Thursday, July 30, 2009

How To Use Shorter Web Addresses - TinyURL.com

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Update Dec 23, 2011:  My new favorite URL shortener is Bit.ly. It integrates nicely with many social networks like Twitter and with many social networking management tools. And it has good stats to see how many times your shortened URL's are clicked.
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A few days ago, I wanted to add a link to a comment on Facebook. Sounds easy enough, right? Just cut and paste it. But this link was buried so deep in the government website I was viewing that it had an enormously long web address (URL) ... 258 characters long! Well, that wouldn't work on Facebook. It won't work on Twitter, and it probably won't even work in your email because it might break the link into 2 or 3 lines thus making it useless.

So what do you do with really long links like this?

There is a great service for just this purpose called TinyURL.com. It's free, it's easy to use and it works! You simply copy the long URL and paste it into the box on TinyURL.com and then enter a really short word in the second field to complete your TinyURL. Next, click the button that says "Make TinyURL!" and then somebody somewhere waves a magic wand and your new tiny URL will automatically take you to your really long URL. Confusing? Let me show you.


Note: This is an image, not an actual entry form.

Here is an example from the TinyURL website.
Change this really long URL by copying and pasting it into the first entry field:
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?t
ype=3&campid=5336224516&toolid=10001&customid=tiny-
hp&ext=unicycle&satitle=unicycle
Enter the word "unicycles" in the second entry field.

Click on "Make TinyURL!" and you'll get this tinyURL:
http://tinyurl.com/unicycle
Which one would you rather cut and paste into an email or social networking site? Which one is easier to tell people about and easier for people to remember?

It's not only free, it also saves your unique TinyURL forever so you can keep using it again and again. So far the site has created over 300 million Tiny URLs, so it definitely works. Keep TinyURL.com in mind next time you need to tell somebody about a really, really long web address!

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