Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Ways To Shorten URL Addresses

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I didn’t really pay much attention to shortening url addresses until Miguel Guhlin pointed out to me that it really helps others when you are emailing links or putting them in articles (By the way, if you haven’t see his blog, it’s definitely worth a read). So this leads me to this “The Best…” list.

When I originally wrote this list, the thought didn’t occur to me that someone could create a link-shortening tool that would be ideal for English Language Learners.   I was primarily looking at tools that worked well for anybody.

I was wrong.  I’ve revised this list to first highlight several services that are specifically useful for English Language Learners, primarily by being able to show multiple links — and their screenshots — within one url address.  Seeing the images are obviously helpful to students.  In addition, the fact that you can include multiple links can be helpful for teachers who can organize them for use in Internet Scavenger Hunts (see The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests) and to students who can use them to categorize links and photos (see The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students for an explanation of ways to use this higher-order thinking strategy).

Here are several tools that provide these important screenshots:

Viewista is one. A neat feature of Viewista is that it allows various options on how to view the multiple sites, including vertically and through a slideshow mode. ShareTabs is also similar.

Weblist is similar to Viewista.

Fur.ly is a new tool that lets you combine multiple links into one.  It’s a little different from others I’ve posted about — they show you visual snapshots of each site that you can then click on one at a time. Fur.ly, on the other hand, shows you the first link in the collection and you can then click on arrows to go review each one.

Tiny URL is known to many and is pretty darn easy. All you do is input the lengthy address and out comes a short one that is supposed to be valid forever.

When this list was originally published, I mentioned that Miguel saidSnip URL was his favorite “since it allows you to ‘rename’ the URL. Instead of a hard to remember character string (1t3r), you can have people go to http://snipurl.com/whatever where “whatever” is what you type in.” People liking this feature must not have escaped the notice of Tiny URL since they also just added the same feature this month. Moourl also has this feature.

Another very recent addition to this group is bit.ly, which the Read Write Web blog called the “tiny url of the future.” You can read its post to learn about all of bit.ly’s capabilities. Since this post was published, bitly has become the most popular url shortener service. It has also added the feature of “Bundles,” which allow you to paste the url addresses of multiple websites into one Bit.ly box and get them all showing in one url address. You have to register with Bit.ly, however, in order to use that service.

Page Tweet is a unique url shortener. I’m just going to quote from a great blog called Demo Girl (you should visit her blog because she has a screencast showing how to use Page Tweet) to describe it:

[It]allows you to shrink a URL for sharing on Twitter and other social networking sites, but also allows you to add your own 140 character message to the actual link that you’re sharing. Your message doesn’t appear in your Twitter updates with the link, it appears on the actual site – allowing the people who click on the link to see why you brought them there in the first place.

I could see using it even when you’re not shortening it for a network like Twitter.

Some readers have left some useful ideas and suggestions in the comments section since this list was first posted.  They are definitely worth reading.

Su.pr is a new tool to shorten url addresses that is being developed by Stumbleupon.  Instead of writing a long post explaining it here, you can go to the Make Use Of blog and read their good description.

Bridgeurl lets you add multiple url addresses, and it then provides you with one url address for all of them. Once you click on that one url, you’re shown all the webpages as a slideshow.

Stich.it is another link-shortening service that lets you combine a number of links into one, and then plays them like a slideshow.

Minilogs is a new web tool that lets you group multiple url addresses into one short one. Minilogs stands out because in addition to showing all the url addresses, it shows you a thumbnail image of the site and, more importantly, lets you write notes next to each one. It would be useful for teachers or students who want to create an Internet Scavenger Hunt.

If you found this list helpful, you might want to see the other four hundred ones, too.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

7 Comments

  1. I really like this one:

    http://doiop.com/

    I would point out that educators should use these services carefully. When communicating by email with my parents during the last school year, I realized that the links were denied by the School District’s filters and some internet providers. I also had to provide a link using the link tool from my email client.

    Pierre

  2. Great list – thanks Larry.

    I’ve been using http://moourl.com for a while now as they’ve been offering the choice to personalize the url. I think that’s a great feature so that the address has some meaning to it. I’m glad to see that some other url shorteners have picked up that feature as well.

    Lisa

  3. Hi Larry,

    My favourite is the Shrinkify add on for Firefox (http://shrinkify.com/firefox) With this installed, all you do to shrink a URL is to right-click anywhere on a page and then select Shrinkify. The new URL is automatically copied to your clipboard. –Paul

  4. I´ve been using bitly, Larry, and just love the fact that you can personalize the tiny link. Thanks for your wonderful work. Do you ever sleep?!

  5. I have posted it on the other post, but I see it is more relevant here.

    None of the sites listed above allows you to edit the sites once they are crated. This is why I am using http://brief.ly./

    It also loads all the pages at one, so switching is instant and painless.

    Stats are available for publishers with tonnes of useful data too.

  6. Pingback: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… - The Best Ways To Shorten URL Addresses | Informatics Technology in Education | Scoop.it

  7. I always remember this one :)

    http://kfc.io

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