Lee Odden

Social Media Marketing Tools: 11 Tools to Shorten URLS

11 url shorten

Update! We have a winner. Cli.gs received 26% (88) votes with budurl.com coming in a close second. Congratulations!

URL shortening services were initially popular because web addresses started to get long and links would break when sent in an email.   However, as microblogging services like Twitter have become popular, an increasing number of services and applications, including tracking & metrics, have been added to the basic URL shortening features.

Recently I polled followers of @leeodden on Twitter about favorite URL shortening services and received a great response. Thank you to all who responded! So many people replied that the following mini-review was created of 11 different URL shortening services showing which offer customization options, statistics, 301 redirect and some of the other unique services like export to CSV, bulk shortening and displaying ads to monetize the traffic to links that are shortened. Enjoy!

Service Customizable URL Tracking 301 Redirect Unique Features
Yes No Yes Toolbar button
Yes Yes Yes Stats are private, real time and very detailed, geotarget URLs based on country of visitor, bookmarklet.
Yes Yes Yes Bulk URL shortening, registration not required for stats, download stats to CSV, bookmarklet, “popular” links page
Yes Yes Yes Saves copy of page linked to, tracks “conversations”, Twitter search fo uses of shortened URL, bookmarklet, import to Google spreadsheets
twurl.nl (aka tweetburner)
No Yes No Most popular items linked in last hour, bookmarklet, built in to Twhirl
No No Yes Really bleeping short URLs, bookmarklet, Firefox plugin, built in to Twhirl
snipurl.com (aka Snurl Snipr Sn.im)
Yes Yes Yes Popular snips, snip search, RSS feed for snips, export to Excel, claim snips before you registered, edit snips
No Yes No Most POPular links, top domains, public stats, search, must register with Twitter account – boo
ad.vu (aka adjix)
No* Yes No Optional ads that share revenue, scheduled Tweeting, *use your own domain name as the link URLs, bookmarklet, option to use ad.vu
Yes Yes Yes Uses Twitter or identi.ca info for login, bookmarklet
Yes Yes* No** Detailed, real time stats (*if you upgrade) this is the only service with fees but there is a free version, **uses 307 redirect

I give an honorable mention to Minnesota based culld.us from Garrick Van Buren as well. Culld appears to work well with basic shortening features and is in cahoots with the Cullect feed aggregator.

There are others that were suggested like bloat.me and URL.ie but I wanted to keep this review to 11.  If you really need a URL shortening, truncating or redirecting service fix, then check out this bigger list at Mashable: 90+ URL Shortening Services.

There’s also a great study of URL shortening services in terms of use and popularity on the cli.gs blog.

I do have a feature request for these services though. A URL shortening service that also posts to Delicious and/or StumbleUpon would be nice. A URL worth shortening is also often worth bookmarking and it would be a nice time saver to do both. Just a thought.

Now that you have an idea of the different types of URL shortening or redirecting services, perhaps you’ve tried a few and have a favorite?   This leads us to our Reader Poll:

What is your favorite URL shortening service?

  • cli.gs (26%, 88 Votes)
  • budurl.com (20%, 70 Votes)
  • tinyurl.com (18%, 62 Votes)
  • zi.ma (12%, 42 Votes)
  • bit.ly (6%, 22 Votes)
  • is.gd (6%, 21 Votes)
  • adjix.com (4%, 13 Votes)
  • tr.im (3%, 9 Votes)
  • tweetburner (2%, 8 Votes)
  • snipurl.com (1%, 5 Votes)
  • poprl.com (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 343

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PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (15 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.