Why use URL shorteners?

By: Julian Moss

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It's the posh technical term for a web address. Web addresses normally take the form http://www.somesite.com/somepage.html, which is not too much of a problem. But some site names can get very long, and so can page names. The increased use of database-driven sites mean that URLs can get very long indeed, and most of them is computer gobbledygook. They are impossible to type in, if you are reading them in a print article, and often get corrupted by word-wrapping when they appear in an email or blog posting.

You must have seen them. Web addresses like http://tinyurl.com/2gj2z3 which, when you click on them, take you to another web page. Why use them? Are there any risks in using them?

An URL shortener is a web service that takes a long address that's hard to type, and turns it into a short one. You should use them in articles for print publication, classified ads, emails, blog and forum postings, anywhere there is a danger that the full address may be corrupted, or that someone may need to type the address into a browser manually.

But there is a danger in using short URLs that may make people afraid to use them. The short address disguises the real destination. This makes it easy for somebody to post an innocent looking message encouraging people to click on a link that takes them to a site which infects their computer with spyware, or something equally undesirable.

Some URL shortening services have tried to address this problem. The most well-known service, TinyURL.com, has an optional preview page that shows you the target address before you go there. But you have to know to type "preview" in front of the address, or visit the site and set it as a permanent option. Those who don't know about this are still vulnerable to deception.

A safe URL shortener would not allow the creation of links to undesirable sites. It would also always display a preview page, so the user always sees where the link is taking them before they go there. xaddr.com uses Internet blacklists to prevent its use to disguise sites that are advertised by spam. Its preview page offers a link to McAfee's Site Advisor, which can be used to check the safety of the destination.

Next time you need to write a long web address, use an URL shortener. But to encourage confidence that no harm will come from clicking the link, pick a safe one.

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Getting Your First Links Using Link Directories

Written by: Tom Dahne

What are Link Directories?

Link directories exist to help websites exchange links. These links are also called reciprocal links. If website A and website B want to exchange links then website A links to website B and website B links to website A. This way both the websites benefit. The value of reciprocal links in terms of search engine optimization may not be much.

But it is a good start.

Link directories exist only for one purpose. They are a meeting place for website owners who want to do link exchanges with like-minded people. The other website owners won't complain if you request a link. They will gladly exchange links with you.

Link Directories - For The First Links:

Many established web site owners would not exchange links with you unless your home page or links page or both have a page rank. For a site that has just been launched this is impossible.

To quickly boost the link popularity of your website register with link directories and start exchanging links with the numerous websites listed there. The owners of these websites have registered at the link directories to specifically get link exchanges. This is the easiest and quickest way to get links for your website.

Other Linking Options You Should Explore:

Of course there are numerous other methods of getting links apart from link directories and web directories.
  • You can submit articles in article directories.
  • Post useful solutions and opinions on forums and leave a signature with a link to your website behind,
  • Answer questions At Yahoo Answers,
  • Buy links from sites, which have high page ranks
  • Sponsor websites
  • Run ads on online newspapers, popular websites and forums.
  • Use press releases.
The methods listed above are effective in getting good quality one-way links. Though some options may be ruled out if you are on a tight budget.

Some of them like article writing and submitting to directories is a time consuming process but even for this you can use automated software to do the work for you. But again, this costs money. Then again some website and forum owners won't allow you to post a link back to your site to prevent spammers from wrecking their websites.

In the early days of the web it was ridiculously easy to get links. Spammers have unfortunately queered the pitch for genuine website owners.

A newbie website owner will be quickly discouraged if their links requests are turned down one after another by webmasters who can't distinguish a genuine website owner from a spammer. Link exchange directories fill the need for free link exchanges between website owners with out being termed as pests, spammer or being outright rejected.

You can get loads of links from like-minded individuals at link directories. Link directories are a blessing in disguise for newbie webmasters and even veterans looking to boost their link popularity. With patience, persistence and will you can get hundreds of back links to your website from thousands of website owners.

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