Twitter’s 140-character limit has forced the internet to get a little creative in how it shares links. You’ll likely have noticed that links on Twitter aren’t in your standard www.websitename.com/articlename format – instead, they’re shortened using URL shorteners to take up as little precious characters as possible. We’ve compiled a list of 5 great URL shorteners you can use to share your links on Twitter without worrying about going over the character limit (and 3 honorable mentions, too).
Here are my favorite five URL shorteners, in no particular order. These are among the most popular URL shorteners out there, and they offer features like stats, tracking, and integration with some of the most-used Twitter dashboards.
Bit.ly is the most popular and one of the oldest URL shorteners. It offers instant tracking, stats, and the ability to have vanity URLs that signify your brand (for example, we use mbist.ro for our parent company, Mediabistro).
Goo.gl is the official URL shortener from Google. It’s one of the newer URL shorteners on the block, but it’s becoming quite popular on Twitter. It allows you to track when your shortened URLs were created and how many clicks they’ve received.
This is the official HootSuite URL shortener, which can be used as a stand-alone shortener on the web, or while logged on to the HootSuite dashboard on the web or mobile.
This is the official TweetDeck URL shortener, which can be used on the TweetDeck desktop application, Android and Chrome (with support for iPhone and iPad forthcoming). Deck.ly allows you to write tweets longer than 140-characters and either display them within TweetDeck or link to them within another Twitter platform.
Su.pr is StumbleUpon’s official URL shortener. It allows you to syndicate content to StumbleUpon, Facebook and Twitter at the same time, suggests the best time of day to post, and allows you to schedule posts in the future.
The following 3 URL shorteners might not be ultra popular, but they deserve an honorable mention in this list for offering some innovative features (or just having a really cool name).
This URL shortener service offers an interesting proposition: make money by tweeting shortlinks. Although it does allow you to use its service without this, if you register, you can apparently earn money when people click on the links you shorten. We haven’t tried this out, but the idea is pretty neat.
This one gets points for a pretty cute name, but fur.ly also has a unique method of shortening links. It allows you to input multiple links at once and shortens them into a single URL. When clicked, a fur.ly link will bring you to a web page that shows each link in sequence.
This is just a bare-bones URL shortener, but with a twist: it’s super, super cute. If you want to smile every time you shorten a link, use moourl.
This isn’t the definitive list of URL shorteners, just some that deserve a mention. Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list?