Link shortening is the process of taking a long website URL or address and directing it through a much shorter and prettier looking “short link”. There are many reasons why someone might want to use a link shortening service, such as using their links within emails, social media or not wanting to pass along a nasty long URL for someone else to use. Link redirects also come in hand when trying to share content through social media that might otherwise be blocked — for whatever reason.
For site owners with a lot of traffic, link shortening has also become a new source for generating revenue. Link shortening sites like Shorte.st and Adf.ly are two of the most commonly used services for making money with online traffic. In most cases, link redirection for monetization and revenue are used from sites with a high volume of generic traffic — such as file sharing sites or entertainment/viral content sites.
While other link shortening services like Bit.ly allow for quick and easy link shortening, the value in using a service like Shorte.st or Adf.ly is that you can earn revenue in the process.
Here’s a simple breakdown on how paid shortener services work:
- Visit your preferred link shortening service and create a free account
- Copy your long URL into the link shortening section of the site and click the submit button
- When a visitor from your site clicks on the shortened redirect link, they will then be sent to an interstitial page that will display an advertisement
- The end user has the option to view the advertisement or click on the “SKIP” button, to proceed to their original requested destination
- With the advertisement having been served, the redirection service has earned their money from the advertiser and will then issue a commission to their site partner responsible for the site traffic.
To see a visual representation of how this process works, simply refer to the infographic below.
To learn more about generic link shortening services, I highly recommend you take a look at The Beginner’s Guide to URL Shorteners guide from Buffer, featured on B2C. Not only does it cover the basics of link shortening, it also goes into deep review on how sites and marketers and using link shortening to improve user engagement, link management, social media and tracking.
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