140 Characters: The Story of Short URLs

4 May

This is a short story. (Two drums and a cymbal fall off a truck.)

As we all know Twitter only allows you to have 140 characters per tweet. Sometimes your character length is compromised by lengthy URLs. This is where this post comes in handy.

One of the best ways to handle URLs in tweets is by using a URL Shortener. A URL shortener will take a lengthy URL and turn it into a much smaller URL typically about 13 characters long opposed to a regular URL that already has 8 characters with just the “www.” and “.com”.

For example . . .


turns into


Shortening your URLs is not only good for your character length but also has other benefits. Many of the URL shorteners also act as a tracking device and  QR code generator. Once you shorten your URL, these sites with give you analytics that show who has been clicking on your link and where from, as well as other metrics. Now lets show you a few URL shorteners to get you started in your micro blogging adventures.


Bit.ly or Bitly.com is a great, and my favorite, URL shortener. It allows you to create short links, track them, generate QR codes, as well as view all of the analytics. Bit.ly also allows you to make custom short URLs to fit your company or business. Another great feature is the option to choose their j.mp short URL that saves 2 characters from the original domain bit.ly.


Ow.ly is a URL shortener owned by Hootsuite. You don’t have to have Hootsuite to use this website, but I would recommend it as it is a great social media tool. Ow.ly allows you to login in with your Twitter account and  send a tweet after you have shortened your URL. It also allows you to upload content into tweets, a very valuable function.


Goo.gl is obviously the Google URL shortener. It is a very basic URL shortener. It works great but doesn’t have a lot of integrated functions like the other two. If you’re a super brand loyal Google person, than go for it.

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