyURL is the granddaddy of URL shorteners. What I like about TinyURL is that no login is required and you have the option of creating a custom alias (if it hasn't already been used by someone else). If you can't create a custom alias you will get a shortened URL with random numbers and letters. What I don't like about Tiny URL is that no login is required so I have no way to track my shortened URLs.

tinyurl example

Bitly: Bitly is another no login required URL shortener that will give you an alias that contains random letters and numbers. If you want to create a custom alias, however, you will need to create an account. But - because you are logged in you can keep track of all of your shortened URLs. Because I am always logged in to my Google account my "go to" URL shortener is is easy to use and I can view a list of the URLs I've shortened. Here's one shortened URL: url example

What I don't like about is that I can't create a custom alias. Best of both worlds for me? If TinyURL married and had a URL shortening child that allowed me to create custom aliases AND see a list all of my shortened URLs.

Top ten, five or three...

If you search for best URL shortener the above three are in just about every list. No matter which one you choose, URL shorteners are a handy tool for whenever you need a link that's easy to say or write in the board!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these great tools, Liane. I have been using tinyurl for years and love the customization option. I usually keep a Google doc in my drive with my list of shortened URL's but appreciate knowing there are other options to consider. I like knowing the pros and cons of each option.