URL shortening services shrink normal URLs into a link that is, well.. shorter!
For example, using Su.pr I can shrink the following URL:
.. which saves a lot space especially when posting to micro-blogging services such as Twitter.
Over the past couple of years there has been an increase in the number URL shorteners, most of which have come about due to the rise in popularity of Twitter. The most popular shortened today is bit.ly, which Twitter itself has adopted as its default shortening service.
To get an idea of how many of the current URL shorteners are around today, see Mike Koss’s post.
A lot of the established shortening services like bit.ly also provide statistics including – number of clicks for each URL, referrers, locations of users who have clicked, etc. Su.pr has quite a thorough statistical package as well.
Some form of statistical analysis now seems to be the norm with today’s shortening services.. but that is where they all fall short.
My preferred URL shortener
The reason I particularly like Su.pr and wherever possible try to use it, is because Su.pr is the only URL shortened that also helps your content get discovered.
If you post a Su.pr URL on Facebook or Twitter, it will obviously be seen by friends and users of those platforms.. but the real power of Su.pr is that every URL, also exposes your content to StumbleUpon’s nearly 8 million users!
Su.pr also identifies the optimal times to post (highest traffic potential) and schedule as many posts as you like.. and with one -click post to Twitter & Facebook,
You can also track the performance of your posts in real-time. View your traffic, clicks, referrers, Stumbles, and retweets all in 1 place,
Setting up Su.pr
I have previously covered how to setup your Su.pr account in my post StumbleUpon Guide to Discovering New Sites.
This guide also covers how to automatically post Su.pr links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Exposing your content to StumbleUpon’s 8 million users
Here is where Su.pr has incredible power.
I am going to enter a (full sized) link back to my blog.. and post it to my Twitter account,
When I log into my Twitter account, you can see my full sized link has now been shortened, and is now visible to everyone on Twitter,
When someone comes along and clicks on this Su.pr link, not only will they be redirected back to wherever it is pointing to (in this case my blog).. but StumbleUpon’s web toolbar will be visible at the top of the page,
If this particular visitor is one of the 8 million StumbleUpon users, and they particularly like your content.. they will thumb it up,
And the more thumbs up you get.. the more weight this has within StumbleUpon as its users will see that it is a popular post, and also want to visit and see for themselves your post,
Which also creates another channel of traffic.. and we all know what happens when a post of yours gets discovered,
As you can see StumbleUpon’s URL shortened Su.pr, does a good job at shortening links.. but does an even better job at exposing your content to all its members.
A powerful tool indeed!