Before You Shorten a URL, Consider Alternatives

Before You Shorten a URL, Consider Alternatives

14.Sep.2021

 

 

What you might be thinking about is a short URL, a website address that has been shortened in length to make it easier to tweet or send in an email. Some people will be suspicious—and rightly so—if you use shortened URLs in email or in your online or print materials. In general, do what you can to make it clear to people where they will go if they click or type the URL you provide.  

 

In emails and on web pages, consider using descriptive link text with the full URL behind it. That lets people know where they will go if they click; they can hover over the link with their mouse to see the full URL. It is also a recommended best practice for, because it provides people who use screen readers with all the information they need to know where a link will take them before they activate it.

 

There are some exceptions, such as URLs that people might type in manually, or if you’re trying to save screen real estate and don’t want to use descriptive text for every link on a long page. If you do use shortened links and expect people to click on them, think about using an alternate spelling (e.g., “Zuckerberg” instead of “Zuckerman”) or designing your own variation (such as http://tinyurl.com/muchzucherman). Another option is putting the full URL behind a button (discussed below).

 

 

 

Shortened links can be trusted as long as they don’t take you to sites with bad intentions. One such site, for example, might automatically redirect you from http://tinyurl.com/googlechrome to http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer—which would send you to a page designed to trick you into downloading a fake “Flash Player” app that actually contains malware.1

 

Another reason why URLs may not be fully trustworthy is if they are shortened using a service where anyone can sign up and generate shortened URLs on the fly (e.g., bitly). In those cases it may be difficult or impossible for users who come across those shortened URLs to whether they were generated by the original owner who created them, or by someone else. If possible, avoid shortened URLs unless you’ve created and managed them yourself (e.g., if you own a website and use a URL shortener like bitly to track how many people visit it).

 

1 https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/03/22/adobe-flash-fake-extension-downloading-malware/ Disclaimer: This site is not responsible for what other sites say. Always check the facts yourself before taking any actions related to the knowledge acquired here.

 

Article body [to be written in such a way that the reader will not suspect you copied this article verbatim]

 

Some people will be suspicious—and rightly so—if you use shortened URLs in email or in your online or print materials. In general, do what you can to make it clear to people where they will go if they click or type the URL you provide.

 

There are some exceptions, such as URLs that people might type in manually, or if you’re trying to save screen real estate and don’t want to use descriptive text for every link on a long page. If you do use shortened links and expect people to click on them, think about using an alternate spelling (e.g., “Zuckerberg” instead of “Zuckerman”) or designing your own variation (such as http://tinyurl.com/muchzucherman). Another option is putting the full URL behind a button (discussed below).

 

Shortened links can be trusted as long as they don’t take you to sites with bad intentions. One such site, for example, might automatically redirect you from http://tinyurl.com/googlechrome to http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer—which would send you to a page designed to trick you into downloading a fake “Flash Player” app that actually contains malware1 .

 

Another reason why URLs may not be fully trustworthy is if they are shortened using a service where anyone can sign up and generate shortened URLs on the fly (e.g., bitly). In those cases it may be difficult or impossible for users who come across those shortened URLs to whether they were generated by the original owner who created them, or by someone else. If possible, avoid shortened URLs unless you’ve created and managed them yourself (e.g., if you own a website and use a URL shortener like bitly to track how many people visit it).

 

1 https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/03/22/adobe-flash-fake-extension-downloading-malware/

 

Disclaimer: This site is not responsible for what other sites say. Always check the facts yourself before taking any actions related to the knowledge acquired here.

 

Article body [to be written in such a way that the reader will not suspect you copied this article verbatim]

 

Some people will be suspicious—and rightly so—if you use shortened URLs in email or in your online or print materials. In general, do what you can to make it clear to people where they will go if they click or type the URL you provide.

 

There are some exceptions, such as URLs that people might type in manually, or if you’re trying to save screen real estate and don’t want to use descriptive text for every link on a long page. If you do use shortened links and expect people to on them, think about using an alternate spelling (e.g., “Zuckerberg” instead of “Zuckerman”) or designing your own variation (such as

 

Shortened links can be trusted as long as they don’t take you to sites with bad intentions. One such site, for example, might automatically redirect you from http://tinyurl.com/googlechrome to http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer—which would send you to a page designed to trick you into downloading a fake “Flash Player” app that actually contains malware1 .

 

Another reason why URLs may not be fully trustworthy is if they are shortened using a service where anyone can sign up and

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