Shortened URLs are all over the web, and for good reason. They make it easy to run an affiliate marketing campaign, share links with friends and followers on social media, and they are a great way to track clicks on your links, redirect links depending on the country, device, or OS, and much more. But how do they work? Is there a full-featured FREE URL shortener out there? What are free URL shortener features? And most importantly, how to make a URL shortener yourself?
In this article, we’ll answer all of those questions and more.
What is a free URL shortener and how does it work?
A URL shortener is a service that takes a long web address and creates a much shorter one that is easier to remember and share. The shortened URL can be used instead of the long one and will take people to the same page.
Most URL shorteners work by taking the long web address and creating a new, shorter one, using a random string of characters. This new address is then stored in a database, along with the original URL. When someone clicks on the shortened URL, the URL shortener looks up the original address in its database and redirects the person to that page.
Nowadays almost all URL shorteners also offer additional features, such as custom URLs, link tracking, link redirects depending on settings, link expiration, and more. We’ll talk more about those later on.
The best free URL shortener pros features
One of the best free URL shorteners out there is tyn.at. Its features include:
With analytics, you can determine how many times your links were clicked, was your link visited from a computer, cell phone, or tablet, what country they are clicked from, and from what resource (social networks, sites, and other places where you shared your link), what browser was used and what operating system.
Edit the link itself and write your own link ID instead of the automatically generated letters
Activate or pause your link during your campaign.
Protect your link with a password. For example, if you want your content to be seen only by the people you gave the password to. That could be people working on a collaborative project that is not for prying eyes, people who have paid you for some specific material, etc.
Create your own UTM link. Marketers use many tools to track and measure the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns, including Urchin Tracking Module codes, which are snippets of code attached at the end of a link. UTM codes are also used to identify specific sources of traffic to a website.
Choose the domain for the short link. You may have a preference for a particular domain from the list, so you can select the domain you want to use for your campaign.
Schedule the beginning and the end of your campaign.
Group multiple links together to allow viewing statistics for all links in that group and see how different groups perform when compared to each other. Link groups are kind of unfinished yet. There will be a title instead of links and then such groups can be shown to visitors as a separate group of resources.
The details – title, image, and description will be extracted from the target link. But you can edit them as you want – change the title and description, and change the image as well.
Tracking pixels from different services can be attached to links to measure their performance. If you know what these are, you understand their significance. If not, you’ll eventually figure out what pixels are and will start using them. You can add any pixels from Facebook and Twitter pixels to Google Analytics.
Clicks with an expiration date. Once a link has been visited the specified number of times, it will no longer be available. If you wish, once the number of clicks is reached, the link can be redirected to another link you specify.
This means that you can show different destination links for visitors from different countries. For example, you create a link to your product on your website. But you know that people in the United States prefer to buy the same product from your Amazon store, and people in Germany prefer buying the same product from your eBay store. Here you can redirect visitors from the United States to your Amazon store.
Add another country and redirect visitors from Germany to your eBay store. This way, all visitors except the United States and Germany will see the product on your site. Visitors from the United States will see the product on Amazon, and visitors from Germany will see your product on eBay.
Let’s say you sell the protective film for monitors. Here you can redirect visitors to a product that matches their device – computer, tablet, or phone.
Operating System-Specific Targeting
For example, redirect users with Windows to a game download link for Windows, and Android users to a download link for Android. And so on.
The good thing is that after you create a shortened link you can edit it all the way down including changing the target link.
Free URL Shortener With QR Code
Generate and copy a fully functional shortened URL QR code with a single click. Scanning a QR code will redirect to a long URL.
It’s a business card of a business, a public person, and so on. You can use it as a kind of CV, you can use it as a product page and so on, there are a lot of ways to use them. I’ve prepared three samples here, but I’m sure you’ll find more creative uses. Despite Bio links being suitable for large computer monitors too, it’s designed for phones.
Create multiple workspaces and invite team members to collaborate on campaigns, links, and more. You can create workspaces for your Amazon, eBay, and other affiliate links. Create workspaces and teams, but don’t forget to switch between workspaces. Where you create a link, that’s where it will stay.
