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What is a URL Shortener, and What Does It Do?

Who would’ve thought that something as humble as a URL plays a pivotal role in navigating the digital realm?

Yet, in a digital world where brevity and compactness are so valuable, URLs can be unwieldy and complex. 

This is where the unsung hero of the web comes into play – the URL shortener.

But what is a URL shortener, and how does it work its magic? 

Read on to find out what a URL shortener is, how it functions, and how significant it is in shaping our online experiences.

What is a URL Shortener?

A URL shortener is a web service that takes a long, bulky URL and transforms it into a much shorter and more manageable link. 

The primary purpose of a URL shortener is to create a concise, user-friendly link that is easier to share, especially in situations where the character count matters.

For example, on social media platforms like Twitter or in text messages.

Why Do URL Shorteners Matter? 

URL shorteners are particularly useful in various scenarios where the length of a URL becomes a practical concern. 

  1. Character Limitation 

Using a shortened URL allows you to convey more information on platforms like Twitter, where the character count is limited.

  1. Cleaner Appearance

Long URLs can look cluttered and may distract from the main message. 

Thus, shortened URLs provide a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing appearance, which can be advantageous in presentations, printed materials, etc.

  1. Tracking and Analytics

URL shorteners often come with tracking features that provide insights into how many people have clicked on the link, their geographic location, and other relevant analytics.

  1. Customization

URL shorteners sometimes enable you to customize the shortened link, making it more branded or relevant to the content you want to share.

  1. Redirection and Link Management

URL shorteners allow for redirection, which can be useful when the destination URL changes. 

Additionally, some services provide link management features, enabling users to edit or update the destination URL without changing the shortened link.

Shortened URLs vs. Branded Links - What’s The Difference?

Shortened URLs and branded links are the same type of shortened URL links, but they serve distinct purposes.

  • Shortened URLs are handy when character count matters, such as on social media platforms, text messaging, etc. 


  • Branded links are customized URLs that include a brand or keyword, making them more recognizable and associated with a specific brand or campaign.


💡 Short URLs are generally more appropriate for situations where brevity is crucial, while branded links are beneficial when brand visibility and context are important.

How to Shorten a URL in 4 Easy Steps?

Regardless of which type of shortened URL link you’d like, the process of shortening one is straightforward.


  1. Go to the website or social media page whose link you want to shorten, select the URL in the address bar, and copy it.
  2. Go to the URL shortening platform of your choice and paste the URL into the space provided. 
  3. Click on the "Shorten" or "Create Short Link" button to get a shortened version of your URL.
  4. Now you can copy the new URL and paste it wherever you want or share it.

As we’ve mentioned, some platforms allow you to create customizable shortened URLs, which means that step 3 above will differ - you won’t get a general shortened URL, but you’ll be able to customize it yourself and track clicks.

5 Effective Ways to Boost Your URLs

In addition to shortening your URL, there are a few ways to polish your URLs for better visibility, click-through rates, and overall effectiveness.

1. Use Descriptive and Relevant Keywords

Include relevant keywords in your URLs that accurately describe the page's content to improve SEO and help users understand the link's destination.

Therefore, include the main keyword in the domain name.


2. Avoid Underscores

If the URL has more than one word, you should use hyphens as separators instead of underscores.

This is because Google treats underscores as a connecting word and will index each word independently in phrases with underscores.

3. Create a Readable URL

Your URL should be simple to read since many people do read a URL before clicking. The more complex the URL, the harder it will be for Google to read it.

4. Use Latin characters

You should avoid Cyrillic and other less standard alphabets because the characters in the address bar will not appear as they did in the URL.

5. Ensure Mobile-Friendly URLs

With the increasing use of mobile devices, ensure that your URLs are mobile-friendly, and test links on various devices to guarantee a positive user experience.


Now that you know all the ins and outs of URL shortening, let’s check a digital solution that can not only help you shorten the links but also provide you with various link types.

How to Create Trackable URLs with Tapni?

Tapni is an all-in-one digital solution providing a vast range of tools and features to enhance networking, generate leads, and raise brand awareness.

In addition, Tapni offers various trackable link types:

Customizable links - Include video links, social media links, website links, etc.


Link-in-bio - allows you to merge multiple links into one clickable link in your social media bio.

Direct links - Navigate your visitors to your desired social media channel.

Custom links - Send your visitors to a profile you wish them to see.

Let’s say you want to set your LinkedIn profile as your custom link. With Tapni, you can do it in 4 steps: enter your custom link, set the text, choose a picture, and save it.


In addition, Tapni will also generate a shorter URL that will track clicks.

And speaking of clicks, the Tapni link measures various metrics like click-through rates, website visits, and user interactions.

This way, you’ll get a comprehensive evaluation of the link's effectiveness.

Furthermore, Tapni provides a detailed analysis of which link collected the highest clicks and more in-depth analytics showing traffic sources.

And as if this alone wasn’t enough, with Tapni, you can also:

Create fully customizable digital business cards and accessories.

Generate customizable QR codes.

Create a QR widget to add your profile’s QR code to your home screen and share it without opening the app.

Connect your CRM and automate lead generation.

Multiple sharing options to send your info via tapping, scanning, as an email signature, etc.

And so much more.

Ready to tap into Tapni?

Download the Tapni app today and take your brand to new heights with our game-changing tools!


1. What is The Purpose of a URL Shortener?

The primary purpose of a URL shortener is to save space in character-limited platforms and improve its readability.

In addition, some URL shorteners provide tracking options and customization features to make your brand more visible and recognizable.

2. What is The Best URL Length Limit?

The ideal URL length can vary depending on the platform and context, and while search engines impose no strict limit, it's generally advisable to keep URLs under 2048 characters.

However,  extremely long URLs may be truncated in search results, so the appropriate page URL has 75 characters.

3. How Long Do Shortened URLs Last?

The lifespan of shortened URLs depends on the URL shortening service provider and their specific policies.

Nowadays, most URL shorteners provide permanent links, and some even have the option to set the expiration date yourself.

This option is good if you share a link you want to stay active only for a limited time.

Keep Learning:

10 Best Link in Bio Tools To Share Info Easily

How To Put Your LinkedIn On a Business Card?

3 Ways to Scan QR Codes from Photos or Documents

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