Make Your Own Short URLs With Domains or Software

Quit Using URL Shortener Services.
Quit Using URL Shortener Services.

Why Not Just Use Some URL Shortening Service?

If you’e arriving at this article directly, head back to part one to read about why to make your own short urls.

Moving Along

Well, so far I’ve shown you ways to work with your existing CMS to create short urls, but the last methods are sometimes less time consuming in the long run but a bit more technical to start with.

Let’s talk about what some good options might be.

If Your Domain Is What’s Long

So what if you have a piece of software or structure that allows you to shorten the end of your url into something more workable. For instance, the last article in this series has a page link that looks like this normally:

http://blog.websitestyle.com/index.php/2009/04/19/make-your-own-short-urls-in-ee-mt-joomla-drupal/

Since I run that site using WordPress, I can also access that page this way:

http://blog.websitestyle.com/?p=458

Now my nice page names can be as long as they need to be, and that part of the URL is nice and short. In this case, it’s actually my main url portion ( blog.websitestyle.com ) that could be shorter.

Using an Alternate Domain

So what’s an easy maintenance option for that? What if I take another domain name and forward it to that. You could make something short, but in my case I just use one of my other domains on this one to manage it (although this may change in the future so don’t count on this being testable forever using the link below).

I take my websitestyle.net (16 characters) domain, and redirect it to blog.websitestyle.com (21 characters).

Redirection Screen in GoDaddy.
Redirection Screen in GoDaddy.

So now my short url to that last post will be 30 characters total:
http://websitestyle.net/?p=458

Yes, that’s longer than the url shortened version of tiny shortened version with only 20 characters.
http://tiny.cc/M9CHx

But again, it’s about trust, if I looked at the two links below, I know which I would trust more.
http://websitestyle.net/?p=458 OR http://tiny.cc/M9CHx

Can It Be Even Shorter?

Sure! If your going to get a new domain name, nothing says you have to get a name that is exactly your domain with a different ending.

Anyone who follows TechCrunch.com on Twitter has seen their links done like this: http://tcrn.ch/Uj

Nothing holds you back from finding a creative way to put your site name in the link because it still tells people that it’s your brand, your site, your trust that you’ve earned.

Can I Do This On WordPress.com Blogs?

Sure! If you’ve got a free blog on WordPress.com you’ve definitely got the long domain issue, but you have the built in option to use the numeric version of your post. You’d do it exactly the same way, get a new domain name, forward it to your WordPress.com blog URL, and it works.

My Post Title Is Still The Problem

If you’re not using any of the services mentioned in the second and third articles in this series, then you’re probably going to need another solution to shorten your urls.

Obviously a bit more of a learning curve to do this, but there are definitely options. In a nutshell, you just install some software that basically provides the same functionality as a TinyURL service – but using your domain name.

You can try out the two software options below that you would install on your server hosting:

TightURL – http://tighturl.com/project/

Shorty – http://get-shorty.com/

Wait Wait, Can’t I Just Use mod_rewriting For This?

Yes, but manual mod_rewrites are way more technical than the simple solutions we’re talking about. If that’s what you’d like to look into, here are a few articles on how to mod_rewrite.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully this has given you some options to consider when you’re thinking about using a url shortening service. My emphasis to you would be this:

Keep it yours. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

Read The Whole Series:

Part 1: I Don’t Trust Short URL’s
Part 2: Make Your Own Short URLs in WordPress
Part 3: Make Your Own Short URLs in EE, MT, Joomla and Drupal
Part 4: This Article.

5 Replies to “Make Your Own Short URLs With Domains or Software”

  1. Thanks for the useful post. But I personally think that short url’s are bad for seo optimization. Search engines like google don’t like short url’s and put them on lower positions then the long ones. If taking in example your blog it would be better http://blog.websitestyle.com/index.php/2009/04/21/make-your-own-short-urls-with-domains-or-software/ than for example http://blog.websitestyle.com/?p=458. When I am configuring my wordpress, I am always changing url’s to the longer ones. But thanks for the article anyway!

  2. @s.a.d.

    You’re absolutely right that short url’s aren’t good for SEO — when being used on your blog. However, this article series was about how to avoid using a short url service which uses a completely different domain as your own for posting links on social media sites that expect/require a short url.

    On those sites, using your own domain name is better than using someone elses – and if they require a short url, I think it’s much better to use your own short url over one being provided by a company.

    Again, we’re talking about the url used for posting on social media sites that require a short url – not the url format of your actual site.

  3. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

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