Why use a URL shortner?
The links that we often share can be very long and unmemorable.
A shortner gets around that. It is also a great way to get some instant stats on which links are clicked.
Memorable link name
You can give people a handy, memorable link e.g. plusyourbiz.com/123 (not a real one!)
Note, as PYBer Brian Jensen said when we chatted about this, “One potential negative effect from using a shortened URL that's not branded, is the user doesn't always know where it will take them, so it's lacking the element of trust that's included with a traditional URL e.g. plusyourbusiness.com/use-url-shortener”
Personally I think there is time for both types, and depends on the circumstance.
You can track the clicks on the links (as you can see below)...
URL shortner options
And the one that we use for PYB:
Why do we use YOURLS?
This enables you to create your own shortener name.
We started using this system about a year ago, and our web master Colman Carpenter.
From a branding perspective, it is great to have e.g. plusyourbiz.com as the links still ‘connect’ with PYB when we add them into posts.
You will need to either set this up on your existing domain, or buy a new shorter domain (as we did) and set it up for that.
Instructions are here: http://yourls.org
Is there a negative effect on SEO by using a shortner?
No, check out this article by David Amerland if you want to know more.
Brian Jensen adds: David's article will cover any SEO implications including that shortened links are 301 redirects, so any link value or equity will be passed through the redirect to its destination. It may also be worth mentioning that any tracking parameters (UTM) added to a URL that's shortened will pass-through and still appear in the "Campaign" reports in Google Analytics.