There are many reasons why someone might use a link shortener. Link shorteners—also known as URL shorteners—essentially help keep your links tidy and on-brand. Some of the best link shorteners will also offer some other important features, which we’ll highlight in this article.
If you’re looking for a link shortener to use on your site and on your social pages, you’ve come to the right place!
Ready to get started? Great! Let’s dive in.
Why Use a Link Shortener?
More often than not, online marketers or merchants use link shorteners to hide or mask original website addresses. Or, if they’re working with an unusually long URL, they use them to simplify the web address.
Imagine that you have a link to a particular product on your website and you want to showcase the product on social media. Sometimes URLs are mega long! Long links on Facebook, Google, or whatever other ad platforms you’re using can look spammy so this is where link shorteners come to save the day.
Alternatively, you may need a shorter link if you’re a report writer or giving a presentation or using the link in media campaigns. It can be handy to have a link that’s quicker for your audience to note down or, of course, a shorter link that’s far more memorable than something long and complicated.
Or perhaps you’re doing some online networking and want to showcase your products, services, or portfolio? Needless to say, a short link is going to win hands down over something wordy and unwieldy.
In addition to all of this, link shorteners look great in social bios. Who wants to see a tremendously long web address?
Answer: No one. Not only does it look untidy, but it also looks kind of lazy.
Then there’s link retargeting. What’s that, I hear you ask? If you’ve ever wondered why you’re inundated with ads right after viewing a product online—say, a pair of shoes or a holiday resort—link retargeting is why.
It’s when a piece of code is added to your business’ website so that when visitors go there and then leave, you can then retarget them with ads at a later date.
Next, we’re taking a look at some of the best link shorteners on the market and why they’re the best out there. So let’s get going!
Best Link Shortener #1: Bitly
Bitly is an immensely popular choice, so much so that if you’ve already done a bit of research, you’ve probably heard of them. Not to mention, Bitly also integrates with other software platforms such as Zapier, Hootsuite, and Buffer which makes them a popular choice.
Essentially, Bitly is a good option for businesses because it’s quick and easy to shorten long links.
There are two versions: The free option, and the paid-for package. The free version only allows you to create 500 branded links and 10,000 unbranded URLs plus you also get access to analytics about your top referrers. The free option is an excellent choice for solo entrepreneur or smaller businesses running fewer campaigns.
The paid-for option starts at $29 per month, which entitles you to 1500 branded links and a free custom domain or they do a bells-and-whistles custom version with bespoke prices that includes virtually all the branded links you’d ever need plus multiple custom domains and campaign management. Since it’s customized, this is their priciest package.
What makes Bitly one of the best link shortener services is that their dashboard is intuitive and very user-friendly. You can use it to see your click-throughs, statistics, and geographical information about where your visitors are so you always have a birds-eye-view on your links.
Best Link Shortener #2: Capsulink
Capsulink allows users to create custom-branded short links within seconds. Plus, their dashboard makes it easy to view and track visitor location, dates, times, and so on.
One of its most significant features is that it repairs broken links so your short links won’t lose traffic. You can also access analytical tools and branded domain names with your Capsulink account which is what allows you to create those all-important branded links for your marketing campaigns.
They offer an excellent free plan that includes 5000 clicks per month, which is way over what other link-shortening programs offer! You also get as many URL shortens as you like and access to basic statistics. The one major downside, however, is that you don’t get a custom domain but that’s pretty standard across all link shortening service free plans.
The cheapest paid-for plan starts at $5 per month and the most expensive comes in at $300. Capsulink says its most popular plan is their $40 a month bundle which entitles you to three custom domains, 3000 short links per month, 500,000 clicks per month, and 500 smart URLs. You’ll also get all the features included in the $5 option, like the Facebook debugger tool and password-protected links.
Best Link Shortener #3: PixelMe
PixelMe calls themselves an all-in-one marketing platform because not only are they a URL shortening service but they also offer a bit more than that.
They also allow users to add a pixel to every link shared which means you can retarget website visitors—or anyone else who clicks the link—with valuable content. You can add retargeting pixels from Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Adwords platforms. Another feature they offer is that you can also track your clicks using their analytics.
PixelMe is more expensive than most, starting at $65 per month and going up to their Business plan at $249 a month. Their most popular package is $124 per month. The cheapest option (besides their 7-day free trial) allows for up to 20,000 unique visitors per month whereas the Business plan permits a maximum of 150,000 a month.
All programs provide you with QR codes, unlimited retargeting pixels, an infinite number of shortened links, and much, much more.
