Short URLs are a really valuable tool for social media, and anyone who’s been tweeting for more than a few months is already a devotee of services like tinyURL or bit.ly. But there’s a good argument to be made for the great big new kid on the block: Goo.gl.
If you hadn’t already heard of it, I’m sure you’ve guessed that it’s an URL shortening service from Google. And sure enough, if you point your browser to http://goo.gl you can quickly get a short URL suitable for emailing or tweeting.
But things get really magical once you log in with your Google account. You are already registered at Google, right?
Creating an url while logged in adds it to a list of all the shortened URLs Google has created for you. And it gives you data on how many clicks each one received, from what continent and what operating system and browser. So whether it’s a tweet, an email or even a Facebook post, you can see exactly how effective each of your shared links is.
You even get a QR code as an image. Save that to your phone and you can share your link on the go with anyone who has a QR-equipped smartphone.
Previously, using shortened URLs handicapped your Facebook links because it wouldn’t always get a picture and summary from the page you are sharing. But Facebook now follows Goo.gl links through to grab that data and make your links look pretty.
You can get link tracking from bit.ly or HootSuite as well, but I’m a big fan of the Goo.gl service. I’m already logged into Google all the time to manage ads and view analytics, so it’s one less account I need to juggle. And the features are pretty powerful for a service that’s completely free.
Where do you use shortened URLs? And what service do you prefer? Please share your experience in the comments.