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Many tools and applications allow you to share content or access pages via a link. Below are a list of scenarios where you may wish to shorten a URL; resources for shortening URLs are also included.
Example of a URL shortened:
The URL: http://www.uwgb.edu/univcomm/toolkit/downloads/files/logos/png/UWGB_stack-PMS343c.png links to a PNG images of the UWGB phoenix logo. To share this link, we might prefer to send: http://tinyurl.com/UWGBpng or http://bit.ly/2cWnsg3
Scenarios where a shorter URL would be useful:
- Sending guests the link to a recorded Blackboard Ultra session
- Sharing a Qualtrics survey link
- Linking to long-URL documents (such as journal articles) within documents (especially HTML documents)
- Tweeting with a URL - Since Twitter limits tweets to 280 characters, it automatically shortens URLs and only includes the shortened version in your character count.
- For print publications / contact pages
- Many others
Sites that shorten URLs:
|bit.ly||Bare-bones shortener with an enterprise option|
|tinyurl.com||Allows you to choose a URL you can remember|
|goo.gl||Allows you to go back and track the number of clicks your new link gets|
|ow.ly||Pairs with "Hootsuite" for social media analytics
- Short URLs are great for print since they're easier to type in by hand. Similarly, short URLs are more mobile friendly. That said, an alternative to even a short URL is the QR code.
- Be careful of shortened links. If you don't trust the sender or the source, do some investigation into the links actual location before clicking. Spammers often hide their pages behind shortened URLs. You can investigate the destination of a link at: http://wheredoesthislinkgo.com/
- If the URL is long but sensible, it my be better than a shortened version. example.edu/department/instructor/courses is often easier to remember than a short URL of random characters.
- A shortened URL can add a layer of potential failure. If sharing the same link over and over, it pays to check it for consistency over time. Some shorteners only keep an "abandoned" short link redirect for a certain amount of time.