how to create a short link

D o you want to turn your long URLs into shorter links? If so, you've come to the right place. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to create a short link in WordPress.

When you create a blog, it’s crucial to make your links as appealing as possible so readers will take action. With long, ugly URLs you might turn visitors away. But, with shorter, more visually appealing links, users will be more likely to click through, which can result in more traffic and revenue for you.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create a short link in WordPress so that you can get better results for your blog. Let’s dive in.

First, let’s go into more detail about why it’s a good idea to shorten your links…

Why Shorten Links on Your WordPress Site?

Link shortening is important because it takes a long, difficult-to-remember link and turns it into a link that’s shorter and easier to remember.

Instead of a URL looking like this:

It would turn into a shortened, custom link like this:

The short link still directs users to the same place as the long one, but the shorter link looks much nicer.

So, why does it matter?

Here are a few of the benefits of shortening links on your blog:

  • Make Links Appealing

If users see long URLs like the first example we shared above, not only are they less likely to click through, but it also hurts your brand’s credibility. Longer links are suspicious and signal to new visitors that your site may cause spam, threats, unwanted popups, etc. Professional blogs take the time to properly manage their links so they can build trust with their readers and encourage them to take the next step. Without link shortening, you could be turning away potential customers who take their security seriously.

  • Increase Social Sharing

When you shorten your links, it’s easier for you and your readers to share them on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, as well as other places on the web. It’s much easier to type short URLs than long default URLs. Plus, shorter links give you more room to work with in social media posts since they won’t use up as many characters of your character limit. Social sharing is a key step to driving more organic traffic to your site and boosting engagement.

  • Boost SEO

Shortening links on your site can also improve your search engine ranking. Because it’s difficult to index sites with long URLs, Google and other search engines want URLs that are easy to index and follow the latest SEO practices, like including relevant keywords. You also risk having broken links and creating a poor user experience when you keep long URLs on your site.

  • Mask Affiliate Links

By creating short links, you can also improve your affiliate marketing strategy. Affiliate links are typically very long and full of tracking parameters, which can scare users off from clicking on them. But, with a short, custom link, more of your readers will be likely to click on your affiliate links and buy.

  • Improve Link Management

Going through each individual link on your website and directing it where you want is a time-consuming process. Instead of laboring over your link strategy, using link management software frees up your time so you can focus on other things. It also ensures that your links look how you want them to without the hassle of editing each one. Plus, most link management tools let you monitor how your links are performing with visitors. So, you can use these insights to tweak your overall marketing strategy.

Now that you know all about how shorter links can benefit your blogging strategy, we’ll show you how to create short links using the best WordPress short link plugin…

How to Create a Short Link in WordPress with Pretty Links

To shorten your links, we recommend using a plugin called Pretty Links.

pretty links best URL shortener and link management tool

Pretty Links is the best link management plugin for WordPress. It allows you to transform long, unappealing links into shorter, prettier links. You don’t need to mess with any code which also makes it beginner-friendly.

The shortened links you create with Pretty Links on your WordPress website can be shared anywhere you’d like, including social media, email campaigns, PDF and Word Documents, forums, QR Codes, and more.

And unlike other link management tools like Bitly or Tiny URL, Pretty Links lets you create short links that originate from your own domain. This gives your blog additional credibility so you can build trust with visitors.

As a blogger, the keyword replacement feature is also super useful. Pretty Links will analyze your content and automatically add links to the keywords you’ve specified.

Pretty Links comes with other powerful features like:

  • User data and analytics
  • Nofollow and noindex links
  • Custom URL slugs
  • Link grouping based on products, affiliates, and more
  • Detailed user reports
  • Cookie based system for tracking visitor activity across clicks
  • And more…

If you want to learn how to create a short link in WordPress with Pretty Links, let’s dive into the steps right now.

1. Install and Activate the Pretty Links Plugin

First, you’ll need to install and activate Pretty Links on your WordPress site.

