What makes a great URL shortener?

What makes a great URL shortener?

30.Nov.2021

It's common to have a link shortened for you automatically, but if you're sharing other people's links then it makes sense that you'll want to use a tool specifically designed for the purpose.

 

While there are a large number of URL shorteners out there, many can be difficult to use and lack important features. What do I look for in a good URL shortener? What should it be able to do? What should it avoid? What makes a great one?

 

Here are some tips on what factors I consider when evaluating different options:

 

1.) Automatic redirection – The address bar shouldn't change once the page has loaded. When people click on your address bar they shouldn't be expected to re-type it.

 

2.) Analytics – What links are people clicking on the most? What countries are they coming from? What's the average time on site per session? What search terms were used to find the link? How many shares does it have on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/etc.? These are all important questions that URL shorteners should be able to answer.

 

3.) User interface – It shouldn't take twenty clicks just to shorten, copy or delete a link. I shouldn't need an engineering degree (i.e. 'I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that') for something like this either. A good UI needs two things: ease of use and simplicity. If you can create one shortcut key command for everything then even better.

 

4.) Other features – On that note, how about offering something other than just a shortened version of the original link? What else can it do? What profiles does it offer for different social networks (i.e. Twitter @handles)? What statistics and analytics are available? What's your privacy policy like?

 

5.) The little things matter too – How quickly does it take to shorten a link, both times the tool is used? What domains does it support (i.e. .com/.net etc.) What level of encryption is used and what security protocols are in place (SSL/TLS)? What's their uptime like? What OS and browser support do they have (i.e. Chrome doesn't support WebKit, but Firefox does). What other features do they offer? What kind of reputation to they have within the industry?

 

6.) What's their business model and what percentage of revenue do they make from ads? What information is gathered when a link is shared on social media (i.e. click tracking)? What information about users are they collecting? What info is stored about your account(s) (i.e. email address)? What websites/ads/etc. are promoted via URL shorteners? What happens to any money or data made by them after you close your account, if anything at all? How long will my links stay active for once I've created them? Will I be able to get the original link back if I delete it? What happens in case of a cyberattack or data breach (e.g. What security protocols are in place)? What safeguards are in place to prevent abuse (i.e. what does their abuse policy look like)? What's the email address for customer service and tech support? What kind of data/terms of use do they have? What kind of documentation is available regarding the code, backend and site structure? What incentives, if any, can I get from using your tool that aren't related to my social media accounts' stats or analytics ?

What makes a great URL shortener ? Articl e start ---------

URL shorteners can also be useful for shortening longer links to fit character limits on social media and messaging apps, although a lot of platforms take care of that for you. Twitter, for example, automatically shortens any shared links with its t.co shortening service, while iMessage obscures any links behind a preview card. If you're just sending things to your friends, you only really need to worry about URL shortening if you're using SMS.

Another thing most good URL shorteners offer is some kind of analytics and click tracking. If you share someone else's website address with your audience , you should be able to see how many times it's been clicked on from where (provided they have enabled the feature). What makes a great one is when users can track their clicks too without having to copy and paste the original link each time. What metrics and statistics should a good URL shortener offer? What security and privacy protocols should it have in place? What kind of support is available and how quickly do they respond to issue reports? What kind of reward or incentive programs can users join that aren't related to analytics tracking data (i.e. earning money for referrals)? What benefits can users get from using your tool as opposed to others (i.e speed, simplicity etc.) What's their business model like (i.e. ads or paying users) ? How much revenue or money do they make from ad networks like Google Adsense, what information are they gathering about me when I use their service (i . e . click stats), are they monitoring my activity on the web or collecting any other user data? What information is collected about users who aren't paying/donating, if anything at all? What happens to that data after I close my account? What kind of privacy policy do they have in place and what safeguards are in place for their users (e.g. encryption, two-factor authentication)? What kind of resources are available regarding code, backend access and site structure to help me manually edit my links e.g. JSON files? What incentive programs can I join as a member/user, not related to analytics tracking data (i.e earning money for referrals)? What's their uptime like ? What's their support email address and how long do they