Google is causing quite the buzz on the hosting news networks this week with their recent purchase of the domain g.co. This domain is slated for the purpose of URL shortening for Google-specific products and services. With their already-existing URL shortening service (http://goo.gl), the company has seen fit to further expand their URL shortening repertoire further. The rising prices and demand for these .co domains are being driven by an increasing demand for the shorter and the smaller in domain names. Where is this increase in demand coming from?
Smartphones are on the rise. With the increasing numbers of these in circulation, sites will be receiving a larger percentage of their traffic from mobile devices. How does this fit in with URL shorteners? Since typing has yet to become ‘second nature’ on these devices for many of their users, longer URLs can often be typo’d. This can lead to mobile visitors to your website becoming quickly frustrated. As a website owner, what can you do? Shorter subdomains, or lighter-weight mobile sites are certainly a step in the right direction (m.domain.com is a common example), but why not shorten the actual domain itself? Wellsfargo.com, for example, redirects their mobile traffic to wf.com. While this shorter domain name is not necessarily on-topic of the URL shortening, it does provide an example of the focus on length reduction.
If your company is engaged in a social media campaign, then you understand the nightmare of trying to post long URLs and messy links to Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ now. Similar to the already-discussed issues with wf.com versus Wellsfargo.com, the length constraints on these social media sites lends itself to URL shortening. These shorter URLs clear up valuable space for you to further communicate about your message, without a third or more of your character limit being consumed by cumbersome links.
Setting up a URL shortener can help your business reinforce that ever-important brand memory. Longer domains are simply harder to remember. Having a smaller, more memorable domain that also shortens URLs exclusively for your main site is a great way to reinforce your brand with your clients. TheBusinessInternationalCollective.com sounds and looks professional in writing, but tbic.co is much more manageable and still brings to mind the actual business name.
While using public URL shorteners is certainly an alternative, implementing an exclusive shortener for your products and services protects your clients from phishing schemes, and reassures them that content linked from these domains is genuine. Setting up a URL shortener for your business is a simple, fast, and lightweight tool for easier access and sharing of your content through social media sites and mobile devices, and re-affirms your brand’s memory.