In the world of digital branding today, the URL has become the name and face of each and every company. That’s why online businesses are breaking their backs to shorten URLs thanks to the immense benefits that come with you know; having a less lengthy representation of your brand online. Boy, has it become the ‘hip’ thing today to hook potential customers! In fact, URL shortening has been highly popularized thanks to Twitter (who by the way still treat each and every link as 23 characters regardless of how long it is!).
Funny enough, the desire for URL shortening has evolved so much so these days that it’s not nly about shortening anymore. Yep, you heard us. In fact, here are a number of reasons why online businesses are shortening their URLs;
- To improve link branding.
- To enable embedding of UTM parameters with the use of a URL Builder.
- To ease the complexity of link tracking as well as analytics
- To spearhead link retargeting with efficiency.
Another important aspect that each and every URL shortener needs to adhere to is be fast and reliable. That’s why it’s advisable for businesses not to use their own domain or hosting when it comes to URL shorteners. Why do we say so? Because it’s vital that your links be up and running all the time; and you know there’s always that proverbial website downtime right?
Now that we have laid down the particulars of URL shortening, we’re going to have a look at some of the best URL shorteners out there. Buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Along the way, we’ll discuss some aspects you’ll probably adore, and others you probably won’t be so jovial about! But after balancing out these pros and cons, you’ll definitely find the most suitable URL shortener out there for you. So without further ado, let’s get started!
How will we be comparing and rating each of these URL shorteners?
There are some important factors that need to be considered before making a selection of the finest URLs shortening tools. And we bet your sweet behind that these will be the bases of your selection as well. In fact, let’s take a look at them, shall we?
If the price is right, then you’ll definitely be up for it. So we’ll be discussing how much dough you’ll be coughing up for each of these tools, and whether some of them have freebies or not!
What do they bring to the table in terms of their features? And do these features satiate each and every one of your desires? Plus how can they help you take your business to the next level?
How is the design and flow of the tool? Is it suitable for your everyday use?
Do they make it easy for you to tweak your own domains as well as brand short links? If so, then great!
Top 7 Best URL Shorteners
So ladies and gentlemen, let’s not beat around the bush anymore. Without further ado, here is our tasty delight of the top 7 url shorteners you’ve definitely got to check out!
This freebie is for all the beginners out there and is pretty simple to use. All you need to do is log in using your Google account, then proceed to the URL shortener website, and paste your long URL and voila! It automatically gets shortened. You can also track your analytics and get to understand your audience. Apart from that, there’s not much to write home about. All in all, it’s a great tool for beginners and novice digital marketers.
First on our list is YOURLS, an open-source do it yourself tool that is great, but definitely won’t be the answer for at least 90% of people reading this! However, when it comes to URL shortening, unless you are a guru, then it’s not wise to go the lone ranger (which is exactly what this tool plays with). But hey, you could have your reasons right? Perhaps you don’t want other people checking out your info or data. Or maybe you’re doing you own thing in terms of coding and maintaining your personal web server. If that’s the case, then this is your bread and butter! Let’s take a look at some of the spicy features this baby brings to the table;
Here are some of its features
- Link Privacy availability? Yes
- Presence of Integrations? One plugin, website code base for one plugin
- UTM builder? No
- Feature of custom URL slug? Yes
- Can purchase custom domain? No
- Ability to connect to a custom domain? Yes
- Presence of tags? No
- Presence of a link analytics dashboard? Yes
- Ability to change destination URL? Yes
When it comes to the price, the fact that the tool is open-source makes it quite the pocket-friendly endeavor if you ask us! The only shortcoming is that the accompaniment of limited features makes it a task for you to find the servers, then go through the vigorous process of setting them up. Tiresome right? Only great thing is that you don’t ever have to pay anyone even a dime to shorten the links!
If you’re not a coder, then it will be like learning a new language. It’s practically impossible for the average Joe to familiarize themselves with the UI. Not recommended if you are not a coder because of little headaches such as these!
In terms of link branding, it’s pretty great because it is designed to assist you kick start your own branded domain. However, you should know that it’s not a walk in the park to purchase and further connect it!
For those guys looking to drive traffic to their website, then Sniply is definitely where you should be focusing all your attention towards! You can do everything from building an effective email list to pushing some additional traffic your way. We can confidently say that it’s a match made in heaven for small online businesses and startups looking to gain traction!
One of the things you’ll notice once you get started with Sniply is that its interface is akin to that of a regular website, but what you are really being shown is Snipy in an iFrame setup with the addition of a form on the bottom that instructs one to Join My List or in other instances to Check out this related post.
However, speaking from the heart, this type of strategy is being phased out today and we can safely say that if you intend to use this tool, then you won’t be enjoying the user interface as much. Heck, and as the golden rule goes, if it’s bad for the user experience, then it’s not going to be around for so long. So let’s get into the specs shall we?
