Hyperlinks can be extremely long and look very messy if they are simply copy and pasted straight from your browser into emails, documents or social media accounts with all their nonsensical numbers and letters.
Fortunately it's simple to turn a full link into a neat URL, and it’s also possible to track the number of people who have clicked on your link. We show you how.
How to shorten your URL
There are various websites that help you shorten your hyperlink for free.
If you go to Google's link shortener at https://goo.gl/ and enter the long URL in the box it will return a short URL. However, with Google’s link shortener, the click analytics are public.
An extremely popular site to shorten a URL for free is bit.ly. Again, just copy and paste a link into the bar on the page and click Shorten to generate a new URL.
To save time, you can also add a TinyURL extension to Google Chrome to shorten URLs. If you go to http://tinyurl.com/cldgkv6 and click add to Chrome, it will then appear on the righthand side of the URL address bar. Then you just click it to shorten any link.
Always remember to test out your shortened links before you send them on.
How to track your URL
Websites that shorten your URL often also provide a way of tracking how many people have clicked on your link, and even which countries they are in.
For instance with Google’s service, you can see more detailed analysis of who has clicked on it by adding .info to the end of your shortened URL.
For example, if I shorten http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/tech-news/ces-2018-day-one-robots-not-passing-fad-11364242309622 to https://goo.gl/bYnSt5 and then add .info to create https://goo.gl/bYnSt5.info, I can see total clicks, referrers, browsers, countries and platforms.
Remember this information is all publicly viewable by anyone who has that link. Here’s an example from Google of how the analytics look.