We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
79,021 News Articles

The 3 best URL shortening services

They do more than just save space

Twitter has been instrumental in increasing the popularity of URL shortening service, such as TinyURL. However, many offer more than just a shortening service. Here's our 3 favourite URL shortening services that offer more.

Twitter has been instrumental in increasing the popularity of URL shortening service, such as TinyURL.

After all, the help ensure users of the micro-blogging service can say what they want to and share URLs without exceeding the 140-character limit.

Simply copy a link, paste it, click, and you've got a URL to share with your Twitter followers. A URL shortener is a simple, no-frills tool.

Now though, URL shortening services are drawing a new crowd of users who aren't necessarily interested in just saving space on Twitter - users including bloggers curious about who's linking to their sites and businesses interested in tracking their social media efforts.

A number of URL shortening sites have added or are adding new features ranging from detailed analytics about who's clicking your links and geographically where they're coming from, to features that 'unmask' shortened URLs - so you know where a link will bring you before you click.

The tools also provide easier ways to shorten and Tweet, without leaving the web page you're viewing.

Here are our top three picks for URL shortening services that do more than save space.

Bit.ly

Sidebar bookmarklet
This browser add-on gives you quick access to shorten URLs; shows you personalised stats for your bit.ly links (such as how many people have clicked on a link); lets you Tweet directly from the sidebar without leaving the page you're on; and shows you in real-time who else is talking about this page on Twitter, FriendFeed and blog comments.

Browser extensions
Bit.ly also has browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome that expands bit.ly and many other short links so you can see to which site you'll be brought before clicking.

Access link data generated outside of Bit.ly
Twitter clients Tweetdeck, Twitterfeed and Seesmic let you enter your API Key so you can get personalised tracking data such as click totals and other information about you links.

Visit Bit.ly's dedicated web page for more information on how to do this.

NEXT PAGE: Cli.gs and Idek.net

  1. They do more than just save space
  2. Cli.gs and Idek.net

Follow PC Advisor at Twitter.com/PCAdvisor

Become a fan of PC Advisor at Facebook.com/PCAdvisor


IDG UK Sites

EE brings 4G LTE to Cornwall and a total of 21 new towns

IDG UK Sites

iOS 8 review: Hands on with the iOS 8 beta

IDG UK Sites

5 things Android Wear *can't* do: Smartwatch OS is great but not flawless

IDG UK Sites

Sharknado 2 VFX: how The Asylum created CG flying man-eating sharks