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 (unfortunately, many of those are now defunct).  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:

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.

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.

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

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.

Cuttly is a new url shortener tool.

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