Obviously URL shorteners are widely used on twitter. How else would you share something like this?

The issue that most concerns me is what happens when the shortener goes down? And they DO go down, sometimes forever. URL shorteners add an additional variable. Variables are necessary, but the more moving parts a machine has, the greater the odds of a break down. This is especially concerning when have no control of some variables.

I use URL shorteners very often when generating a QR Code. This helps create a less dense, more scannable code. This is very important. This, however, is a lazy option. I admit, sometimes it is better to do something quick than right. It all depends on the situation (read: budget).

Relying on a URL shortening service like bit.ly and sn.im (my favorite) is relatively safe for a tweet where the lifespan is typically an hour or less. You might consider looking into some alternatives for anything that needs to last.

What are the other options?

  • 301 redirects
    Here you can use your Content Management System to redirect a user from something like “http://yoursite.com/m” to whatever URL you want to send them to. One great benefit to this beyond it being a variable you control is that you can change the redirect to another address later if you see fit. I have some pages hosted on tappinn.com that this works well for.
  • short internal URLs
    Simpler than redirecting the users to anything is to use a URL like  “http://yoursite.com/m” and actually have the necessary content hosted on that page. Remember, your sire MUST be mobile ready to make this work.
  • Do you have other ideas? Leave them in the comments!