Shortbread. Shortcrust pastry. Danny Devito. Often, the best things come in the shortest packages.
And we have another thing to add to that list – your URLs.
Forget adding long, clumsy, convoluted links to your social media ads or posts. URL shorteners help you cut them down, clean them up, and present a simple, user-friendly experience to your audience.
But what is a URL shortener – and which one should you choose?
Below, we’ve rounded up the 7 best URL shorteners. From Bitly to BL.INK, these URL shorteners are at the top of their game – and can help take your social media and marketing efforts to a new level of poise and professionalism.
A URL shortener is an online tool (sometimes free, sometimes paid) which turns long, cluttered “raw” links into short, easy-to-read, and manageable ones.
Let’s say, for instance, that we’re trying to share a link to our article on how to create a social media strategy. We could share it like this:
But, that link is lengthy, laborious, and doesn’t inspire trust. Now, look what happens when we plug that link into free link shortener cutt.ly:
See the difference? Beautiful!
URL shorteners offer plenty of benefits, including:
- User-friendliness: shorter, cleaner-looking links are easier for users to understand and click on.
- Social media compatibility: most social media platforms (Twitter being the most obvious example) impose limits on the amount of characters your posts can have. Shortening those long links frees up characters for the important stuff – your message!
- Analytics: link shorteners usually allow you to track the performance of your links – making it easier to understand who’s clicking on your links, where those clicks are coming from, and how much engagement your content is getting across multiple platforms.
Now you know why you need them, let’s dive into the best URL shorteners your business can tap into.
Ready to go short? Let’s explore the 7 best URL shorteners in 2023:
One of the URL shortening world’s powerhouses, Bitly (also known as Bit.ly) services half a million paying customers around the world, and boasts almost six million monthly active users.
Through Bitly’s real-time analytics dashboard, you’ll get to grips with your clicks, top referring channels, and geographic data. While its wealth of app integrations – more than 800, including Salesforce, Adobe, Twilio, and Sprinklr – means Bitly will slot straight into your business’ existing marketing toolkit.
Better still, you can get started for free – you’ll pay nothing to shorten up to 50 links per month.
✔️ Paid plans start at a reasonable $8/month, and include support
✔️ No need to lock yourself into a paid plan – you can get started for free
❌ You’ll need to be on at least the Basic plan ($29/month) to benefit from Bitly’s “Branded links” feature
When it comes to ease of use, TinyURL tops our list of the best URL shorteners. You can start shortening your URLs from the moment you land on its homepage, and – when you create a free account – can do so at no cost.
Despite the no-frills, no-nonsense nature of the platform, though, it’s still packed with features. With full-scale link management, you can manage thousands of links, all from a centralized, cloud-based location. And, with its branded and customized links feature, ensure your links aren’t just short – but reflect your brand to a tee.
If you want more than what the free plan offers, you can upgrade to TinyURL’s Pro plan for $9.99/month. For enterprises, the Bulk 100K plan, $99/month, will fit the bill.
✔️ Extremely easy to use
✔️ Swift sign-up process
❌ Free plan comes with a lot of limitations – on it, you’ll only be able to store one active URL at a time
❌ Display ads take the shine off the platform’s user experience (UX)
BL.INK (also known as BLINK) has an impressive client base. Airbnb, Comcast, Coca-Cola, Best Buy; thousands more. And why shouldn’t it? With comprehensive analytics, attribution and parameter tracking features, and a whole host of social media and SMS integrations, BL.INK is one of the best URL shorteners on the market.
What we love most, though? BL.INK’s commitment to customer service. On top of a huge Help Center – a knowledge base containing a wealth of videos, how-to guides, FAQs, and articles – you can easily submit a ticket for support. Or reach out to them via Facebook or Twitter.
In terms of pricing, BL.INK’s plans start at $48/month, going up to $599/month – and beyond, for a custom plan. Sadly, there’s no free plan – meaning BL.INK’s (admittedly enduring) appeal will likely only extend to larger, more established businesses.