Best Link Shortener #4: Rebrandly
You don’t have to look far on Rebrandly’s site to see what this team has to offer. Rebrandly integrates with Zapier, which in turn allows for seamless connections with other extensions like Firefox, iOS App, macOS App, and the Android App.
They also offer a free plan which provides you with five custom domains, 5000 tracked clicks per month, and 500 branded links. After that, you need to sign up for a paid-for plan.
The paid-for plans start at $29 per month and go up to their most popular option at $69 a month, then skyrocket up to their Premium bundle at $499 a month. There’s also a custom priced option for larger enterprises which you’ll have to contact Rebrandly directly to get a quote.
In short, the more you pay, the more branded links, custom domains, and trackable links you’ll get. Although this may sound costly, these prices are still good value. For example, with the lowest paid-for package, you get an impressive 25,000 clicks a month which is a lot.
Best Link Shortener #5: BL.INK
BL.INK offers a free plan which is perfect for small organizations as you can register up to 15 users. Alternatively, if you’re a larger business, you can opt for their paid-for plan which entitles you to 50 users. If that’s still not enough, there’s also an option for more prominent corporations where you can register over 50 users!
BL.INK’s link shortening service stands out because they allow users to create branded links where you can add relevant words to the URL.
Prices start from free and then go to $12 per month and then upwards to a whopping $599. These prices reflect how many links you want to create and track. Free users can create and monitor 1000 links and you can also install PixelMe’s tracking code, which allows you to sync data across all your websites and marketing tools.
Users can track clicks by geographical location, date, language, time, device, and referrers. For your convenience BL.INK integrates with several tools, including Adobe, Google Analytics, and others.
Best Link Shortener #6: Poplink
Available as a Chrome extension, Poplink allows users to add tracking metrics and retargeting pixels to their shortened URLs. You can also pull content through an RSS feed and there’s an option to edit the shortened link before you use it. You can even add a description, headline, and pictures!
Poplink also offers a free plan with a small number of monthly clicks (five). Paid-for prices start at a very reasonable $15 per month. The only other pricing alternative is a one-off payment of $195, which grants lifetime access. The difference between the free and paid-for packages is unlimited links and promotions, infinite custom domains, and SSL certificates.
Every other feature is included with the free version, including:
- An analytics dashboard
- Retargeting pixels
- RSS feeds
- Root domain redirects
- Unlimited SSL certs
Not a bad deal, huh?
Best Link Shortener #7: RocketLink
RocketLink is not only a URL shortener but also a link retargeting platform as well. With their platform, you can add retargeting pixels and your own call-to-action buttons to your branded links. They offer a whole host of features including custom domains, retargeting pixels, call-to-action overlays, custom thumbnail appearances, UTM tags, custom 404 redirects, analytics, and QR codes so if you’re looking for a link shortener that does it all, you might want to check out RocketLink.
They offer three pricing plans, the Lift Off plan at $19 per month, the Space plan at $29 per month, and the Galaxy bundle at $69 per month.
As with most of the other services in this article, the difference between the three tiers is in the numbers. In this case, all three offer unlimited clicks per month but the number of links, custom scripts, pixels, and custom domains varies a fair bit. For example, for $29 you get 100 links a month, compared with 20 for the free plan or 1000 with the Galaxy plan. But, every plan gets access to analytics which isn’t bad!
Best Link Shortener #8: Sniply
Not only does Sniply shorten links but the service also allows users to include a call-to-action with the link. This is done through a call-to-action button.
This is how it works: When you share a link, viewers see a call-to-action button that redirects them to whatever you’ve linked to. This could be your website’s homepage, an affiliate landing page, a product page—you name it, the choice is yours.
Needless to say, this tool is excellent for increasing conversion rates.
Prices for Sniply start from a free 14-day trial and go up to a paid-for plan costing $29 per month. Their most popular package is the Pro plan at $79 a month. There’s also a $149 Business plan and a $299 Agency plan.
The basic program allows for 5000 clicks per month, but the figures leap right up to 20,000 with the Pro plan. It’s also worth noting, however, that you don’t get access to a custom domain, the removal of Sniply’s branding, or custom short links unless you’re at least on the Business plan (or upwards).
Best Link Shortener #9: Linkiro
Linkiro not only gives you a free 7-day trial for each of its plans but you can also add a call-to-action with your shortened links.
