Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular social media websites. Although we all use these services every day to share images, videos, and links, there is a character limit that needs to be taken into account every time you post this information. In addition to social sites, sharing long URLs in emails looks nothing short of unprofessional and messy. Instead of reducing your actual content down to size, why not just ensure your website links aren’t taking up too much space?
There are tons of services to shorten our links or URLs. Each one of these services, in their default state, require physical access to their site to copy the URL and generate a smaller link. This is sometimes tedious and can deter the desire to do so. We’ve put together four great Firefox add-ons that can shorten a link really quick. These extensions will place either an icon or context menu link on every page you visit for super simple shortening. Try them out and see what works best for your needs.
Shorten URL (Bit.ly)
Install Shorten URL for Firefox here to get access to your Bit.ly account when shortening links. Just log in with the appropriate information from the Extensions page and get an API key here. Plug this information in the Preferences dialog box and click Test to ensure it works.
This extension doesn’t just allow shortening but also includes toolbar items for sharing the link. You can share via Gmail, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, Evernote, and others. You’ll also be notified of every URL copy with a small pop-up on the bottom of the screen.
TinURL makes quite small URLs that are great for Twitter and the like. Install a Firefox add-on here to make it even easier to use than accessing the website every time you need to shorten a URL. There are a few options for this extension like creating a Previewable link so the recipient can see the link before they access the resulting page.
No toolbar icon is installed with the add-on, but rather a right-click context menu called Create TinyURL for this Page.
Install Copy ShortURL here to add a right-click context menu. The menu is called Copy Short URL and uses the is.gd shortening service. However, if used on sites like YouTube, Flickr, WordPress and others, the sites own shortening service will prevail.
You can also choose your own service from the Extensions page.
Goo.gl has always been my favorite URL shortener because it plugs directly into my Google account. Follow this link to get a 3rd party add-on installed for Firefox to do just that. You first have to log in to your Google account and then the add-on will automatically use your account henceforth. There are no options to configure, so just install the add-on, log in to Google, and you’re on your way to shortening any link you come across.
You can use the Goo.gl right-click context menu on links or pages themselves to copy the current link. When doing so, you’ll be notified by a small pop-up.
No matter which service you decide to use, they all work very similarly and can do exactly what you want. Send your short URL over your social media sites, email, or even SMS to ensure you don’t ever exceed the character limit.