The Power of Custom URL Shorteners: A Practical Guide

By TinyURL Marketing

Last updated on April 11, 2023

Custom URL shorteners can make a big difference in the success of your marketing. This article goes into the how’s and why’s of its impact on brands and businesses, while also offering tips on how you can get started.

Link shorteners are an increasingly important tool as the internet grows to involve more and more of our daily lives. This is especially true for businesses, where sharing links isn’t as simple as dumping a mile-long URL into a chat window and calling it a day. Rather, brevity, user-friendliness, and brand recall all factor into a business’ success no matter what they do online.

Custom URL shorteners make links easier to see, easier to remember, and ultimately easier to click than if they were sent bare. As you can imagine, this can be a big step toward improving the performance of marketing and promotional materials: the difference between getting paid and wasting money is whether people click. 

This article covers the ins and outs of custom URL shorteners, from how they work to how you can use them to grow your bottom line.

What is a custom URL shortener?

Let’s break down the term. First off a custom link shortener lets you customize parts of a shortened link such as the alias (the back half that goes after .com/ ) to be more descriptive and recognizable. With a service like TinyURL, you could even use a branded domain (the front half of a link) to turn the entire link into a brand asset.

The actual shortening process is simple. A custom URL shortener works using HTTP redirects: a signpost from the shortening service to a person’s browser that sends them over to the intended destination. Technically, anyone with a website could do it: if they had the time, talent, or budget to dive to program each redirect by hand. Since most don’t, link shorteners are a natural solution: the service takes care of all the technical work..

In a way, “custom URL shortener” is a bit of a misnomer, as the shortener doesn’t actually do anything to the original URL. Instead, it creates a new URL that you can fully customize, which in turn tells browsers, “Hey, this way to the party.

Why create custom URLs?

Why go through all the trouble of using a custom URL shortener like TinyURL? Well, customizable shortened links have a ton of applications in making online life easier all around.

Custom URLs can be easier to remember

Customized URLs can be made more descriptive and memorable. For example, if you’re looking to share your portfolio, you wouldn’t want to memorize a full Artstation or Behance URL if you could simply create a shortened link for yourself.

By using a custom URL shortener, you can make links that carry your branding regardless of how well-established you are, and without even needing to own your own website. 

Custom URLs are easier to share

Custom URL shorteners make it easier to share anything, from interesting videos, to artwork, or professional resources. You don’t need to memorize long links or flood a chat with an ugly direct link full of alphanumeric keyboard smashes. Instead, you can wind up with links that are effortless to say aloud or remember after seeing them in print.

It’s particularly useful on social media or SMS marketing, where character counts and readability are at a premium.

Custom URLs are easier on the eyes

Custom URL shorteners can also generate short links that are easier to look at. It’s a welcome treat for any user to see, for once, a link that doesn’t look like what you get when a cat steps across a keyboard.

Custom URLs can be branded

Custom URL shorteners also give digital marketers the option to create branded links that combine the benefits of shortened links with the weight of your business branding.

While free users can usually customize a link’s alias, TinyURL gives premium users the option to secure and use branded domains: proprietary domains that clearly identify your business as the source of a shortened link.

Custom URLs can conceal tracking aids

A custom URL shortener can also conceal unsightly tracking aids such as long UTM strings at the end of your URLs. A UTM or urchin tracking module can generate traffic data for platforms like Google Analytics: it’s a valuable tool for gathering marketing metrics for your digital promotions. UTMs are also, sadly, really long and rather ugly. 

A good custom URL shortener will have no problem generating a new shortened link while transferring over all the benefits you’d ordinarily get from a UTM tag at the tail end of your original link.

Custom URLs can provide traffic metrics

Even if you don’t set up your own UTMs, a custom URL shortener like TinyURL can provide you with traffic analysis data for digital marketing metrics as good as or even better than a UTM attached to a link.

TinyURL’s shortened links can track metrics like peak traffic times, the geographic regions of your viewers, the kinds of devices used to view your links, and other important information that can be valuable aid to your digital marketing analytics efforts.

Why Work with TinyURL?

As the oldest name in the link shortening game, TinyURL pioneered the custom URL shortener in 2002 and broke ground in providing free and premium link shortening options for everyday users and enterprise customers. Our platform is reliable and secure, with simple tools for managing your shortened links as well as an analytics dashboard that can drill down to the metrics of individual links, or give you the big picture performance of entire campaigns.


We hope this tiny guide has gone a long way towards convincing you of the value of a good custom URL shortener. It’s your gateway to fully branded and oh-so-clickable links for your personal and business needs.

For more information, check out the information we have on features like link management and analytics.

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