Everyone at times becomes annoyed with the effort it takes to type in a mile-long URL address, however, shortening the website address may save time for some, yet it’s more perplexing and confusing to others and hampers marketing strategies. So, the question is: When, if ever, is it appropriate to shorten a specific URL?
Although there are numerous free shortening URL services such as bit.ly, TinyUrl.com, and ow.ly that cut the length of elongated web addresses and even offer limited customizable URLs, mostly conveniently for micro-blogging such as posting Twitter updates due to the restrictions of a 140 character length. While many tweets do include shorten versions of lengthier URLs, it’s always best to be resourceful with characters to convey a coherent message to avoid any confusion for followers.
Disadvantages of Shorter URLs
Just as one website owner argues the advantages of shortening a URL address, others adamantly oppose the position citing several very valid points. Perhaps the greatest marketing drawback of a shorter URL is the potential of losing your company’s brand. The majority of professional websites begin with a recognizable and unique domain name that customers quickly become familiar with after only a couple of visits. If the URL is shorter, the uniqueness quality is lost as well as the potential for successful promoting and branding position in a specific niche.
Another disadvantage of shortening a URL is the simple fact it confuses new visitors, prospective sale leads and of course, existing customer base in terms of e-commerce ventures. It’s important to remember when setting up your website to keep it as user-friendly as possible. Visitors and customers want quick and easy access to information with the ability to bookmark favorite pages without digging through history files to retrace visited websites without valid URL indicators.
Website owners interested in shortening URLs should keep in mind a couple of other concerns. The first being the fact that tweaking URLs make them more susceptible to hacker attacks and even click stealing. Another con is that if the chosen shortening service used goes financially under, all associated website links also go permanently offline. There can also be a short term issue with URL shortening services when the service goes temporarily goes off-line due to user overload or other server nuisances.
Although many web owners opt to shorten long URL addresses, others remain steadfast on the originality of long domain names.