URL Shortening services, those things that turn long ugly URLs into tiny ones that redirect to the original URL are a dime a dozen these days, but that doesn’t mean you should use most of them. I’ve been looking at these services for a while now, and there are only three that you should even consider using, as they are the only ones that have the features you’re going to need at some point in time. All other services come up “short” (pun intended) with important features missing. A service had to meet the following requirements to be considered for my recommendation:
I chose Cli.gs as the winner because it has the best stats (as you’ll see from the screenshots below) and features that just can’t be found anywhere else. First the features that can’t be found anywhere else include the Right Clig – which is the ability to geotarget based on your user’s location. In other words, let’s say you want visitors from Germany to go to the German version of Amazon.com when they click on the short url, but you want American visitors to go to the US-based version. You can easily set rules to make that happen, using just one url. This can be a very powerful affiliate marketing tool. Lots of other goodies exist and I suggest following @cligs if you want to keep abreast of all the new features as they come out. The developer is very responsive to user requests, so new features are added often.
In the meantime, check out the incredible stats that cli.gs offers. Here are some screenshots to whet your stats appetite.
Snipr.com satisfies the basics for each of the requirements, but it’s longer URL (which is a detriment to a short url service) and it’s extremely basic statistics kept it out of first place. Still, it’s a solid service worthy of consideration. Here is a screenshot of its stats.
Zi.ma has a nice design and satisfies the basic requirements I set forth, but it’s reliability is often a problem, stats are basic, and sometimes won’t even load at all. I can’t even show you a screenshot of its basic stats, because that part of the service is currently not functioning. For those reasons, I can’t really recommend it, but I gave it an honorable mention for the fact that it does have the features necessary (when they work). And it has a cool name too. Zi.ma is no longer a functioning service
If the URL shrinking service you’ve been using doesn’t match up with these, it’s time to move on and use the best of the best instead!