Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You

Long URLs are simply hard to pass along. The links tend to sometimes break in email, are harder to verbalize in a conversation, and they are difficult, or in some cases near impossible to remember.

For example, let’s say you want to pass along this piece of news to your friends about how the ‘Iphone will test loyalty of cellular customers’- Which you can visit with this long URL…

http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/04/24/loyalty/index.php?lsrc=mwrss

…which I will need to shorten to something more digestible.

Now, there are a plethora of URL shortening services out there – the majority of them free, but most of them not bringing anything unique to the table.  Here are some notable exceptions with useful value-added features in place:

#1 Choose your own page name with Doiop

doiop Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You  

What Doiop allows you to do is actually define your own keyword (In this case I used loyalty) so you can give your short link some context, something simple which many URL shortening services just don’t offer.

Result: Link shortened to – http://doiop.com/loyalty

#2 Create instant short URLs using bookmarklets and enjoy previews with TinyURL

tinyurl Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You

TinyURL is probably the most famous of all the URL shortening sites out there, but many people don’t take advantage of two key features they offer.  The first - Incorporating a one-click bookmarklet on your browser, so you never have to visit the site to shorten a URL, just click a button on your browser and it’s done!

The second is a preview feature.  This tells anyone who clicks on the preview link – what exactly they are accessing, so there are no surprises on the other end.

Result: Link shortened to http://tinyurl.com/2ck97a

#3 Tag short URLs using multiple keywords with ReadthisURL

 readthisurl Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You

Just like Doiop, this allows you to add context to your shortened URLS but this time by allowing users to tag it with multiple keywords. 

Result: Link shortened to http://readthisurl.com/iphone+loyalty

#4 Create pronounceable with MemURL.com

memurl Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You

Too lazy to think of a keyword but still want some form of coherence for your shortened URLs?  memURL will create a mnemonic link which is easy to pronounce (but doesn’t mean anything).  memURL also comes with a bookmarklet feature for one click shortening.

Result: Link shortened to http://memurl.com/luviru

#5 Track your short URL traffic and stats with dwarfURL.com

 dwarfurl Top 5 URL Shorteners and How They Help You

On top of a basic URL shortening system, DwarfURL allows users to track statistics and traffic of these shortened URLs.  Perfect for tracking how many people actually visit those links you send them :)

Result: Link shortened to http://dwarfurl.com/e9b5d

A word to the wise here - Like most good things on the Internet, spammers have invaded the URL shortening space -using these services to cover their tracks.  I would apply the same level of caution when clicking on the links – only doing so when you’re sure it comes from a trusted source.

What URL shortening services do you use?  Let us know in the comments!

[tags] url redirection, url shortener, tinyurl, domain [/tags]

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