Update: Starting March 30, 2018, support for goo.gl URL shortener will be turned down. From April 13, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the goo.gl console. You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019. Previously created links will continue to redirect to their intended destination. Please see this blog post for more details.
Here are the alternatives to Google URL shortener
Generally, URL shortening doesn’t get front page coverage in most marketing blogs, and it is considered a secondary activity that needs to be passively pursued. There is an element of truth to that, but it is important to know how to use a link shortener to your benefit.
In this guide, I have covered everything you need to know about the Google URL Shortener service (which is free) & why digital marketers are such fans of URL shortener services.
Why a link shortener?
URLs are clunky and sometimes downright ugly. They don’t make a lot of sense for readers, and they destroy the aesthetics of everything. Most importantly, having a large URL doesn’t add value to anyone.
Using a link shortener is needed because it’s better when the URLs are smaller and take up less space.
A big thanks to Twitter for their 280 character limit that has made it essential for us to keep using link shorteners.
About Google URL Shortener
There are quite a few URL shorteners out there and one of the best happens to be from Google. Google URL Shortener is a simple service that lets you shorten your URLs and also track their clicks.
How to start using Google URL Shortener
Here’s what you need to do:
- After you’ve published your article, get the URL.
- Go to Google URL Shortener.
- Paste your URL in the field, confirm you aren’t a robot, and click on Shorten URL.
- You’ll get a popup box with the shortened URL and details of your article with a ‘See analytics data’ option.
- Click Done.
- You’ll see a page with the following details (a mini analytics page for your article):
- Number of clicks
- Traffic sources
Bear in mind, for a new article, you will not have any data.
- You will also see all of your previous links you’ve shortened that are connected to your account in the main Google URL Shortener page.
Usage & Benefits of Using Google URL Shortener
- 1. Using a shortened URL in an email:
A lot of emails contain long links that are unwieldy and difficult to read.
Here’s an example of an ugly URL in an email:
It is completely unnecessary to have such a long URL, which is spread over two lines. It just looks bad. The objective of emails is to be short and communicate the message clearly.
- 2. Using a shortened URL for offline marketing:
Another great example of using a shortened URL is in offline marketing. If you are printing posters or if you take out a small ad in a newspaper, it’s a good idea to put a short URL in there. These URLs are easy to remember and take up less space.
However, do ensure that you directly use Google URL Shortener to shorten your affiliate links. Double redirection links are usually flagged & you end up losing money. My suggestion for you is to set up your own URL shortener service using GoDaddy for affiliate links or use link cloaking plugins for making your ugly affiliate links look pretty.
- 3. On social media:
This is an obvious one.
Using a shortened URL in your posts is a must. When you use a shortened URL, there is more space for writing out a detailed description of whatever service you’re marketing.
Also, the attention in the post should be taken by the content and not the URL.
An example of how a shortened URL is put to use on Twitter:
- 4. Using the analytics on a Google URL:
If you are a blogger, then you probably have multiple posts going out every month. Your blog posts are also the core of your business. If they don’t perform well, your blog won’t either.
Now, you could use Google Analytics to see if your posts are doing well, but it can be a cumbersome process in figuring how your content is doing.
A simple technique is to check all the posts for a particular month and compare them based on the clicks received and the referrer (i.e. where the traffic comes from). This a real-time report card of a blog’s performance. When I am lazy and don’t feel like using Google Analytics, this is my go-to strategy to find out if everything is going according to plan.
There you have it!
These are the benefits of using the Google URL Shortener.
Have you found an interesting way to use the Google URL shortener? If yes, let us know and we’ll add it to our article (with a reference to you)! Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Like this post? Share it with your friends!