A great way to make your reader’s lives easier is to use a URL shortener to make long and illegible URLs easier to understand and get to. If you don’t know what a URL is, it is the website/web page address that is used to build a link.
- Before: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/keyboard-shortcuts-in-word-95ef89dd-7142-4b50-afb2-f762f663ceb2#PickTab=Windows
- After: https://tinyurl.com/best-word-shortcuts
As a reader and someone tasked with typing the address, would you rather have to type the Before address or the After address? Exactly!
There are also Accessibility benefits to using a URL shortener because it makes the URL more understandable.
There are plenty of URL shortening websites, and they offer both free and paid options. One advantage of many of the paid accounts is that they allow you to keep track of metrics (who clicked the link and how many times they clicked it).
The website I prefer is tinyurl.com, but there are many others out there. Some suggestions you can check out are:
- TinyURL (https://tinyurl.com)–I like how it permits me to create custom short urls using words instead of random letters and numbers.
- Ow.ly (https://ow.ly) — part of the HootSuite tool set, but does include a free version.
- Bitly (https://bitly.com/)–includes an impressive suite of metrics tools even on the free plan
- Tiny.cc (https://tiny.cc) — Like TinyURL this allows you to create custom short urls.