URL Shorteners 101: What They Are and How to Use Them


By Jonathan Mark

24 Mar 2023

What is a URL Shortener?

Have you ever come across a link so long it looked like someone spilled alphabet soup on your screen? Or perhaps you wanted to send the link in a text message, but it wouldn't fit in a single message. Fear not, friend. This is where URL shorteners come in handy.

What is the history of URL shorteners?

The first URL shorteners appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when people were still afraid of Y2K and Beanie Babies were all the rage. They were primarily used by companies like AOL and Yahoo to make their links more manageable for users. However, it wasn't until the rise of Twitter in the late 2000s that URL shorteners really took off. Twitter's 140-character limit meant that users needed a way to share links without taking up too much space, and URL shorteners became the go-to solution faster than a Cabbage Patch Kid in the 80s.

What is the use of URL shorteners?

URL shorteners are used to create shortened versions of long and complex URLs. The shortened URLs are easier to share and remember, and they take up less space when used in social media posts, emails, and other online content. They can also be used to track clicks and other user data, making them useful for marketing and analytics purposes. In short (pun intended), URL shorteners are an all-around great tool.

What happens when a URL is too long?

When a URL is too long, it can be difficult to read and remember, and it may not fit in certain contexts like social media posts or text messages. Additionally, some platforms like Twitter have character limits that make it impossible to share long URLs without using a URL shortener. By shortening the URL, you can make it more accessible and shareable across a variety of platforms. It's like taking a big, clunky Buick and turning it into a sleek, shiny Ferrari. Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the point.

How do I create a short URL?

There are many URL shorteners available online, including CampaignTracker, a link management platform that allows users to create and track shortened URLs. To create a short URL with CampaignTracker, simply sign up for an account and enter your original URL into the platform. CampaignTracker will then generate a shortened URL that you can use in your online content.

Here are the steps to create a short URL with CampaignTracker:

  1. Sign up for an account on CampaignTracker.

  2. Click on the "Tagged URLs" button in the left menu.

  3. Then click on the "New" button on the right side.

  4. Enter the original URL into the "Landing Page" field.

  5. Customize the shortened URL if you choose to.

  6. Fill out the UTM Parameters if you choose to.

  7. Click the "Save" button to generate your shortened URL.

  8. Use the shortened URL in your online content and track its performance in the CampaignTracker dashboard.

If you'd like to learn more about UTM parameters and how it can help with your marketing strategies, check out this blog post.

URL shorteners are a valuable tool for anyone who wants to share links online. They make it easier to share and remember long and complex URLs, and they provide valuable data for marketing and analytics purposes. So, the next time you come across a link that looks like it was typed by a drunk octopus, remember that URL shorteners are here to help. If you're looking for a reliable URL shortener, check out CampaignTracker and start creating shortened URLs today. We’ve got a 14 day free trial with your name on it. Just click the link below.

Try out CampaignTracker with a 14-day free trial!


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