URL shortening has been around for more than a decade now. What started initially as a way to squeeze in more information on social media has found more and more use cases in the marketing circles.
There are plenty of generic URL shorteners in the market that offer quick link shortening tools but, most often than not, they have been exploited by spammers to hide original links. I personally know a couple of URL shorteners that shut down operations due to their inability to fight spam.
On the positive side though, there is a recent trend to shorten links using a custom URL shortener that let you add your own domain. Branded domains are a great way to expand your reach and are being extensively used by some of the top companies like The New York Times, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company etc.
Like I said before, it is a good idea to stop using generic link shortener if you do not want to be seen as spam. Getting a new domain for your brand is easy and cost-effective.
You could either pick a similar sounding domain or create a subdomain out of the existing primary domain(for instance, blog.example.com). I recommend using the former since it is concise and easy to read. The domain does not necessarily have to be a “.com” TLD. There are plenty of options for consideration. New York Times uses http://nyti.ms to crunch their links.
To give an example of how custom domains increase trust, which link from CNN are you likely to click?
cnn.it/3aa4xd7 or shorturl.at/oKMRY
I bet the first one since it is quite apparent that the link belongs to CNN and will take you to their site.
While you could still use a generic link to track clicks, services that offer custom URL shorteners usually have in-depth tracking for branded links. Not only can you track clicks but also things like kind of devices used, the country where the link was clicked, source of traffic, operating system etc.
The in-depth analytics help you understand your audience and plan your content better.
While you may argue that you already have Google analytics installed for tracking links, the fact is that having additional information is still useful for a variety of reasons like – not everybody in your organization may have access to Google analytics or, sometimes it may be the case that you like to share a link that does not have any tracking. For example, the Movistar team (one of our customer) uses a single custom domain to share links from multiple sites. This allows them to aggregate analytics on a single dashboard to visualise the growth of their audience.
3. Readable Links
Long links are hard to read and context is not clear right away. Short custom links on the other hand instantly convey intention and are easy to grasp.
Website URLs are not really made for a human – most often authors or website owners tweak the URLs for SEO or have them organized by date. This leaves with a really long URL that makes little sense. The Movistar team customizes all their URLs to make them more meaningful for their audience when they share links on social media. Check out their Twitter account for more details.
These are just some of the reasons to start customizing your links and if you are convinced that you need a platform for your links then, do check out our service BLANQ – a custom URL shortener which is a beautiful, easy to use platform that offers in-depth analytics and supports custom domains.
Go to Blanq