You can download the free version straight from WordPress and start using your new plugin right away. The free version comes with everything you need to create short links in WordPress.

pretty links free URL shortener

If you’re looking for advanced link management features, you can also purchase a paid plan directly from Pretty Links by clicking the Get Pretty Links button on the website.

pretty links pro version

With a premium subscription to Pretty Links, you get access to powerful features like:

  • Advanced redirect types
  • Auto-create pretty links
  • Auto-link keywords
  • Priority support
  • Robot filtering
  • And more…

For this tutorial, however, we’re going to stick with the free version of Pretty Links.

If you need assistance with setting it up, check out our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, it’s time to create your first shortened link.

2. Create a New Link

After the plugin is installed, you’ll see a welcome page and the Pretty Links navigation link will be added to your WordPress admin dashboard.

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Pretty Links » Add New:

pretty links welcome dashboard

This will open up a page where you’ll be able to create a new pretty link.

At the top of the page, you can add a title. Adding a title will help you remember what you created each short link for. This makes it easier to manage your custom short links once you’ve created a lot of them.

add a title for your short link

After you add a title, you need to decide what type of redirect you want your new link to be.

choose redirection type

You can choose between:

  • 307 (Temporary):  This type tells search engines that this redirect may change in the future.
  • 302 (Temporary): Best for redirects that only last for a certain amount of time or until its removed.
  • 301 (Permanent): A permanent redirect used to tell search engines that the original URL has permanently moved to a new URL.

Depending on what kind of link you’re shortening, you can choose the appropriate redirect option without harming your SEO.

Next, you need to insert your Target URL. This is the original URL that you want to create a short link for. Users will be redirected to this page when clicking on your new short URL.

add target url

As you can see in the screenshot above, under Pretty Link*, a short Pretty Link is automatically created for you. But, you can also customize it to make it more readable or to match your brand.

There’s also a Notes section at the bottom where you can add details about the link so it’s easy to locate and remember. Your site visitors won’t see the notes you add.

In the Advanced tab, you can further customize your shortened link.

how to create a short link in wordpress - configure short link settings

Here, you can configure 4 different settings:

  • No Follow: Add a nofollow and noindex to your link’s http redirect header (recommended)
  • Sponsored: Add a sponsored attribute to your link’s http redirect header (recommended for affiliate links)
  • Parameter Forwarding: Forward parameters passed to this link onto the target URL
  • Tracking: Enable Pretty Link’s built-in hit (click) tracking to monitor how your links are performing

When you’re done, click Update to save your work:

click update to create a short link

You’ve just successfully created your first shortened link!

When you hit the Update button, you’ll be taken to a new page where a list of your new links will appear once you create them.

list of short links on your website

On this page, you can see how many clicks your new links are getting. You can also click the clipboard icon to copy your link to share it on social media or other platforms and start racking up clicks and engagement.

Note: Upgrading to the Pro plan allows you to add categories, tags, and keywords to your links as well.

3. Track Your Link Clicks

Once you create your Pretty Links, it’s crucial to track their progress and see how they perform with users.

By going to Pretty Links » Clicks, you can see all the clicks your links received during a specific time period:

This report shows each link that has been clicked as well as the timestamp, URL, and referrer.

If you want to create more advanced reports to visualize your link data, you’ll need to upgrade to Pretty Links Pro.

Pretty Links Pro comes with all the reports, data, and analytical information you need to improve your current linking strategy.

By going to Pretty Links » Reports, you can create custom reports for your shortened links.

Here’s an example of a conversion report:

With a report like this, you can quickly see the results of your linking strategy.

Once you add the report you want to create, you can export and use them however you’d like.

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully shortened the links on your WordPress blog.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you’re interested in other similar content, feel free to check out our post on the best WordPress plugins for bloggers. We go over all of the top tools that will help you take your blog to the next level.

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