Whenever I have a webpage that I want a group of students or colleagues to go to at the same time, I use a URL shortener to turn long URLs into things that are easy to copy and spell. Yes, I could email the link in advance or post it in a learning management system like Google Classroom, but when I do that I’ve introduced an intermediate step that is full of distractions (colleagues start reading irrelevant email, students start looking at grades).
There are three URL shorteners that I typically recommend. First, Bitly has been my URL shortener of choice for many years because it lets me customize the shortened URL and track click-throughs. That said, lately I find that I also like Yellkey a lot. Finally, I can’t write about URL shorteners without mentioning TinyURL which has been around forever, it seems. All three of these tools can be used to create custom shortened URLs. Demonstrations of how to use all three tools are included in this video.