Prices are cheaper than Sniply, who—upon first glance—appears to offer the same unique selling point. But with Linkiro, you get a basic plan for $12 per month, the Pro package for $49 per month, or the Business bundle for $99 per month.
The Basic plan doesn’t come with a custom domain, plus you only get one custom script and three calls-to-action. Every plan gets access to analytics, but the key differences between these payment plans are, as always, the numbers.
The Basic bundle allows up to 5000 clicks per month which rises to 70,000 on the Business plan—with unlimited campaigns. The Basic plan also gives you 100 links, whereas the other two offer an unlimited number of links.
Best Link Shortener #10: Short.cm
With Short.cm, we see pretty similar features to all the others on this list such as analytics, branded links, and so on. Its dashboard is nice and clean and much easier to read in comparison to some of the others. Their website makes a point of saying it’s backed by Amazon servers which is useful to know!
That aside, let’s look at their all-important prices: There’s a free option that’s useful for mostly individuals or small businesses which offers three custom domains, 50,000 tracked links, and 1000 branded links.
The priced plans start at $20 per month, rising to $50 per month, and then $150 per month. Paid plans get you features like unlimited redirects, link cloaking, referrer hiding, password protection, link expiration, and tracking links. But, in the case of branded links and custom domains, only the $150 per month plan offers unlimited amounts.
Best Link Shortener #11: Replug
With Replug, you get a chance to create a branded call-to-action button for your campaigns. You can also create branded shortened links for custom domains.
They offer a 2-week free trial, and priced plans start at the Basic package for $9 per month. The next tier up is the Pro plan for $49 per month and then the Agency bundle at $79 per month.
All three plans provide unlimited replug links and then after that, each plan offers something different. For example, the Basic plan allows a maximum of 5000 clicks per month, five campaigns, but no custom domains. The Pro plan, on the other hand, offers a lot more. Pro plan users are entitled to up to 50,000 clicks and five custom domains. Next, the Agency package offers you unlimited campaigns, so there’s quite a difference.
The only price plan that comes with dedicated support, API access, onboarding, and call support is the Agency plan.
Best Link Shortener #12: JotURL
JotURL is unique because it identifies your most effective marketing sources plus, like some of the other link shortening services, it allows you to check your campaigns and find out which of your channels attract the most traffic. You also get branded links, calls-to-action, remarketing, deep links, analytics, and more.
There’s more choice here with pricing plans—as many as six to choose from! There’s also a free trial and discounts for yearly plans.
Paid-for packages start at the Basic plan for $7 per month and go up to $199 per month for Business XL. In between prices vary from $23, $55, $95, and $199 per month.
The cheapest plan does offer some generosity here. You get 5,000 events and 2,000 tracking links per month, three registered users, and one year’s worth of analytics storage. Most customizations and features are the same across all the plans.
The real variance is in the numbers of events, branded links, and registered users you get. In other words, if you’re going for a lot of campaigning and marketing, rather than just simple tracking, you may need to shell out a bit more.
Best Link Shortener #13: Sharest
Alongside some of its competitors featured in this article, Sharest allows users to add pixels to and retarget the links you share. For example, you can use Adwords, Google Analytics, Facebook, and any other tracking pixels to monitor your campaigns. Plus, they also offer call-to-action buttons, with the option of adding photos and marketing scripts.
Prices start at $49 per month for their Solo Plan and increase to $99 for the Agency Plan and then $249 for the SAAS Plan. They also offer a free tier with unlimited clicks, links, calls-to-actions, pixels (basically everything except custom domains).
Best Link Shortener #14: UTM.io
Last but not least, we have UTM.io. This service offers a free option which includes features like a free Chrome extension, social sharing, and three UTM templates.
After that, prices begin at $24.90 per month for the Start-Up plan, rising to $39 per month for the Company plan and then $49 per month for the Agency program.
The Agency plan also provides you with 100 branded domains and templates but, in comparison to the link shortening services listed above, UTM.io feels a little light for what you get for your money.
There are so many link shorteners to choose from, so it’s hard to pick! What’s clear is that there’s something out there for everyone, depending on the needs of your business.
What’s also apparent is that since the early days of these tools popping up, they’ve become increasingly sophisticated and, in some cases—like Sharest, JotURL, and Replug—link shorteners now offer more than a simple, short, and snappy link.
The best way to decide which one to choose before you shell out any money is to list what you want your link shortener to do—both now and in the future. We expect that these services will only continue to become more refined as link-shortener technology develops! And remember to try-before-you-buy with the free plans—this way you can try out a link shortening service before you commit to it.