About shortened URLs

Overview of shortened URLs

First, let’s have a quick look at shortened URLs and how they work.

What is a shortened URL?

A shortened URL is a URL that has been processed to compress the string of characters.

For example, the URL for “New York City” in Google’s map function is quite long if it is a regular URL.
If the above URL is shortened, it becomes much shorter.

Although the two URLs above have different strings, they are URLs that point to the same page.

How shortened URLs work

In order to understand shortened URLs, you need to know about URLs.

A shortened URL can be issued by registering the information of a regular URL to the server of a “shortened URL issuing service”. The shortened URL and the legitimate URL will be linked in the server of the shortened URL issuing service.

When you search for a shortened URL, you will first go through the shortened URL issuing service and request information on the legitimate URL. After reaching the legitimate URL, you will be taken to the desired web page using the same path I described earlier.

Between the shortened URL and the destination page, you will go through two servers.

Advantages of using shortened URLs

In this chapter, we will introduce the advantages of using shortened URLs. Knowing the benefits and cautions of shortened URLs, you can decide whether to use them or not.

You can maintain a clean layout regardless of the device.
Shortened URLs can be widely used in blog posts, newsletters, and social networking sites such as owned media.

Some URLs are very long, such as the Google Maps URL I mentioned earlier. If you paste a long URL without shortening it, the URL may fill up most of the screen.

Using shortened URLs will make the text you want your readers to read stand out.

Prevent broken links due to unexpected line breaks.

Some URLs have particularly long strings of text. Google Maps URLs and Amazon URLs, which I mentioned earlier, are typical examples.

URLs with long strings may contain unexpected line breaks. If the URL contains unexpected line breaks, it will not be recognized as a correct URL. If the URL is not recognized as a correct URL, it will be called a “broken link”. A broken link is a phenomenon in which, for some reason, even if you click on the URL, you cannot access the destination web page.

In order to prevent broken links, use shortened URLs when attaching URLs with long strings of text.

Some shortened URL publishing services allow you to track the number of clicks.

Some shortened URL publishing services allow you to track the number of clicks on your URL. As mentioned in the previous section, shortened URLs pass through the database of the URL publisher to reach the desired link destination. Some shortened URL issuing services record the history of users passing through the database. Hence, the number of clicks can be visualized.

Shortened URL publishing services make it easy to generate shortened URLs, but there are some caveats. In this chapter, we will introduce some cautions when using shortened URLs.

Shortened URLs are likely to make users wary

Shortened URLs are not always easy for searchers to identify, so they may be wary of them. If you cannot check the information on the link before opening it, you will not be able to distinguish it from a dangerous site.

In fact, shortened URLs are sometimes used in spam emails and phishing scams.

When using shortened URLs, it is a good idea to carefully describe the destination before and after the URL so that people will not be alarmed.

In addition, the shortened URL issuing service that I will introduce later will shorten the URL while displaying your company’s domain. If you can shorten the URL while displaying your company’s domain, you can emphasize that the destination is your company’s web page.

Shortened URLs increase the time it takes to display a web page

Shortened URLs tend to take a long time to display the web page. This is because shortened URLs go through a shortened URL server before reaching the desired URL.

Shortened URLs become inaccessible when the shortened URL service is terminated.

When the URL shortening service is terminated, the URL will become inaccessible and the link will be broken. All broken links will have to be rewritten.

Where you can use shortened URLs

As we have explained, shortened URLs have both advantages and cautions. In this section, we’ll introduce some situations where you can use shortened URLs, keeping in mind their advantages and cautions.

URLs in email newsletters

In general, email newsletters contain links that you want your readers to click on. If the URL in the newsletter is long and overwhelms the content, it will not look good. Readers will not click on the link.

Shortened URLs do not overwhelm the text. For an easy-to-read newsletter, use shortened URLs.

Facebook, Instagram, and other SNS

Many users view social networking sites on smartphones and other devices with small screens. On small screen devices, the longer the URL, the more you have to scroll repeatedly.

Use shortened URLs to create a screen structure that is easy to read.