How hard is it to create a URL shortener?
The simple answer is that it is not too difficult. A software engineer can quickly rotate the code to shorten the connection, and there are many resources and guides online to guide you through how to do this.
However, there are many factors that can increase costs and cause a company more headaches than it is worth. Below are eight reasons not to make your own URL shortener and why it might be better to invest with a proven solution.
1 – Cost and time
“Time is money” is an old saying related to opportunity costs. They are there constantly costs associated with technology development; monetary and non-monetary. To create a connection truncation, the developer must be assigned resources to write the code, and the infrastructure must be set up to run the service.
We have heard from customers who have tried to develop their own shortener that their opportunity and cash costs have skyrocketed. The time spent in developing, purchasing new infrastructure and maintaining their service has increased significantly over time.
The proven solution has economies of scale. They have already invested in infrastructure and engineering that allow them to work more efficiently at lower costs.
2 – Features
Developing your own link shortening solution can solve the initial use case, but as requirements evolve, more features will become needed. Things can quickly spiral out of control once you begin to understand the many different features and tools, which solutions to shorten the above links must offer.
For example, features like QR codes and the ability to change the destination of the URL make your links more versatile and give your brand more control. Equally important, the team behind the product will constantly take customer feedback into account and release new features based on consumer needs.
3 – Analytics
Today’s retailers revolve around the world of metrics to understand engagement with their content and communications and make decisions based on data. To do this, it is not enough to simply count the number of clicks the link generates. The accuracy Measurement data is also important.
This is crucial because bot indexing tools programmatically click on links, which can lead to heavily inflated metrics. For a more accurate view of your online engagement, these clicks on bots should be filtered out. This, again, requires time and effort.
The best connection management tools can help you keep track of things like:
- Which website did the click come from?
- Engagement time
- Geolocation data
You can also take advantage of their tools to help you understand that engagement. For example, some platforms will allow this group your links by channel or campaign and export the data for deeper analysis. More advanced platforms will even allow you to collect historical data using their API and access a stream of click data via web hook.
4 – Reliability
You may expect your custom software to run continuously and reliably, but there are often unforeseen interruptions and program errors. Troubleshooting and resolving these issues reduces a company’s resources, such as engineering time.
The proven solution will have the support and engineering teams to solve problems as soon as they arise, regardless of the time of day. When you run a knee-deep campaign, the last thing you’ll have to worry about is shutting down.
5 – Scalability
Creating a small number of truncated links and collecting basic metrics may be possible. However, most brands expect their business and its initiatives to grow. As new uses for your solution emerge, you may find yourself should be scaled your ability to shorten relationships. What was once needed for a hundred connections could become thousands or even millions of connections.
An solution for the company will support in-band link generation and programmatically retrieve link analytics.
6 – Integrations
The platforms you use on a daily basis may not integrate with your custom solution. Ideally, the link shortener you use will make it easy for you integrate with platforms you already use, instead of working on multiple platforms to achieve this.
7 – Safety and compliance
As internal solutions are built, forgotten – and yet extremely important – factors often include security and compliance. Data and privacy policies are constantly evolving; is your newly developed GDPR shortener compliant? Are there mechanisms to protect your connections and data?
A reliable solution will offer important security features such as spam filtering and blocking malicious connections and, not to be too technical, ensure that their systems are free of vulnerabilities through third-party application penetration tests.
8 – Compatibility
The Internet ecosystem is constantly evolving. Browsers are changing and updating standards. This inevitably affects your relationships. Technical debt can be worrisome, as it can be extremely difficult to keep track of every single nuance of the impact on your relationships.
Solid link shortening solution:
- Deal with marginal cases and general internet “oddity”
- Be compatible with all browsers of different types
- Stay up to date with the latest internet standards
It’s great to take here, yes, it’s definitely possible for your business to create its own URL shortener. But, like many of our customers, you might find that it’s more of a hassle than it’s worth to come up with a solution less than ideal.
Visit our website to find the right Bitly solution for your business.