What Are the Benefits of a URL Shortener?

Creating engaging social media posts to share content can drive traffic to your WordPress.com website. However, if you’re including a long, complex link in every post you share, you may be forfeiting clicks, shares, and engagement. Learning the benefits of a URL shortener can help you achieve better content marketing results.

What is a URL shortener?

The term “URL” is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator — also known as a link or web address. A URL shortener is a tool that takes a full-length web link and compresses this web address into a shorter URL.

Link shorteners aren’t new; they’ve been widely used for many years. These tools gained popularity among Twitter users when the social network limited tweets to just 140 characters. Twitter’s character count and link policies have since changed. Users can now tweet up to 280 characters, and links are always counted as 23 characters. However, compressing URLs remains a best practice for content distribution across social networks and other channels.

5 benefits of a URL shortener

Distributing your content on social media and other channels can help you drive traffic to your website. Both WordPress.com website owners and audience members can benefit from using link shorteners before sharing content on social media networks. These benefits include the following:

1. Convenience

It’s much simpler to share a shorter link than a long, complicated one. This especially matters in scenarios where your audience can’t physically click your link or where you’re promoting your website one-to-one. If you’re giving a PowerPoint presentation or sharing a link directly with a prospective customer, a URL shortener can help you create a brief, memorable link that can be typed directly into a smartphone or web browser.

2. Insights

One of the most important benefits of a URL shortener is the ability to track clicks on each link you share. Depending on the service you’re using to compress web links, you can see a breakdown of visitors by demographics, such as country or gender. You can also tell which of your social channels or posts are driving the most clicks.

3. Increased sharing

A shortened link is easier for your readers to click, copy, and share in their own post, which can help your content gain organic exposure on social networks.

4. Stronger engagement

Your audience is more likely to engage with a shortened URL, especially if it’s recognizably associated with your brand. Shortened URLs can increase engagement by 39%, according to Rebrandly.

5. Professionalism

Chances are, your audience is used to seeing content shared in the form of shortened links. In fact, this practice is so common that they may notice if you share a URL that hasn’t been compressed. Long-form URLs can appear sloppy or untidy to audience members who are used to cleaner, shortened links.

Getting started with URL shorteners

There are many different URL shortener services available to WordPress.com website owners. You may be familiar with bit.ly or TinyURL, or you may have encountered a plugin such as Jetpack with built-in URL shortening. WordPress.com website owners can use a native URL shortening feature to speed access to site shortlinks for any published post on their website.

This feature works similarly to other link-shortening services, but offers a few unique benefits to site owners:

  • It removes the need for an external service, given that every WordPress.com post has a WP.me shortlink URL.

  • WP.me URLs are permanent and will remain working as long as WordPress.com is around.

  • Thanks to active monitoring, WP.me links are free of spam, making them trustworthy.

Simply put, WordPress.com’s built-in shortlinks service is convenient and easy to use. Learn how to get started with convenient, spam-free shortlinks today.

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Jasmine Henry

Jasmine is a freelance technology writer, with interests in UX, mobile optimization, and web design trends. She's also a Project Management Professional with an academic background in Informatics and Analytics.

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