✔️ Incredible wealth of features
✔️ Impressive knowledge base, backed up by strong social media support
❌ No free plan
❌ Not the most affordable URL shortener available
Flaunting strong customer support, affordable pricing plans, and one of the simplest – yet most effective – URL shorteners around, Sniply is a vital tool in every marketer’s kit.
The best part about Sniply, though? That it doesn’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach. It offers tailored, industry-specific solutions to fit different types and profiles of businesses. Whether you’re a small business, large business, ecommerce site or enterprise heavyweight, Sniply can help. It even offers a customized solution for influencers and marketers, to help them get the most out of their campaigns.
As for price, Sniply doesn’t offer a free plan. What it does offer is 14 days for free, across any of its (non custom) paid plans. So you can try before you buy, then decide if you want to commit to its cheapest plan – which gets you 250 links per month, 500 CTA impressions, and one custom domain. Not bad!
✔️ 14-day free trial
✔️ Generous paid plan is also surprisingly affordable
❌ No free plan
Hootsuite’s own URL shortener, Ow.ly will endear itself to lovers of the popular social media marketing and management tool. But you don’t have to already be using Hootsuite to make the most of Ow.ly’s URL shortening abilities – this tool easily stands on its own two (taloned) feet.
Ow.ly packs a bunch of high-flying features: including custom URLs, link performance tracking, and full compatibility with Bitly. There’s no free plan. Instead, you’ll benefit from a generous 30-day free trial – on both the Professional ($49/month) and Team ($249/month) plans.
✔️ Generous 30-day free trial, even on Ow.ly’s $249/month plan
✔️ Most basic plan, Professional, lets you add up to 10 social accounts
❌ No free plan
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of Rebrandly, we have to talk about its finest feature first – that free plan. Rebrandly offers 500 branded links, lets you track 5,000 clicks every month, and provides a custom domain name. All. Completely. Free!
And, for a URL shortener with such a generous free plan, Rebrandly certainly doesn’t skimp on the features.
Though you will have to pay a little extra to unleash the full force of Rebrandly’s functionality, it’s well worth the money. You’ll unlock top-quality link management and advanced analytics and traffic routing, plus ever-increasing levels of collaboration, training, and support. (To help you make the most of everything Rebrandly has to offer!)
✔️ Impressively wide breadth of features
✔️ Best free URL shortening plan on the market
✔️ Save up to 27% when you pay annually
❌ Paid plans get expensive, fast – particularly the Teams plan, at $417/month
Trusted by over 30 million brands (and Trustpilot – at the time of writing, it has a laudable 4.5/5 rating on the review site), Linktree is the people’s choice.
With a slick lilac look and feel and a dynamic, shifting UX, Linktree’s design flavor is sure to win many hearts and minds among a modern audience. And why not? Its URL shortener is easy to set up, simple to use, and even less of a hassle to manage – you’ll keep tabs on all your links from a central real-time repository.
So how much does it cost? Well, that depends on your needs. Solopreneurs and small brands can get away with the free or Starter plans – growing businesses should aim for at least the Pro plan, with one eye on Linktree’s Premium offering.
✔️ Flexible pricing plans for a range of different business types and sizes
✔️ Free plan offers unlimited links and welcome scope for customization
❌ Not as feature-rich as most of the other URL shorteners we’ve showcased here
Well, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of the 7 best URL shorteners today. To recap, these are:
Thanks for reading! And be sure to let us know what you think of our recommendations in the comments section below. Got your own URL shorteners to suggest? Get in touch!
And, for more top content, stick around. On our site here at Website Builder Expert, we have guides to just about every corner of the internet – from digital marketing advice to simple – yet powerful – SEO backlinking tips.
While Rebrandly’s free plan is excellent, most free URL shortener plans cap the amount of links you can shorten, the number of clicks you can track, and the extent of the features you’ll enjoy access to.