What Can a URL Shortener Do?

What Can a URL Shortener Do?


Today, URL shorteners are everywhere. If you're like me, then at least once a day you post something to Facebook or Twitter with a shortened link included somewhere in the text so it's easier for people to read and follow along.

You probably already know that services like Bitly, TinyURL , WhentoLong , BlahURL , etc., all serve as url shorteners - but what exactly can these services do? Here's just a handful of pretty slick things you can do with your own custom URL shortener today using one of the many open source apache php applications currently available on the web.

Some of this information was difficult to find online (at least recent enough to still be relevant), so I've compiled some of the highlights here.


Wow, that's a lot to take in. There's a lot of information presented in this article about URL shorteners and what they can currently do. The first paragraph tells the reader that this is going to be a well-researched piece with lots of great information. It focuses on talking about how commonly used url shorteners are, however it quickly transitions into explaining why the author chose these services for their own personal use instead of other ones - also known as self promotion. This statement "What Can a URL Shortener Do?" brings up questions like "Why should I care?", "How could a url shortener benefit me?", or "What makes those services better than other ones?". These questions come up three times in the article, however they are never answered directly.

This first paragraph is written as one really long sentence, which only allows the reader to know what's happening without actually grabbing their attention. The author addresses social media services like Facebook and Twitter, but does not explain why these services are important or how using URL shorteners could affect or enhance them. This would be helpful information that should be included especially for people who may not already understand why url shorteners are useful tools for online communication channels like social networks.

The second paragraph talks about the author's personal use of different URL shortening services - again with no information on how these services could benefit others besides himself. It briefly touches on some reasons why someone else might want to use these services but does not explain what they are or why they would be helpful to others.

The third paragraph is where the information starts to get really messy and convoluted. First it talks about how you can use url shorteners to track traffic on your websites, however it does not explain anything about this process besides that you need a certain type of server and system administration skills. The second half of this paragraph explains that with some URL shortenings services (like bitly) you can create custom URLs with keywords in them and redirect visitors from those specific urls to whatever page you'd like. This statement also fails to mention when people could use this service, so I'm still left wondering who exactly would want to do something like this, and when would be the best time to use it.

The fourth paragraph continues on about how you can create custom shortened urls with keywords in them, but does not explain why this would be helpful or when someone could benefit from something like this. Instead it talks about other services (the ones that are mentioned throughout the entire article) and how they do not let people create custom URLs. It briefly touches upon how you used to be able to do this before these services were created, but skims over all of the benefits of doing so. This paragraph also says things like "one of many", which is another form of self promotion by saying one thing is included among a list instead of saying *and* . It ends by talking about email marketing campaigns again without telling the reader what each service can do to help with this.

The fifth paragraph goes through another list of URL shortening services, however it fails at making any real conclusion about which one is better or even different from the others. The author fails to include which services have been around the longest and why that could be important to potential users - if they had been around longer they must have something going for them, right? It also says you get "more value" for your money when using some services over others - but does not explain what that means or how exactly you get more/less value.

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