URL is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. For instance, this newsletter’s home page is found at a URL of http://www.eogn.com.
When writing email messages, social media messages, web pages, articles for newsletters or magazines, or simply taking notes for your own usage later, it is easy to copy-and-paste a URL into the text. But what if you want to print your document out or give a presentation with the link? Many web addresses run 100 characters or longer and contain a mish-mash of upper and lower case letters, punctuation marks, and more. Try entering those into a web browser manually!
A long URL that is shortened by a URL shortener is the best idea for making web pages easier to share. Instead of 100+ character monstrosities that are ugly to look at and impossible to remember or type, using a URL shortener like goo.gl or TinyURL makes them much more manageable.
For instance, my recent article on Scottish Chapbooks are Now Online refers to more information available at http://www.nls.uk/catalogues/online/snpc/detail.cfm?id=291&subjectid=102&collection=291&keyword=&passedsubject=102&passedcollection=291&passedkeyword=&origin=browse.
Would you like to enter that address into a web browser by hand? Or perhaps you would prefer to enter http://goo.gl/IWWPSj?
I prefer goo.gl because it is reliable, doesn’t require a log-in to use it, and because it provides statistics about the number of times other people have clicked on the shortened URL. That helps me analyze which articles and topics are the most popular amongst newsletter readers.
Goo.gl may be found at http://goo.gl (a very short URL that is easy to remember) while TinyURL may be found at http://tinyurl.com. If either of those two doesn’t meet your needs, you can find a lengthy list of other URL shorteners at http://bit.do/list-of-url-shorteners.php.
HINT: Most URL shorteners are case sensitive. If entering a short URL manually, make sure you enter the letters in proper upper and lower case exactly as shown.