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URL shortener services for government social media

May 31, 2022

Contributed blog by Ariana Donley, Web & Social Media Specialist at Government Social Media

The U.S. General Services Administration recently announced its free and popular URL shortening service go.USA.gov will sunset on September 18, 2022.

While the announcement of the service ending saddened many government social media professionals and prompted a discussion in the Government Social Media Community Facebook Group, the good news is that there are still other options out there to help you shorten your links. Explore other tools — and more on why this could be useful to your agency’s social media — below. 

Why shrink links? 

A common reason for shortening links is appearance; however, many believe these links can also increase shares of your content. Additionally, several URL shortening service providers also offer additional features that can help you gain more insight into content performance, including popular times to post, device-type tracking or A/B testing, just to name a few. 

Shortener options

While there are many free services to choose from, it’s important to note that they may come with restrictions such as how many links you can generate per month, the number of clicks allowed on a link or the number of custom domains you can add.

If you’re frequently in need of URL shortening services or would like to have advanced features, a paid account may be right for you. Here are popular URL service providers that offer both free and paid plans: 

Automatic and integrated services 

If social media is your primary reason for condensing links, some social networks automatically offer a way to do so. 

Twitter has the capability, which is welcome news! Twitter’s Lauren Devoll highlighted during a keynote session at the 2022 Government Social Media Conference that short is often better on the platform and, of course, with a limited character count for each post, this service can help share long URLs without needing to majorly reduce your copy text. If you post a link longer than 26 characters on LinkedIn, it will automatically be shortened

Also, don’t overlook services you may already be using or paying for — some may have the ability to create these URLs for you or allow integrations that would. For example, the URL shortener by Zapier integrations. 

Accessibility and safety

With anything you do on social media, accessibility should always be a consideration. Student Disability Services at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center created a video tutorial showing how you can make links accessible in PDF documents and how to use TinyURL to generate meaningful links. 

No matter what service provider you choose, always remember to do your research to ensure that any service you use to shorten your links is click safe for you and the public you serve. The University of Michigan offers a quick safety guide regarding short URLs

Best communicate with the public you serve by becoming a part of the free Government Social Media network — only available to full/part-time employees of government or educational institutions. 

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community.

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