Free URL Shortener with API
A fully featured rest API allows performing any action that is possible on the website via REST API. Interactive API documentation is also included.
All the tyn.at free URL shortener google features pros are explained in this video:
Benefits of using a URL shortener
The main benefit of using a free URL shortener is that it makes long, ugly links look clean and professional.
If you’re sharing links on social media, a shorter link takes up less space, which can be important.
And if you use short URLs for your marketing campaigns, the above URL shortening features are very useful for creating your campaign in a smart way and for tracking clicks and measuring campaign performance.
How shortened URLs are used on social media
When you post a long URL on social media, it can take up a lot of space in the post. This is especially true on Twitter where there’s a character limit.
By using a URL shortener, you can make your links look cleaner and take up less space. This can be important if you’re trying to get your message across in a limited amount of space.
Plus, shortened URLs are easier to remember than long ones. So if you’re sharing a link that you want people to remember, a short URL is more likely to stick in people’s minds.
The most popular URL shorteners and what makes them stand out
There are a lot of URL shorteners out there, but these are the most popular ones:
Bitly: Bitly is one of the most popular URL shorteners. It’s been around for a long time and it has a lot of features. Plus, it integrates with a lot of different services.
TinyURL: TinyURL is one of the oldest URL shorteners. It’s simple and easy to use.
Tyn.at: https://tyn.at is a very popular free URL shortener. It’s simple, fast and most importantly, it’s free.
These are just a few of the most popular URL shorteners. There are many more out there. Each has its own set of features, so it’s worth taking the time to find the one that’s right for you.
Is there a downside to using a URL shortener?
There is one potential downside to using a URL shortener: security. When you use a URL shortener, you’re trusting the service to redirect your link correctly. So if a URL shortener gets hacked, malicious links could be injected into the shortened URLs.
This is a rare occurrence, but it’s something to be aware of.
How to make your own URL shortener
If you want to create your own free URL shortener service, there are a few things you need:
A domain name: You need a domain name for your URL shortener. This can be any domain name that’s available.
A web server: You need a web server to host your URL shortener. This can be any web server, such as Apache or Nginx.
A script: You need a script to handle the URL shortening. This can be any scripting language, such as PHP or Python.
There are many scripts available that you can use to create your own URL shortener. Or you can write your own script from scratch.
One of the best URL shortener scripts on the market is BeLink. It’s a powerful URL shortener script that besides many other features, offers SAAS mode.
The process of setting up a URL shortener is beyond the scope of this article.
How do I know if a shortened URL is safe?
The best way to know if a shortened URL is safe is to check the link before you click on it. If the link looks suspicious, don’t click on it.
You can also use a service to scan shortened URLs for malware.
What is the difference between a URL shortener and a redirect?
A URL shortener takes a long web address and creates a much shorter one that is easier to remember and share. A redirect just sends you from one URL to another.
URL shorteners can be used to track clicks on links, which is not possible with a redirect.
Do I need to use a URL shortener?
No, you don’t need to use a free URL shortener. But they can be helpful in some situations.
For example, if you’re sharing a link on social media, a URL shortener can make your post look cleaner and take up less space.
What are the most popular URL shorteners?
The most popular URL shorteners are Bitly, TinyURL, and https://tyn.at.
How do I make my own URL shortener?
You need a domain name, a web server, and a script to create your own free URL shortener. The best URL shortener script with SAAS mode is BeLink.
What are the potential risks of using a URL shortener?
The potential risks of using a free URL shortener include malware and phishing attacks. To reduce the risk of these attacks, only click on links from trusted sources. You can also use a service to scan shortened URLs for malware.
How to create a shortened URL?
To create a shortened URL, you just need to enter the long URL into the service and it will generate a shorter one for you.
Is there a free alternative to Bitly?
Yes, the best free alternative to Bitly is tyn.at.
As you see, the URL shortening is much more than just a short link. It’s a service that has many potential benefits. Overall, it’s a helpful tool that can make your life easier.
I hope this article has helped you to understand how URL shorteners work and how to make your own. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.