Before You Shorten a URL, Consider Alternatives

Before You Shorten a URL, Consider Alternatives

20.Dec.2021

In general, link shorteners are a bad idea. This is most true when you're sharing links in contexts where they might be used to link back to the original source of a tweet or post about a link, or in contexts where they will be kept for future reference by humans. 

In some cases it makes sense to use link shorteners. If you want to track clicks on links shared via social media, link shorteners can work well. They also make sense if the link itself is very long (for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_Transfer_Protocol#Request). But even here there are other options (see below), and sometimes link shortener may do more harm than good because it's not always clear where the link will take people.

One link shortening service, Matchurl, tries to address some of these concerns by providing a way to see the full URL before clicking and also by allowing users to create shortened URLs that can only be used once (thus preventing others from using them to track clicks). But even with these features, link shorteners are not always the best solution.

When it comes to sharing links, there are often better options than link shorteners. For example, you can use a URL-tracking tool like Bit.ly or Goo.gl to measure how many people have clicked on a link without having to shorten the URL. You can also paste the entire into Twitter or Facebook, which will automatically link it for you.

In some cases, link shortener do more harm than good because it's not always clear where the link will take people. In image creation contexts, link shorteners may pose a problem when using creation tools like Canva and PicMonkey that link to stock image files on third-party sites (and thus link shorteners can be used to link to inappropriate content). Link shorteners also pose problems with some forum and comment widgets that use URLs as internal identifiers (thus link shorteners can be used to link to spammy posted comments).

In many contexts—especially those involving sensitive information or those in which shortened links might be shared by other people—it makes more sense not to a link shortener at all. When in doubt, ask an expert.

So, should you use a link shortener? In general, probably not. But there are some cases where it might make sense. If you're using a link shortener to track clicks, or if the link is very long, try Matchurl or another link shortening service that provides transparency and accountability. And always be aware of the potential risks involved in using link shorteners before you click!

For more information on link shorteners and their uses, check out:

- "The Dark Side of URL Shorteners" (hbr.org)

- "12 Reasons You Should Never Use a URL Shortener" (mash.com)

- "Why You Shouldn't Use a URL Shortener" (makeuseof.com)

- "When You Should—and Shouldn't—Use a URL Shortener" (kevinmuldoon.com)

- "6 Reasons You Should Never Use a URL Shortener" (lifewire.com)

- "Shorten URLs? Not So Fast" (scholastic.com)

- "The Dangers of URL Shorteners" (techlicious.com)

- "8 Reasons You Should NEVER Use a URL Shortener" (webpagefx.com)

- "3 Reasons You Should NEVER Use a URL Shortener" (entrepreneur.com)

Matchurl is a link shortening service that provides transparency and accountability. It also allows users to create shortened URLs that can only be used once (thus preventing others from using them to track clicks). But even with these features, link shorteners are not always the best solution.

When it comes to sharing links, there are often better options than link shorteners. For example, you can use a URL-tracking tool like Bit.ly or Goo.gl to measure how many people have clicked on a link without having to shorten the URL. You can also paste the entire into Twitter or Facebook, which will automatically link it for you.

In some cases, link shortener do more harm than good because it's not always clear where the link will take people. In image creation contexts, link shorteners may pose a problem when using creation tools like Canva and PicMonkey that link to stock image files on third-party sites (and thus link shorteners can be used to link to inappropriate content). Link shorteners also pose problems with some forum and comment widgets that use URLs as internal identifiers (thus link shorteners can be used to link to spammy posted comments).

In many contexts—especially those involving sensitive information or those in which shortened links might be shared by other people—it makes more sense not to a link shortener at all. When in doubt, ask an expert.

So, should you use a link shortener? In general, probably not. But there some cases where it might make sense. If you're using a link shortener to track clicks, or if the link is very long, try Matchurl or another link shortening service that provides transparency and accountability. And always be aware of the potential risks involved in using link shorteners before you click!***You

want to make it easy for people to link directly to something you've written. For example, when I refer in this post to my link shortener article , I provide a link like this:

Shortening URLs makes them easier to share. If you're writing online (or via email or social media), you may be able to shorten the link yourself using an available link shortener service . The URL that will show up—the "vanity link" --is generally shorter than the long address shown by default. You might even use your own website or blog as a link shortener so readers can get there quickly.

But not every link needs to be shortened. Decide whether other options are better suited to your purpose, which could