You get a whopping 140 tiny Twitter characters to say what you want to say in a Tweet. As they say, barriers can boost creativity, so people have learned to be pretty witty with 140 characters, even inventing hashtags to make the whole process easier.
Twitter.com: The truth is that the best URL shortener for Twitter is the one that’s built into Twitter. Unless you want to track URLs, you have no need to run to an outside website in order to make your URLs smaller, Twitter only counts links for a certain number of characters now. Twitter even lets you schedule Tweets now ... sort of.
With that said, if you do need to track your URLs, or you want alternative ways to post there are plenty of ways to do it:
Bit.ly: Probably the most popular URL shortener for Twitter because it was one of the first to let you track your tiny URLs. It’s very simple interface will allow you create custom URLs so that it’s not just a random mix of letters and numbers if you want.
TinyURL: Another one of the first, if not the first URL shorteners for Twitter. The website is just as basic it was when it launched, but it does the deed. Want the simplest way to create a Tiny URL? This is it.
Buffer: In order to shorten your URLs, you need to schedule your posts through Buffer who will put your posts in a queue and schedule them to go out at the times you preset. The benefit to Buffer is being able to keep your feed populated even when you’re too busy to post.
Hootsuite: For the professional user, there’s Hootsuite. It’s a free platform for scheduling and managing Tweets, like Tweetdeck. When you schedule a link Tweet via Hootsuite, you can shorten the link to an owl.ly link.
Google: As always, Google has something for you too. Another simple one, you just paste it in and go.
Then there are the ones that people hook up to autofeed into their Twitter accounts, and most of those come with their own shorteners.
I could probably go on and on with a dozen more URL shorteners, but lets be honest, you only need one. Personally, I use Hootsuite for all of my Twitter’ing so I don’t have the need to go out and shorten it separately. And if I was using Twitter.com to Tweet as I sometimes do, then I wouldn’t use one, I’d just let Twitter shorten it.
My third choice, which was once my first choice, is Bitly. I like Bitly because it has a pretty interface and a login for all of the links you create. It’s also popular so a lot of people recognize that a Bitly link is a shortened link and don’t automatically think it’s spam.
That fact makes it easy to use only, in online profiles and anywhere else that you want to put a link and track it. For example, if you want to know how many people click on the website link in your Twitter profile, lots of people use a bit.ly link instead of the direct link to their website.
Also, you can use shortened links in other ads. For example, say you are using UTM codes to track website traffic. You could create a complex UTM code structure for a link but then shorten it via Bitly and use the link on a piece of direct mail. You’d be able to see anytime someone who got your direct mail package in the mail, actually went to your website. How often do you get that kind of data from printed marketing?
But like I said, on Twitter, the Twitter folks have already figured out the whole URL shortening thing. But, if you need to shorten some links off of Twitter, or for other reasons, these are all great options.