You’ve probably seen URL’s that start with the following:
What these companies do is to take your super long URL – http://www.yoursite.com/store/clothing/t-shirts/large/white/productnumber2389qw2345987 and turn it into a very short URL.
There are many reasons to shorten a URL. Here are some of the most important reasons:
- To paste in an email. If you convert your long URL to a short one, it looks a lot nicer when you link to that URL in an email.
- To hide a URL from the search engines. For instance, if you are working on a website for a client and have a question about that site in a forum, it is better to hide the URL by using one of these services.
- You can create a catchy phrase. Services like TinyURL let you create a custom alias. So, you could have http://tinyurl.com/custom. This might be easier to share with someone than a long company name or a URL that is extremely long.
- Twitter – with a limit of just 140 characters, you almost need to use a URL shortener if you are linking within your tweet.
My personal favorite one is TinyURL. I’m a little biased, as the founder of TinyURL was an acquaintance of mine growing up in Minnesota. I’m really proud of Kevin Gilbertson for starting TinyURL.
For more information on URL shortening services, click here.