How to Host Your own Short URLs

Linking to your blog from Twitter with TinyURL is making you invisible. Host your own short URL’s for maximum exposure. In this post Martin Wright from (@mawawa) shows you how.

Links grow blogs. Short URL’s break blogs.

Links are the lifeblood of blogs. Blogs are successful because of reciprocal links. This is broken by short URL’s. All of this is broken by Twitter as a default behavior.

Short URL’s hide the link destination. They are the anti-link. The link destination is completely hidden. When used in a Twitter post, the destination of a short URL link can only be assumed by the content of the tweet. Someone may be inclined to follow links to your blog posts, but not to other sites you’re linking too (we haven’t got all day!) With a short URL they don’t know where they’re going and don’t bother to click.

The Short URL Wordpress Plugin allows short URL aliases to be created for posts on your Wordpress blog. This would turn into Not quite as short, but much more useful, I know which site I’m being taken to. Is it short enough? Yes. Twitter only applies TinyURL to URL’s over 30 characters.

Would you prefer that other bloggers mentioned your posts on Twitter using or Remember that Twitter is searchable, if links to your site are easy to read they’re easy to find.

If you are a blogger that cross posts on Twitter you are creating blind links without destination. Domain specific URL’s give better quality links and descriptive URL’s that will give you more clickthroughs. Stop using TinyURL for promoting your blog posts, it’s making you invisible!

Martin Wright sees both good and evil in short URL’s. He has tried to ‘fix’ this problem with


  • December 5, 2008

    I’ve never thought about that really! I will have to look at that plugin, very useful!

    Kind regards,

  • December 5, 2008

    This makes total sense to not use short URLs. I had no idea of the implications.

    The reason why they are popular is because they allow a really long url like “” to fit within the character limit.

    The question is how do we get around that?

  • December 5, 2008

    Cool idea. Thanks for the plug-in. I’ve been using another service instead of tinyurl that allows me to optimize some of the link but I can see the advantage of this especially when I am using long urls in my newsletters too!

  • December 5, 2008

    best advice i have read all week. great tip as your links are visual brands for your site.

  • December 5, 2008

    Thanks for the tip! I’m installing this right now.

    You should know that Andy Baily (CommentLuv) is working on a Twitter plugin – I have it installed for my journal – it’s working great.

  • December 5, 2008

    Expand those short urls with the LongURL Mobile Expander – FireFox Add-on: :-p

  • December 5, 2008

    Hi Martin – Nice plugin.

    If you hover over a tinyurl on the twitter website, you will get the URL for the site. This doesn’t, however, seem to work with bitly, which is what I usually use for shortening.

    On there is an expand link with the url, which shows the full url too. I would like to see this built into the twitter home page and the 3rd party apps like tweetdeck and twhirl.

  • December 5, 2008

    Excellent idea – thanks for sharing this. I can see how this will be great for Twitter, and I can imagine a lot of other uses for it too. I’m installing it now.

  • December 5, 2008

    Will it help PageRank?

  • December 5, 2008

    Thanks for the post! I’m glad to learn there is an alternative to the anonymous URL’s that TinyURL produces.

    And thanks for the tip about the Short URL WordPress Plugin. I’ll be looking into it today!

  • December 5, 2008


    My opinion is that the number of clicks on a links in a Twitter post is directly depending on two major things :
    1. the person who post it (70%)
    2. what you say about the link (20%)

    The other 10% of clicks are from people that just click. I use the for shorter links and I’m happy cuz I can write more letters. But that’s only me.

    Thank you

  • December 5, 2008

    Short, sweet, helpful. I’m lovin’ it. I’m doin’ it. Heading over for the plug-in right now!


  • December 5, 2008

    Brilliant. Thanks for the tip!

  • December 5, 2008

    Hm. This doesn’t seem to be working for me – perhaps it’s because I have WordPress v2.7 installed? Can anyone else verify this?

  • December 5, 2008

    I also had problems with it. If you read the readme file it says the following:
    Add this RewriteRule ^u/([0-9]+)$ wp-content/plugins/u.php?$1 to your htaccess file…

    I think I did that correctly (but maybe not) and it isn’t working for me either. I get a page not found when I try to use the shortlink and it doens’t redirect at all.

