07 Jan The True Cost Of Using Short Links
If you’re researching short link providers it’s likely that cost is a big factor in your decision. Fair warning, this article isn’t about comparing the pricing plans of link shortening tools but rather what it actually will cost you to use them.
While some short link providers may have a free package or a low-cost price there are actually a lot of challenges and that they bring. We’ve taken a look at what this cost is and our solution for avoiding these issues while still getting the benefits of using a link shortener. In this post, I’m going to take a look at some of the challenges that short URLs pose and how you can avoid these hidden costs.
The Limitations of Short Links
There are many limitations to using short links but I want to focus on four main issues you’ll experience when using short links. These are branding, trust, security, and control.
You lose branding
Every link you share has the potential to increase your brand exposure. That’s why companies like MacDonalds are even going so far as to buy top-level-domains with their own brand name.
When you shorten a URL using a link shortener like Tiny URL the link it produces uses its own domain rather than yours. This means that every time you share this link you’re promoting their brand rather than your own. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with promoting their brand but why would you pass on an opportunity to showcase your own brand name?
You lose trust
Because of this lack of branding, it can be more difficult for people to trust where your link leads them. Link trust becomes a factor when someone is deciding if they should click a link or not. Generic short URLs can look suspicious and you want people to be reassured that this link will lead them to relevant content and not some kind of phishing website or spam.
As Lifewire puts it in their article The Dangers of Short Links, “Not only does the link not look anything like the original, it completely obscures the intended link destination. There is no way by looking at the short link that you can tell what the intended target link is. All you see in the short link is the link shortening service site name followed by a string of seemingly random numbers and letters.”
You lose security
Did you know with most short URL providers like Goo.gl or Bitly anyone can add a + symbol to the end of your link and see its analytics? Even Donald Trump’s link analytics were visible during his election campaign.
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