- URL destination changer? No
- Custom Domain purchaser? $79/month
- Tags? No
- URL custom slug? $149/month
- Dashboard for link analytics? yes
- Link privacy? yes
Now, onto the pricing, we hope some of you don’t bat an eye, but we think the prices are somewhat fair depending on all the features. There are different premiums that you opt to go for:
Basic- At $29/month, you get
- 5000 clicks a month
- 2 Sniply Brands
- 1 Team Member
- Customizable colors
- Multiple Sniply brands
Pro- The most popular at $79/month, here’s what you’ll be getting
- 20,000 clicks a month
- 6 Sniply brands
- 3 team members
- Invite Team Members
- A/B testing
Business- Coming in at $149/month
- 50,000 clicks a month
- 10 Sniply Brands
- 5 Team members
- Custom URL
- Hide Sniply Logo
Generally, Sniply is for online marketers who would love to increase their conversions and traffic, but at the same time having a commanding social media presence. However, we can’t really say that their URL shortener is something worth writing home about compared to their other features. The choice is really yours…
Third on our list is Branch.io. Heard of this URL shortener? If so, then boy, you’ve really done your homework! The company behind the tool, Branch, is an analytics company that focuses on deep links and improving mobile app attribution. So if you have plans of creating a mobile app, or already have one up and running, then this is definitely one for you.
One thing you have to know is that their deep link features as well as analytics are free. On the downside, the advanced premium solutions will be dipping into your pocket.
- UTM Builder? No
- URL destination changer? Yes
- Custom Domain connection? Yes
- URL Slug customization? Yes
- Link privacy? Yes
You can use their products free for the first 2 weeks as they offer a 2 week free trial, and will later charge you depending on the number of monthly visitors you get as well as your events and clicks.
When it comes to the user interface, we recommend this baby for tap developers, data-driven marketers as well as data analysts whose lifeline depends on large user base apps.
Sadly, in terms of ease of use, it’s not a walk in the park for everyone. Some of the newbies out there may probably quit before they can enjoy the immense benefits that it brings. In fact, it can be a pretty neat and handy tool once you get the grasp of it!
In terms of link branding, you can get to connect to your own domain, and they also give you the chance to use sub-domain branding when using their URL shortener domain. So for the price, it’s a pretty great save, don’t you think?
Next on our list is Bitly. Folks, we know you’re wondering how in the heck Bitly got the third rank, but honestly, they let us down in terms of pricing. It’s hella expensive! And what makes it worse is that their free product is really limited; so you bet you won’t be getting much out of it!.
In fact, for being the market leader when it comes to URL shortening, (in fact, they have a 10* lead way above ClickMeter or any of its other competitors), their price makes it nearly impossible to meet for the average Internet Joe.
- Link Privacy? No
- Integrations? Yes
- Custom Domain Purchaser? No
- URL Destination Changer? No
- URL Slug Customization? Yes
- Link analytics dashboard-Yes (though it’s rather basic unless you are going for the Enterprise mode)
Oh God, let’s not even go into the price. It’s absurd. There’s a free version (which is really limited btw) then you move onto the Startup that’s a whopping $500 a month. And then there’s Growth which is $1000 a month. Their price is nearly 10 times higher than those of other shorteners on the list. However, if you have the money, you’ll definitely enjoy the immense benefits that come with going premium!
If you’re going to access the market leaders, then prepare to get blown away with their proven technology. In fact, if you happen to be part of a mega digital team that’s part of a corporate company. Then Bitly is one place you should be looking towards.
In fact, you can shorten links free of charge without the hassle of subscribing and you can even study analytics in 30 days.
When it comes to link branding, you can connect you own domain and have as much as 500 monthly links free of charge before eventually having to pay. The only downside is that you can’t purchase domains or even connect to them automatically!
Affiliated with Rebrandly, ClickMeter is an awesome tool for the likes of affiliate marketers, as well as enterprise companies looking to be a bit more technical.
The great thing about them is that they offer conversion tracking which is a unique feature that most URL shorteners are not employing.
- Custom Domain purchaser? Yes
- Destination URL changer? Yes
- Tags? yes
- Links analytics dashboard? Yes
- URL Slug Customization? yes
- Link Privacy? Yes
There are three main packages which are Medium ($29/month), Large ($99/month) and X-Large ($349/month) according to your budget.
User Interface- They have a great interface though it has it shortcomings especially if you’re not tech savvy. In terms of link branding, you have the option to connect your domain to a URL shortener. So we can confidently say that’s an upside!
Consider this the most perfect URL shortener out there! In fact, you can further get an anti-adblocker, interstitial ads, as well as monetized campaign management.
- Link privacy?
- Custom Domain Connector
- URL Slug Customization
- Custom Domain Purchaser
- UTM Builder
This tool gives you the opportunity to try out a free 14 day trial before going for their pricing tiers. The great thing is that they’ve got reasonable prices compared to other companies. The only downside is that you’ve got to pay $70/month for the UTM builder which is pretty much free with other companies.
Made for heavy usage marketers, this tool is centered on link branding as well as link monetization. You can even purchase and connect a branded domain!
With that being said, we hope that 2018 is the year you finally settle on a great URL shortening tool. Don’t you think it’s time you took your online business to the next level? Choose wisely and ensure you selection meets each and every one of your marketing needs!