    I’m sure that I’m not doing the htaccess change correctly, but can anyone give more instruction on how to make that change?


  • December 5, 2008

    Just when I thought the key to becoming my best friend was recommending Tequila shooters and a nap, this posts raises the bar!!!

    Absolutely the best post in the whole wide web!!!


  • December 5, 2008

    Hm, installed it, added an url and now it points to a totally different post than the target url. Weird stuff…

    Unfortunately, not such a good plugin.

  • December 5, 2008

    THANK YOU for this post, because it’s one of the reasons I hate using tinyurl. Not to mention that I also like to know where I’m going when I click a link–how can you avoid spam sites if you can’t read the address?

  • December 5, 2008

    I’m not really into this type of thing. I think just putting your URL to whatever page is fine with me. It then turns it into a tinyURL. I guess it just works fine with me.

  • December 5, 2008

    Very good information. I’ve never thought that we had this facility. Until now I’m using since I can put any niche related to my site after “/” .
    e.g I give my friends “freereport” so my URL will be

  • December 5, 2008

    That’s why when linking to certain very important things I always use the URL … it’s supposed to be short anyway due to SEO and user friendliness.

    Now to think of how to make short aliases for my blog posts!

  • December 5, 2008

    Nice tip, Darren. It’s going to come in handy. I LOVE TwiTip! It’s gonna take off. Keep up your fantastic work!!

  • December 5, 2008

    Wow thanks for the post on this plugin. Never knew about that, am going to try.

  • December 6, 2008

    Gosh I was totally off base! That plug in totally makes sense. I totally misread your post! sorry.

  • December 6, 2008

    I would like to know if Twitip use this plugin.

  • December 6, 2008

    Yes you give a good point of view of what we would like to do, but juts imagine that the are person that juts know to menage wordpress and that its a hard job, but there are other that need to contract people to administer ther own page so i don’t see how they will do to implement this.

    But at the same time its good that they try something new to a track more people to your blog.

  • December 6, 2008

    This is a killer plugin. I didn’t realize that links in Twitter could count as good links for your blog or website. Now I know and now I installed! Thanks Darren

  • December 8, 2008

    Intriguing idea, something I never considered for the BLOG side.

    But here’s a question, maybe someone out there has a better solution that the status quo:

    I habitually tweet my new blog posts upon publication. I have a separate broadcast-only feed at @ariwriterdotcom, where tinyurls are formed out of twitterfeed.

    I’d like cut down on the tinies. Is there a way to tweet the same url for both without waiting the time to pass for twitterfeed to update itself?

  • December 20, 2008

    Sometimes, using a URL masking service such as provides a good way to hide the destination. Sure this destroys SEO but often times you just don’t want the visitors to see where they are going (e.g. URL hacking).

  • January 18, 2009

    Here’s a way to have short URL using your WordPress blog domain, without the need of any plugins:

  • February 12, 2009

    Here is a better, though slightly more labor intensive (initially) solution using a separate tweaked WP install:

    (the link itself is an example of what the redirect engine/url shorterner will look like, obviously with your own short domain)

  • February 13, 2009

    Very informative post, thanks a lot!

  • February 16, 2009

    I’ve always manually cross posted on twitter like this: “On my blog: Blog Title – a short description of what the post is about. tiny url.”

    I’m afraid of anything more complicated, usually, but I’ll try it.

  • March 31, 2009

    I agree on this. On very important pages where I want to promo the link, I create my own “tinyurl” for maximum exposure. I use a 5 digit domain and create my own folders such as (where xxxxx = 5 digit domain name & folder = promo word) and set a redirect if necessary to the landing page. This allows me to “promo” the link.

    BTW, tinyurl passes along page rank to you – they use 301 permanent redirect.


  • April 15, 2009

    The mac has a great multiple clipboard tool called CopyPaste Pro that has a link shortener built in so you just highlight click a button and you have the short URL in the clipboard to paste anywhere.

    Also it is just as essential as the clipboard itself. Seriously useful.

  • June 10, 2010

    I haven’t really thought that twitter breaks the links and it’s really not so great for SEO’s it will make a very big impact if all blog post are like that. Well I’d say that I learned a lot from reading this Thanks

  • December 4, 2010

    Hi Darren, This is very helpful information and I will be following your writing articles. Thank you!

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