My pet peeve with (and shorteners)

My pet peeve with (and shorteners)

You should stop using (and shorteners).

There are many good reasons why. But let’s start with why people use shorteners anyway.

Why people use shorteners

Common reasons include:

  1. Beautifying extremely long links.
  2. Hidding UTM links.
  3. To track clicks and analytics for a link
  4. To deceive users clicking on the link.

The problem with shortened links

Most users (digital marketers) don’t like paying for stuff.

So they use the free version of , which results in a link that looks like these: or

Here’s an example of a link in action.

I have trust issues with shortened links. In fact, in general, people feel deceived when clicking shortened links.

Understandably, marketers want to understand their link analytics. That’s alright. However, it’s a marketing fail if people don’t click on your links.

Then there are cases where people share links on printed material or presentation slides – hoping that it’ll be easier to read and type into a browser.

Check out the below poster.

It’s not the worst link I’ve came across. But try typing down that link on your browser and see how long you’ll take to get the right link. (I’ll wait…)

Guess what. links are CASE SENSITIVE

How we can do better

1 – Don’t shorten

Do you really need to shorten your links? Leave your long link (with your brand name) out in its full glory. Is there anything wrong with a long link anyway?

2 – Brand your links instead

Pay for or and put your brand name on your links. That instantly increases the trustworthiness of your links.

3 – Use plugins like Pretty Links

This is something I use since I run a few websites on WordPress. Pretty links give you the ability to prettify your links. So instead of having a link that looks like , you’ll have a link that looks like

p.s. I recently worked with the team to produce a brand new online summit called D/M Summit. It’s a project in which we aim to share knowledge in data science & marketing. I hope you’ll join us.

2 Comments My pet peeve with (and shorteners)

  1. Daniel

    Hi Reuben,
    I’ve tested many shorteners.
    Please note that preattylinks only works if you have you website on WordPress. Yourls is also a good alternative but you need to setup a server and install it. Rebrandly let you use up to 5 different domain names for free. So I guess that the best alternative. This is what I use.
    Best, Daniel.


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