What is URL Shortener?
URL Shortener is a service that reconstruct a lengthy web address to a compact, shortened URL that fits in the limited space of a message. It’s a life-saver for social media apps constraint by a 140-characters rule like Twitter, Plurk and Identica. In case you haven’t notice (which I doubt it), some of these fabulous URL shorteners equipped with Stats Tracking ability!
To track source and number of clicks, including users (‘Best Guess’) & locations. In order to utilize Twitclicks, you need to log in with your Twitter username/password. Although some may be having second thoughts about using it due to security issues, but that is just a matter of preference. Twitclicks still manage to impress users with the detailed statistics as shown below:
Tr.im offers a much appealing presentation in graphs, map and charts. It detects timelines, referrer sites, source (location) and number of clicks. Having a new Tr.im account setup allows you to manage your stats and claim your shortened-URLs to ensure its longevity: meaning all URLs will never be deleted. It’s owned by the account holder, regardless one ever visited it or not. Twitclicks provides bookmarklet for a quick trim-ing of your URLs, and allows direct-tweeting to your Twitter account (Twitter username/password is required in this case).
All the statistics of the tr.im URLs are kept as long they are not
removed by the account holder
People may retweet our post using their self-generated bit.ly URL instead of ours. Good news is, bit.ly is capable of aggregating all shortened-URLs that directed to the same site, despite different users.
Apart showing the number and source (location & timelines) of clicks, bit.ly allows you to claim and bookmark your tweeted links upon registering a bit.ly account. Extra features including bookmarklet, ‘Conversation’ tracking in Twitter, FriendFeed & page comment for the link itself. Bit.ly is undoubtedly one of the most used URL shorteners, could be found in various desktop clients (Tweedeck, Twhirl, Seesmic Destkop etc); and also used by the popular Trend-tracker, Tweetmeme!
The stats tracking is limited to number of clicks in different time range. Snurl account holders are allowed to keep their shortened URLs permanently. Link termination will only occur when the link is reported spam or returned with page error, such as “404 error” on the server. The data could be exported to Excel files, and you could provide security key if you do not wish your links to be viewed publicly.
Cli.gs also requires account setup to enable stats tracking. Private analytic data available only for cli.gs account holders. Referrer stats will show whose link sent you the most traffic. Another specialty of cli.gs is that it provides social media tracking for both cli.gs and destination links, meaning you could monitor the response in terms of backlinks, tweets, link-sharing in friendsfeed, comments etc.
Stats tracking for Ow.ly could
be done via Hootsuite. It is a powerful web interface that allows user to handle tweeting with multiple profiles, along with pre-scheduling tweeting ability – Tweet Later! Take a peek at the toolbars, you’ll get what I mean:
‘Send Later’ feature in Hootsuite
Hootsuite to manage tweets as in Twitter official page
The Graph shows the amount of clicks for its shortened-URL (ow.ly)
A Lil’ Piece of Advise…
URL Shortener is our handyman, but don’t get too carry away with it though. In my opinion, it is always better to use the original link in online articles or references for they are recognizable. You may think you’re doing the readers some favours by replacing long address like:
with ‘http://twitclicks.com/fecu‘–unknown and suspicious. What if someone never heard of twitclicks and goes ‘What on earth is that??’. They just may skip it for fear it it’s an affiliate link or some sort of malicious site that disguises itself in shortened URL! Also, in terms of SEO opportunies, we wouldn’t want to lose any details the link could provide for the search engines.
Share with us…
Which is your favourite URL shortener service? What aspects you would consider before making your pick? Do you anticipating any further improvements? Share with us your valuable thoughts.