5 Fantastic URL Shorteners

Posted January 13, 2014 | Laura Christianson

Have you ever received an email with a super-long link in it—a link so long it was unclickable? I certainly have.

Enter the amazing URL shrinker, a handy tool that shortens lengthy URLs (web addresses) to 25 or so characters.

U is for URL ShortenersPros

There are several good uses for URL shinkers:

Twitter: Twitter allows 140 characters per tweet. Since most tweeters refer their followers to new blog posts, it makes sense to compress links to posts.

E-newsletters: Many services require you to write out the entire URL to sites you’re linking to. Compress the URL, and you’ve got a nice, clean-looking address that doesn’t scare people away.

Affiliate links: These links are usually dozens of characters long. Some people use link shorteners to get rid of all those extra characters and/or disguise the fact that they’re sending people to an affiliate link (we believe it’s wise to be above-board about disclosing affiliate links).

Click this image to download your free checklist that includes EVERYTHING you need to do prior to publishing a blog post! Or simply text PREPUB to 44222!


The downside to most URL shorteners is that they replace the originating website’s domain name with their own company name. For example, here’s a link to one of our articles that we shrank, using TinyURL.com:

Original (84 characters):


TinyURL version of the same link (26 characters):


With some services, however, you can customize your short URLs. Bitly.com, for example, gives you the option to create a custom short domain for personal or business use. (See Bitly’s Advanced Settings for instructions.)

Shrink Those Links!

These services are free, and for most you do not have to register.

5 Fantastic URL Shorteners

1.  bitly

Bitly is the compressor we use most. Not only does if have an attractive, easy to use interface, but you can track your links and see statistics like which of your links have been clicked. Bitly can also create QR codes and has a browser extension for Chrome, which means you can create a shortlink with the click of a button.

2.  TinyURL.com

TinyURL also has a one-click link compressor browser extension, but unlike bitly, TinyURL’s extension is compatible with any browser. You can also create a custom alias (URL) if it’s available, allowing you to have a say in what the finished URL shortlink looks like. Another cool feature is the pop up preview, which lets your readers see a preview of the original URL when they hover over the link.

3.  is.gd

is.gd (think “is good”) is a basic URL compressor, but offers a neat feature: pronounceable shortlinks. The algorithm behind the URL creation doesn’t necessary create real words, but they are at least pronounceable and therefore more memorable. Is.gd also offers QR code creation at the click of a button.

4.  goo.gl

In true Google fashion, goo.gl is a simple, efficient link shortener. Links are easy to create, and the “Details” page provides a QR code and stats of your link’s clicks. A Chrome browser extension is also available.

5.  su.pr

Su.pr is a top-rated compression service from the people behind StumbleUpon. Su.pr tracks the click-through rates of your shortened links and makes suggestions for the best time to post based on your history. Su.pr links have the added benefit of gaining exposure on the StumbleUpon platform, but you do need to create a free account with StumbleUpon to use su.pr.

Try it.

  1. Click this post’s headline to get its permanent URL. If you’re feeling lazy, the URL is https://bloggingbistro.com/5-fantastic-url-shorteners/
  2. Choose a service from the list and shrink the URL.
  3. Write your own Facebook update or tweet, linking your readers to this post using the compressed URL.
  4. Let us know which service you like best.

Tweet it!

Here’s a ready-made tweet so you can share what you just learned:

[Tweet “5 fantastic URL shorteners reviewed”]


Return to Posts

14 responses to “5 Fantastic URL Shorteners”

  1. jcra5 says:

    Can anyone recommend a service that allows you to redirect the link based on geography? i.e. direct US customers to a .com site and UK customers to a .co.uk. I tried to use smartURL but it doesn’t allow GA tracking to be added to the links.

  2. Forgot to mention ow.ly. It’s one of the url shortener options I used in hootsuite. 🙂

  3. I use HootSuite, too, and ow.ly is their custom shortener. We didn’t cover that one in our article because we believe that you have to be a HootSuite user to use ow.ly.

  4. I use HootSuite, too, and ow.ly is their custom shortener. We didn’t cover that one in our article because we believe that you have to be a HootSuite user to use ow.ly.

  5. Thanks for sharing this one, Kris. It looks simple and straightforward.

  6. […] As for shortening URLs, we like to use bitly because bitly tracks the statistics of the shortened link, including how many people have clicked it. Check out our tutorial on shortening links. […]

  7. Arjun says:

    Is there anyway to create multiple short links for the same URL on bit.ly? I know i can do it on goo.gl, but i cant customise the URL and i like the bit.ly ‘stats’ interface better.

  8. I’m not sure, Arjun. Just curious… what are you using multiple short links for? Are you running a campaign using variations of a landing page?

  9. rogerspurzem says:

    Is there a service besides Bitly that allows you to use a custom short domain to create shortened customized (“branded”) URLs?

  10. Joseph Avellino says:

    Bitly has a nice iOS app as well. Do any of these other services have iOS apps or is everything done via browser?

    Also, Bitly and Google do not let you delete a tiny URL ever ever. Do any of the other services allow for the deletion of the tiny URLs they create?

  11. […] tracks the statistics of the shortened link, including how many people have clicked it. Check out our tutorial on shortening links. I usually skip the “Title” form field because I prefer to use an icon rather than text to […]

  12. […] Which brings me to one more point about creating a tweet with a curated link: the link itself! When posting links on Twitter, you will want to give yourself the most room possible to write your tweet and hashtag. Twitter does shorten links, but if you need more room or want to track link clicks, use a link shortening service. […]

  13. cosmin says:

    Here http://urlshortening.blogspot.comt/ you’ll find an Updated List of URL Shortener that let you Add/Delete Location, Geotargeting with Tracking feature, Statistics, QR Code Generator. Create Password Protected URL, Expiry Time Download/Access Links, Geotargeted shorten url. Hope that helped you……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *