URL shorteners have become a fixture of every internet user’s life.
Shortened links are an important part of online marketing, building brand awareness and driving traffic to your website. If you want a reliable URL shortener with advanced features, these five apps provide some of the best solutions for those on a tight budget.
While Rebrandly is a great URL shortener like all the other apps on our list, its appeal is unique. Rebrandly believes that brands, whether it's a product or a person, get value out of customizing links to content that references them from all over the web. Their free plan offers five custom domains, the most of any app we considered, so you can customize the whole short URL, and not just the last half of it.
For example, Bob Vila could customize the link to his Wikipedia entry from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Vila to BobVila.Tools/wikipedia. A link to one of his books on Amazon could be BobVi
Rebrandly’s paid plans go as high as 500 custom domains and 500,000 monthly visitors.
Goo.gl is Google's URL shortener, and it has all the benefits of using a service from one of the world's most popular brands. If you're worried about missing out on search engine optimization (SEO) benefits because your link is shortened with a third-party service instead of organic listings on Google itself, fear not: Goo.gl offers both options under its new "Organic" link type. The free version offers up to 100,000 URLs per month and 10GB of storage for your custom domain names; more than enough for small businesses on a tight budget. For $5 per month, you get almost 10 times the number of monthly clicks, along with more than double the storage.
The ease of creating short links is the initial appeal of Bitly, and for good reason: It's one of the most popular URL shorteners in use on social media today. While its free plan limits you to 2,000 created links per month, real accounts start at $10 per month for 10,000 active links and 500MB of storage. Bitly also offers a unique feature called "Bitly for Good," where nonprofits can apply to receive a free or discounted account if their organization meets certain criteria. Bitly takes care not only of your shortened URLs but also tracks analytics about visits and their sources for you, simplifying your social media marketing.
UrlBase also provides a free option, but you'll have to register for an account first. Once that's done, you can create as many shortened URLs as you want with no restrictions on monthly visitors or storage space. It works the same way as most other URL shorteners, too: Simply type in your long link and choose a name for your branded address. You can also use it to manage multiple accounts from one place if different people need to shorten links with the same name. A business plan exists at $20 per month if you need more than 10,000 active links and 1GB of storage, but it isn't necessary unless your company is doing a lot of online marketing work that involves sharing links.
Rebrandly is unique among the URL shorteners on our list because it doesn't want to just shorten links; it wants to give your brand more visibility online. The free plan allows you five custom domain names that can be used with Rebrandly's service, or you can upgrade to the paid version for unlimited domains and features like click tracking, bulk management tools and code insertion. All told, Rebrandly might not provide as many features as its competitors, but if your main goal is to promote your brand through a shortened link in a huge variety of places online, then this app may be worth your most attention.
If Rebrandly is more focused on promoting your brand, Bitly is about making sharing easier. The interface is clean and easy to use, even for users who are new to URL shorteners. You can shorten links through Bitly's website or plug-in for major web browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox; the latter saves you from digging up a bookmarklet link. SnipURL offers similar browser extensions but also works as a redirect service where people who visit one of your shortened links are automatically redirected to its final destination. This might be useful if you want to avoid cluttering social media with redirects that take up characters in posts or tweets without sacrificing control over what happens next.
Alternatively, Bitly allows you to easily share your links on social media or through email. You can also use it to generate QR codes, create shortened URLs that are only active for a certain period of time and monitor clicks with detailed analytics. There's even an option to encrypt links so they can't be tracked by anyone but you. If you need more than 10,000 monthly visitors and 500MB of storage space, Bitly offers business plans starting at $20 per month.
UrlBase is another free option for URL shorteners with no restrictions on the number of users or how many links you can create each month; however, it does place ads along with the link-creation interface. It works just like most other URL shortener apps: Type in your long link and choose a name for your branded link. The free version limits you to five custom URLs, but there's also a premium option that costs $24.99 per year and allows unlimited domain names with no advertisements.
If you need an app to shorten links rather than manage them, go with Bitly. It offers the best combination of ease of use and options in our roundup, making it one of the best URL shortener apps on the market today. While Rebrandly is only useful if you're interested in using custom domains for each shortened link created through its service, UrlBase is a good choice if you don't mind ads in exchange for a free URL shortener app that works well both as a website interface and browser plugin.
When it comes to creating branded short URLs, Bitly is the undisputed champion of URL shortener apps. It's easy to use and can manage all your shortened links from one place while providing detailed analytics for each link you create. While Rebrandly is a good choice if you want to promote your brand online in a way that makes customizing and sharing links simple, UrlBase works well as a free alternative with no restrictions on how many users or links you can create each month.
Be prepared to see ads in exchange for your free use, though.
Author Samuel Scott
URL Shortening is a method of converting a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) from a long address that would not fit in the space available to a shorter one. This helps to avoid multiple redirects when sending an email or posting in online forums, and is sometimes used with web addresses for this reason. Most sites have limits on how short URLs can be - usually between 4 and 40 characters. Bitly offers the widest range of shortened URLs lengths out of all URL shortener app services, allowing you to customize contact links up to 55 characters each (including .). Rebrandly limits you to five
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