Ever wanted to post a link to a social networking site or forward it to a contact, only to get frustrated by the unreasonably long URL? Yeah, bet this gave the creators of link shortening services an eye twitch too.
Thanks to a similar matter, link shorteners or URL shorteners were originally created to solve the issue of email systems that wrapped text after a certain number of characters, breaking long URLs contained in the message as a result. With the explosive growth of social media popularity and Twitter’s introduction of the 140-character limit, the ability to shorten links became really important. Link shorteners quickly started to develop and today they offer options like link tracking and link analytics.
When it comes to online marketing and content promotion, to shorten or not to shorten is no longer a question. Everything from the headline and featured image to the URL needs to be crafted perfectly to help you get the best number of hits and clicks. Since link is the bridge between the message and the content you share, it needs to be branded, recognizable, and trustworthy so that your content can get the attention you want.
Need more convincing? Let’s take a look at the four reasons why you should use link shorteners to boost your content promotion.
1. Easy to read and remember
Coming up with new and appealing content that will draw visitors to your page is far from a walk in the park. One would think that doing research, creating the content, using a randomly generated auto-shortened URL, and hitting the Send or Post button should do the trick.
Your links need to be legible, or reader-friendly if you will, which makes them easier to remember and more clickable than a Klingon-like character string (with all due respect Colonel Worf).
A more scientific explanation for this behavior lies in the term called processing fluency or cognitive fluency. The term is described as a measure of how easy it is to think about something. In other words, it’s a set of cognitive biases that impact the way we remember information, making things we can easily say and think about easier to remember.
Another thing that can help you in this department is link customization, which allows you to create branded short links. By associating it with your brand, the post becomes even more memorable and acceptable, thus increasing its chances of drawing traffic to your content. Just take a look at Time Magazine’s ti.me or Pepsi’s pep.si branded short links. It’s something you can easily remember along with any keyword they might choose for their content after the slash.
2. More likely to get shared
Let’s say that there’s an event you’re looking to promote. Your readers have read your promotional content and now want to share it with their followers. If you refer them to a link like t.co/nuqneH (yes, Klingon again) and the people in their network don’t click on the link straight away, chances are slim that they’ll remember it and return to the page.
However, if the message is along the lines of “Check out this startup contest at gg.me/liftoff”, it will most definitely have higher chances of increasing your view-through conversions (the number of people who see a link and don’t click on it immediately, but see the content later).
You’ve covered the processing fluency point, created a great short link that is easy to remember, and people have an association with – ergo, your content will be shared more likely.
3. Easier to find
The great thing about using a custom domain in your links is that it makes you and your brand genuine and unique. When the links you share are branded, you clearly state who the owner is. It also gives you the opportunity to change the destination URL while keeping the original links.
This can help users easily find your content.
Imagine that a company organizes giveaways every now and then for marketing purposes and to express gratitude to their loyal customers. For the sake of the discussion, let’s say that the company has a
The same goes for social media accounts. By setting up a “yourdomain.me/facebook”, “/twitter” or “/linkedin”, you make your contact information both shareable and easy to find.
4. Boosted trust and brand recognition
We mentioned link ownership and how branded links make you and your brand unique. The readers have no doubt about who has shared the post/image/video/infographic and, therefore, soon begin to associate your brand with awesome content.
Apart from improving your brand visibility and recognition, using a custom branded domain with a link shortening service helps you build trust with your target audience. When your name appears in the link, people know that it’s not spam. Consistent use of branded short links shows your readers that links and content you’re sharing have been probed by your company. As a result, people will more likely click on your link, rather than on a generic one, which altogether positively affects your click-through rates and your content promotion.
Without a doubt, link shorteners can help you boost your content promotion and drive traffic to your website. When users see a custom domain shortened link, they remember it more easily and share it more than a random-generated one. It’s also much easier for them to find your content online. In return, your brand visibility and brand trust develop and your content promotion gets a great head start.