Working with large Web address can be bothersome on many levels. For instance, If you like to send links to things your friends and family may find interesting, you know how much of a pain huge URLs can be. If you build Web sites, post links on blogs or are an active member of a forum or two, then you probably know as well what a pain these lengthy addresses can be.
Look at this example of an out of control URL from an item on Amazon.com:
That’s bloody ridiculous. Could you imagine e-mailing this out to a couple of friends that may be interested? And that’s what I’m talking about. This monster could be an enormous amount of baggage especially if it were an address I used frequently.
Now what If I told you that I could take this super-sized Web address and shorten it down from 513 characters to just a mere 26? With no gimmicks and complete functionality, I can shrink this URL down to a more manageable size. With a wave of my magic mouse and by speaking the magical technical words…Presto!
It is done! The address above will now take you to the exact same place as that monstrosity above and it’s permanent. This isn’t something you need to do every time you want to convert an address.
As I’m sure you guessed, there’s no magic involved. I can’t even do a card trick. Instead, I used what they call a site redirector called SnipURL, which does all the work for me. Using SnipURL is easy as pie. All you have to do is dump the address into the box and select the SnipURL button. That’s it!
SnipURL isn’t the only site redirector out there, but I like it better then the rest because of the bounty of features it offers. If you want to take advantage of all of SnipURL’s features, you are going to need to create a user account, (which takes two seconds to fill out with no sensitive information being traded) but after you see the lists of features it has to offer, you’ll understand.
TinyURL is also a great free site redirector that has no signup and is very easy to use. It also includes tips on how to add it to your links toolbar in your browser.
Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy from using SnipURL:
1.FUNCTIONS IN FIVE LANGUAGES (and more coming soon!)
The Web site can be viewed in English, text only versions  in each of these languages, so that makes it 10 types of Web sites as I write this. Among these languages, it covers at least 80 percent of the world, if not more.
2. MORE INTUITIVE URLs WITH NICKNAMES
Don’t like URLs like http://SnipURL.com/h because they are just some random text? Then you can make http://SnipURL.com/digicam_review and post more intuitive URLs to your mailing lists or in your newsletters with sophisticated user tracking, etc.
3. PROTECTED SNIPPED URLs (private)
Worried that people can basically guess http://SnipURL.com/i , it will become http://SnipURL.com/i-secret where “secret” is your password. Private “snippings” are excluded from the statistics or search, of course.
4. MULTIPLE SNIPPINGS
Now you can snip many URLs in one, go: http://SnipURL.com/multi
5. INTUITIVE STATISTICS AND SEARCH IN “MYSNIPURL”
A quick registration process gives you access to all the URLs you have snipped in one screen, along with click through statistics. You can also search for the URLs you have snipped by entering keywords that were contained in the original link or the nicknames you gave to your snipped URLs. Apart from your own URLs, it also offers some popular statistics under the EVERYTHING ELSE section, which includes for instance, the Most Popular Snippings.
6. EDIT SNIPPINGS!
If your underlying link has expired or is a deadlink, you can always edit your snippings from the MYSNIPURL page. (None of the comparable Web sites that I am aware of offer a possibility to edit your snippings).
A spiffy shortcut allows you to add a “bookmarklet” to your browser and “snip” URLs quickly (for people who do not understand bookmarklets, we have a little visual help: http://SnipURL.com/SnipThis.htm which is a flash animation and opens in a new window or a more detailed FAQ). After the shortcut is installed on your browser bar, snipping is as easy as:
-Copy to clipboard quickly (pop up window closes automatically after you copy the snipped URL in your clipboard).
-Share the snipped URL right from this Web site.
-Compose new mails (using your default e-mail client). The snipped URL is automatically inserted.
8. MANAGE YOUR SNIPPED URLs EASILY IN EXCEL
MYSNIPURL has a “LIST ALL ” feature that allows you to view all your snipped URLs in one plain page. This can be easily imported into Excel using the following:
DATA –> IMPORT EXTERNAL DATA –> NEW WEB QUERY –> http://SnipURL.com/listSnips.php
All your snips will show immediately in Excel (assuming you are logged in on the SnipURL Web site) and you can conveniently see and manage the entire list of your snips in Excel, including counts of each. Save this Excel file and next time, all you need to put in is DATA –> REFRESH DATA. That’s it! Now you can manage your snippings through Excel instead of MYSNIPURL!
9. REAL REDIRECTS
SnipURL will also let you do “deep snipping.” So if your snipped Web site is “http://SnipURL.com/e” (which points to the Web site “http://www.copyright.gov“) and you have directories and files below that level, you can access them using “http://SnipURL.com/e/carp/index.html, ” which is actually http://www.copyright.gov/carp/index.html.
10. SPAM CONTROL
11. VISUAL INDICATION OF URL TYPES
While in the statistics Web page, a visual icon indicates what the nature of the underlying URL is. i.e.http://SnipURL.com/else.php, so that you can decide before you unwittingly click on an executable file or a PDF file, for instance.
12. PERMANANT SNIPPINGS
Your snipped or shortened URLs will be left as they are (you can always edit them too, of course). Snipped URLs never die, they just get spam protected, if anything.
13. TEXT-ONLY VERSION FOR DIAL-UP USERS, OR FOR MINIMALISTS IN GENERAL
If you find graphics obstructing your work (although they make the information more visually intuitive, the site recommends using this version if possible), then you can use the toned down text version as well. Read more about this in our FAQ .
14. A PUBLIC STATISTICS PAGE WITH FLOOD CONTROL
A public statistics page (http://SnipURL.com/else.php) allows you to see the most popular snippings. A “flood control” mechanism is implemented in this Web page so that unfairly “bumped” accesses to URLs are carefully chaffed out. And of course, users can search these too. “Protected” URLs are not included in this public view, of course.
15. A PERL API
SnipURL now exists as a Perl API for those who are interested! Click here to go get the module at CPAN. (Thanks to Taguchi-san of Cisco for letting us know about this).
So if you’re somebody that is always working with links, this may be a service you want to check out. It could make your life a little easier anyway.