Best Practice: Create Your Own Link Shortener to Share Content

By Minal Bopaiah

Most of us are familiar with free link shortening services, like bit.ly and tinyURL. Link shorteners can be an easy way to condense URLs for social media and even email marketing.

But is it rely on free services?

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In this week’s Members-Only How-To, we outline 3 advantages to using link shorteners, as well as six potential problems. For those who are unfamiliar with link shorteners, or URL shorteners, they are a tech innovation that converts a long, unwieldy URL into a shorter one that still directs to the same page.

Ultimately, we recommend subscription sites create their own link shortener in-house, which is remarkably easy for most IT staff.

However, if you’re disinclined to build your own in-house solution, we review four of the most popular vendors, weighing the pros and cons of each service. For example, bit.ly’s enterprise package has a feature that converts any of your long URLs to your branded shortlink, even when other people outside your company use bit.ly to condense your URL. Pretty cool. huh?

Of course, this costs money. And not all money is well spend when it comes to link shorteners. We know one vendor whose shortlinks only seem to work via social media, not other distribution channels, like email.

Do you have a favorite URL shortener for your free and premium content? Which one and why?