Hyperlinks: Pretty, Smart and Short

Hyperlinks: Pretty, Smart and Short describes three options for modifying hyperlinks to make rename them, make them geo-aware or shorten them.

I’ve never tracked how many hyperlinks I use in a day, clicking on them, adding them to blog posts and emails, and so on. I bet some days I use hundreds of them and that’s not an exaggeration. They’ve become firmly entrenched in our day to day online operations, haven’t they? In fact, I might go so far as to say, without hyperlinks there’d be no internet?

But some URLs are so long and random that you couldn’t possibly type them from memory and they’re useless for use on social media, particularly on Twitter where you’re limited to a mere 140 characters. Other URLs take us to sites that we can’t practically use because of geographic restrictions. So, today, I thought I’d tell you about a few options you could try.

Pretty Links

This is a plugin that works with WordPress.org sites. It enables you to shorten, redirect and rename awkward links for affiliate sites or social networking sites or pretty much any sort of hyperlink on your site, even the links that aren’t particularly lengthy and awkward, using your own domain name. And, you can access statistics so that you know the number of hits per link.

So, for example, my affiliate link for Book Design Templates is: https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=239841&c=ib&aff=292655.

With the Pretty Links plugin, I could change that to http://shelleysturgeon.com/bookdesigntemplates, and not only would it be easier to remember, I could also view the stats on how often that link was clicked on from my site.

There’s a free version and a pro version which offers even more features. You can see the differences between the two products here. The pro version currently sells for $37 for one website or $97 for multiple sites.

Smart URLs

Ever clicked on an Amazon link on someone’s site to buy their book only to discover that it directs you to Amazon in a foreign country that won’t ship to you or allow you to download e-books through their site?

SmartURL will take care of that.

This is a free utility. Its links are” geo-aware” so if you use a Smart URL on your site for your Amazon book, and someone in the UK clicks on it, they are sent to Amazon.co.uk. Smart URL is not Amazon-specific and will work with various sites.

For more information about Smart URLs features click here. FAQs for Smart URLs can be found here.

Booklinker

Booklinker is similar to Smart URLs but it is only for links to Amazon.

Link Shorteners

Link shorteners are helpful on social media or when a hyperlink is long or awkward and you want to share it. There are many link shorteners available on the web but I’d advise that you do your research and stick to reputable ones as some link shorteners have been linked (no pun intended) to malware and adware.
I regularly use the following three link shorteners:

  1. Google URL Shortener
  2. Ow.ly
  3. Bitly

So, using the URL for this blog post and shortening it using these URL shorteners, this http://shelleysturgeon.com/hyperlinks-pretty-smart-and-short/ becomes:

  1. http://goo.gl/au5Njt
  2. http://ow.ly/KBKRo
  3. http://bit.ly/1FgpcsA

Significantly shorter URLs, aren’t they? So I guess it’s pretty obvious why they work better on social media, especially on Twitter when used in tweets and you’re limited to 140 characters.

Generally speaking, however, it is a good idea to exercise good judgement when clicking on shortened URLs because you can never really be sure where the link you’re clicking on will take you. Make sure you trust the person or site providing you with the shortened URL.

So there you have it–three flavours of hyperlinks! I hope you find them useful.

Photo credit: Buttercups Springtime via photopin (license)