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Best URL and Link Shorteners of 2021 (Paid and Free)

Optimizing links can be quite important for affiliate marketers. The shorter and more niche-specific a link is, the more likely users are to click on it if the link is relevant. Thus, it might be a great idea to take advantage of URL shorteners and adjust links to your business needs.

When use URL shorteners

There are many ways in which URL shorteners can come in handy. First, they help optimize your website for search engines and ensure a smooth reading experience for visitors. Second, they can provide you with analytics on your audience. Let’s explore their uses in more detail.

To improve SEO

Short and accurate URLs clearly indicate what the webpage is about, which is crucial for search engines and visitors. This can result in higher rankings on SERP. Also, shortening your link might be important:

  • On social media. Twitter restricts the number of characters for links. In YouTube descriptions, shorter links also provide a better user experience.
  • In audio podcasts. You can easily promote your link if it is easy to pronounce.
  • To hide affiliate markers. By default, affiliate links contain unique IDs that help affiliates track their clicks and sales. These IDs might arouse mistrust among cautious visitors, so shortening your links might be useful.
  • To collect analytics. The majority of affiliate tools provide marketers with statistics on link performance, including the number of clicks, ranking on the basis of date and time, location, device, etc. This data alone might have a positive impact on your product marketing. URL shorteners can also implement UTM parameters, as well as provide link branding and retargeting.

Best URL shorteners

The following list of URL shorteners includes various tools that can help you with link management. While some services are free to use, others charge a fee.

Bc.vc

This tool helps shorten links and can also help you earn money.

Each time a user clicks on the link, they will be shown an ad before the link loads. The advertiser matches the visitor’s country and you’ll be paid for every visitor that has viewed the ad.

Even though it seems like a great opportunity to earn money, make sure to promote your links so that an ad won’t distract them from visiting your website.

PROS CONS
The service is free. Requires registration to start shortening.
The shortened links have no expiration date. The platform might lack advertisers for certain regions. In this case, you won’t get money, but your link will still work.
You’ll get payouts every seven days. Because of ads, it doesn’t match serious business goals.
Low threshold for withdrawals ($10). No analytics.

bit.do

This simple, yet powerful tool allows for link shortening using the bit.do domain name (http://bit.do/12345). It’s also possible to customize the shortened link so that it includes your keyword (http://bit.do/yourpage).

With the paid subscription, you can create links with your own domain (e.g. yourbra.nd), as well as track and share them. For $85/month, it’s possible to shorten up to 30,000 links and access other premium features, such as real-time statistics and more.

PROS CONS
No authorization required. Password protection available with premium plans only.
Simple interface. Spam is possible, thus it’s necessary to use other services to check where the link redirects.
Easy management of links once you’ve made an account. Real-time stats, including geo-location are available with the premium plan only.
No ads.
Shortened links never expire.

bitly.com

With this custom URL shortener, you can shorten up to 1,000 links per month for free. The number of clicks is unlimited.

The plan includes 50 custom links with your own keyword at the end (for example, bit.ly/yourpage), posting on Twitter, and 30-day link performance overview. It is available for one user only.

For $29/month, you can create up to 1,500 branded links (yourbra.nd/12345) and 1,500 custom back-half links, access all custom domain essentials (such as free custom domain), export data, and more.

PROS CONS
Registration not required to create the necessary number of short links. Free links include the bitly domain name: https://bit.ly/329aR04
Integration with marketing tools. No group link management.
All metrics are displayed on a comprehensive dashboard. Personal manager for paid account owners.

CUTT.US

This is another free, simple tool for shortening your links.

You can use the Cutt.us link (e.g. cutt.us/7zP9w) or type the suffix manually (e.g. cutt.us/yourpage).

PROS CONS
No need to set up an account. No stats or analytics features.
SSL Certificate protects your data. Sometimes, blockers stop the website from loading since they identify it as a phishing webpage.
Available in English, French, and Arabic.

is.gd

This is a free, functional, and user-friendly tool.

Users can shorten links and track their click-through-rate. Stats are displayed as graphs. You can work with this software in API mode. In addition, it’s possible to access your link via a QR code.

When shortening the link, you can use a custom link suffix or choose among standard (https://is.gd/cU8MoO), lower case (https://is.gd/fsbvjk), or lowercase pronounceable suffixes (https://is.gd/asonol).

PROS CONS
Fast and simple service. Branded links are not available.
Links do not expire. No dashboard to see analytics. You must enable the auto preview option or visit each link separately to see the stats.
You can use a custom link suffix.
Statistics available for free and without registration.

Ow.ly

Ow.ly is a sophisticated software option that requires you to set up a free Hootsuite account to start.

You can create links with the Ow.ly domain or custom branded URLs with a paid plan. The analytics include referral sources, number of clicks, and location.

PROS CONS
High level of security. The service is available only through the Hootsuite dashboard.
The shortened links are indexable and fully redirectable. Custom solutions (branded URLs, CSV and PDF reports, detailed stats) are only available through the paid plan.
You can track clicks from various sources, including Facebook, newsletters, comments, and micro-sites.

Polr

It’s an open-source licensed web application with a robust API.

Users can host their own URL shortener, brand their URLs and keep their data under control.

To start using the app, you need to install it on your computer. Here is a Polr demo.

PROS CONS
The software is free. No analytics and tools, except for brand control and URL cutting.
It’s possible to test out the demo version. You need to install the program to begin.
Upon installation, you can customize shortening permissions. Coding skills are an asset to use this tool.

Rebrandly

This custom link shortener offers users the ability to rebrand and manage links, as well as share them on social media or in print. The software also provides detailed analytics.

Rebrandly allows for over 100 integrations and offers full support that even includes direct training.

You can create 500 branded links with five custom domain names and track 5,000 clicks/month for free. The premium subscription starts at $29/month.

PROS CONS
No registration required. Free account offers limited analytics.
Rebrandly claims to offer the most advanced features on the market. You cannot customize links without registration.
Multiple pricing options.

TinyURL

TinyURL allows you to shorten your links and customize your aliases. No registration is required.

It’s a reputable service with a 15-year expertise.

PROS CONS
It’s free and no registration is required. No stats are provided.
The TinyURL toolbar helps shorten the link for the page you are currently visiting. The interface is rather outdated.

u.to

This simple tool allows you to shorten and track any URL. Upon registration, you can access statistics, including geo location and browser type.

However, those stats are only available to registered users.

PROS CONS
It’s completely free. Overwhelming registration.
It can be integrated with the uCoz web hosting and content management tool. No branded links.
Detailed analytics available.

URL Shortener by MyThemeShop

This free WordPress plugin is powered by MyThemeShop and can be used to create short URLs.

You can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard and use it to shorten your blog’s links as well as external URLs.

It should be noted that your link will not be branded and will look as follows: mythemeshor.com/yourpage.

This tool is especially useful to affiliates who need to hide their ID or automatically link certain keywords to short URLs.

PROS CONS
It’s easy to use and free. The stats include only the number of clicks on each link.
Three types of redirection are provided (302 Temporary, 307 Temporary, and 301 Permanent). Branded links are not available.
It’s possible to create “no-follow” links.
You can automatically link keywords in all your posts using short URLs.

How to choose a URL shortener

To choose the appropriate URL shortening service, it’s crucial to consider the number of links and amount of traffic you’re going to generate. You can make a link tiny for free with almost any of the aforementioned services, but only some of them offer branded URLs and click tracking. Ensure that you make your choice based on the needs of your business.

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