The question is: Why would you shorten a URL?
So I’ll answer that first - and specifically in respect of text messaging content.
In the text-messaging world, a standard text message can be up to 160 alpha-numeric characters in length – and this is the case whether you’re using a text messaging platform or your mobile phone.
You can create longer messages, and how that works, is that these multiple messages leave your system or mobile phone as separate messages, and as they are delivered to the recipient’s phone, they are joined into one single message.
You may have heard your phone acknowledging receipt of two or more messages in quick succession, but when you look at your received list, there is just one.
A-HA I hear you say!!
Since SMS literally stands for Short Messaging Service, the rule of thumb is to keep it short and sweet to get the best results.
Therefore, if you’re going to include a direct link in a text message, you might want to shorten it to ensure your end message isn’t too long.
In addition, the longer the message the more you pay, since you’re per message or message-credit cost, is based on a standard message of up to 160 characters in length.
Recently I was including a link to an online event invitation platform. The link to the invitation was 221 characters long, so basically, just the link was going to take me into two messages before I even started what I wanted to write!!
Now here’s the cool thing. Using Tiny URL my link was shortened from 221 characters down to just 27 – a MUCH better option for my text message!
And just something to note here, the newly shortened link won’t make any sense - you’ll see what I mean in the comparison table below.
How it works is that you copy and paste the long URL into the shortening platform, hit GO and the shortened URL is automatically generated, ready for you to copy and paste into your text message.
Lifewire is one of the sites where you can view a list that includes features of the various URL shortening sites, so I thought I’d use their Homepage URL to do the comparison – it’s 54 characters long.
When I typed it into the various platforms, these were the results:
As you see, Tiny URL isn’t actually the shortest option, so I’ll be using one of the others in future.
The other thing to know is that different platforms offer different functionality.
For example with buff.ly the options for using shortened links within social media and other online platforms are sensational!! So depending on what you’re after, check out the Lifewire site for a good overview.
In the meantime, for a quick and easy copy and paste into a text message, you can take your pick!
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