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Short URLs - The Many Benefits

If you have ever used Twitter - and these days, who hasn't? - you've certainly seen shortened URLs from services that make brief addresses out of long and unwieldy ones. These shorter URLs take up less space, which is very important on Twitter. A shorter URL results in more informative re-Tweets, because more of the message can be included without a long URL taking up space in a Tweet.

Short URLs are much better than long ones. It's so easy for a long URL to become corrupted when pasted into an e-mail, social media site, or forum that you risk frustrating the people you're trying to direct to a particular site. But if you use a shorter URL, the chances of it becoming corrupted when you're copying, cutting, and pasting, are less, meaning you can get the information to its target as efficiently as possible.

If you're using a URL shortening service, use one that is trustworthy, and check out your new, short addresses to be sure they are taking users to the proper site before posting. Of course, you should check out all regular length addresses too, because the longer the URL, the more likely there is to be a mistake made in transferring it from one party to another.

Many URL-shortening sites have other features that you'll like, too. They may offer perks like anti- virus scanning of links, the ability for users to earn commissions for clicks on shortened addresses, plug-ins for websites, and tracking statistics for shortened URLs. Some allow custom content to be put into shortened addresses, so you can have brief, yet informative links for your target audience.

Short web addresses can also be used in various search engine optimization techniques. For example, short URL services may use what are known as 301 redirects, which tell search engines that the short URL has moved permanently to the long address with which it is associated. Therefore, the search engines will credit those links to the long URL.

But with URL shorteners that use 302 redirects, the short URL is considered by the search engines to be temporary, and in these cases, link credit does not get passed on to the long URL.

So if you want links that you Tweet or otherwise share to generate link credit for a website, you should use link shorteners that use 301 redirects, and if you do not want those links to generate link credit for a website, choose a service that uses 302 redirects.

Some of the best URL whittling services will provide tracking statistics that give you anything from basic to extensive reporting that lets you analyze the traffic coming from short URLs.This data can be very valuable in analyzing a site's traffic data.

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