I was going to write a Top 10 Best URL Shorteners like tinyurl, bit.ly, ow.ly and most recently goo.gl but after a quick Google search discovered that plenty of people have done this ad nauseam. According to the URLshortener.org there are over 1,100 URL shorteners currently online with new ones added everyday (they’ve compiled the biggest list to date). Quite frankly, I’m not sure what’s the point of creating yet another URL shortener but then again I feel the same way about Reality TV.

So, instead, a word of caution about overdoing it with URL shorteners. These services are good for use with microblogging sites like Twitter where every character counts but that’s it. Since a URL shortener replaces the original (long) URL domain name with that shortener’s own domain name you really don’t know where that link links too. Spammers and other shady types exploit this fact to trick people into clicking a link in a tweet or an email. Some URL shorteners like Twitter’s Link Service (http://t.co) do a decent job protecting users from malicious intent but it is not foolproof.

Use a reputable URL shortener (like the ones mentioned in this post) when you have to, not every time you write a link in a blog comment and certainly not on your own website or blog. That brings me to another point; domain names are part of your branding so why would you replace it with someone else’s domain if you don’t have too. From an SEO perspective, you should use your own URLs whenever you have the opportunity (this includes social networks).