Now that this whole Internet thing looks to be more than just a fad, how do you keep up with all the new sites and services coming and going all the time? You’re just one person! But we’re five people! And we get paid to sit in front of a web browser all day! (Yeah, yeah, technically we get paid to build websites, but much of the job is…um…”research.”) So who better than us to point you to the best travel-planning, wedding-planning, or meal-planning sites? You can’t figure all that out — you have planning to do!

URL Shorteners

Jul 15, 2018

Q: I think URL shorteners are heading the way of the dodo. Take for instance. Justify their existence!

A: The fact that Google is killing off its URL shortener should in no way indicate the direction of the field as a whole. If we look back at all of the products Google has killed off over the years (, see what I did there?) you would think that RSS feeds, video chat, Wikipedia, online conferencing and social networking would all be a thing of the past. Google is a business and that just isn’t where they are making their money.

But, if you were in the market for a new URL shortener for some reason, that we can help you out with. But first, let’s recall why shorteners came to be in the first place. In a nutshell, URLs to a specific resource can be long. Sometimes they can exceed a thousand characters.

While copying and pasting from the address bar is easy enough, visually, a long URL is very distracting. Also, popular services like Twitter, which limit the number of characters in their messages, demand the use for URL shortening.

Side benefits, if one takes the time to register with these services, is that content publishers can track how frequently their shortened links are being clicked and by whom. Don’t worry, we don’t do that here so click away on

A downside of URL shortening is that you never really know what is on the other end. Case in point, the URL above. But that is really not that big of a concern, as you can use a URL expander to preview what the shortened URL is before you proceed. Some URL expanders that are available for your abuse are:,,, and, which naturally gives rise to

As you can tell, the shortener we officially use here at PropellerHead Central is the venerable bitly ( The other old-timer in this business is TinyURL ( Just a quick comparison indicates bitly has more polish than TinyURL, but also produces URLs a whopping five characters shorter than TinyURL, (e.g.

Another shortener you can use without having to register for the service is,which beats bitly by one whole character ( There’s also, which is actually pretty cool as it also generates a QR code of the URL for you, AND beats bitly by two whole characters ( Others include, which makes it annoyingly difficult to copy short URLs (, and, which also offers a QR code, with attitude (

One URL shortener service, that isn’t really a shortener, but rather a fun way to make links look scary, is They make any link look nefarious. Just check out:–INITIATE-CREDIT-CARD-XFER–_o2r6gj_awesome-real-life-headshots if you dare.

So shorten away. Of course there is no other way we could end this article but with this Enjoy your day!