For social news and bookmarking services, 2009 has really been the tale of the customized URL shortener. Each of the three largest social sites (Digg.com, Reddit.com and StumbleUpon.com) have implemented a URL shortening service that helps users of the site participate. Here is a breakdown of the three tools.
Digg’s version of a URL shortener not only shortens the link, but also frames the content with a ‘DiggBar’ that allows users to perform various actions. The DiggURL has seen a variety of changes in its short career. At first, everyone was shown the DiggBar when using a DiggURL,and a big hullabaloo arose, so the execution was changed. Digg then programmed the DiggBar to only be seen by those users that are currently logged into Digg and opt to view the service. Since then, Digg has reverted back to the original execution and is showing it to all users, logged in or not.
How to use DiggURL
If the story has already been submitted to Digg, simply click the share button underneath the article link and the shortened address will appear. If you are looking for an easier way to do this (without submitting to Digg), simply add a “digg.com/” in front of any URL and the link will automatically be shortened. This method will allow you do shorten the URL from any webpage.
What are the benefits?
Digg users who are logged in (and chose to view the DiggBar) can vote on stories directly from the bar. In addition, users can see related stories, view comments (most dugg comment, most recent comment and most controversial comment) or randomly browse in a StumbleUpon-esque format. Another feature of the DiggBar is to share via email, Twitter or Facebook – right from the bar. At the moment, the only metric for tracking is a generic “views” statistic that is shown to anyone who sees the DiggBar.
Su.pr by StumbleUpon
Recently out of beta, su.pr is the URL shortener for StumbleUpon and has a variety of features. This shortener will frame the page and display a toolbar at the top of the page for all users.
How to use it
Go to su.pr and either sign up for an account (recommended if you are looking for advanced tracking) or simply enter in an address that you would like shortened. Then, take that URL and share away!
What are the benefits of Su.pr?
Each user is sent the framed article, and they can easily vote on content without having to install and use the traditional StumbleUpon browser-based toolbar. In addition to voting, you can share with your friends, review the page, post to Facebook or Twitter – or simply ‘stumble’ around other sites that have been submitted to StumbleUpon.
Most notably, Su.pr’s tracking is the best in show out of all current Social News/Bookmarking sites if you sign up for an account. You can track traffic, clicks, referrers, Stumbles, and retweets all in a very appealing visual format. Another new feature allows you to use your own URL ,but still utilize the su.pr interface on WordPress blogs that run on PHP 5. A simple plugin will do the trick and you won’t be tied to the su.pr domain for your links.
Many people do not know that you can shorten Reddit URLs, as their launch was soft and gained nowhere near the attention that Digg enjoyed. This shortener will frame the content and any user that clicks the link will be served a small Reddit bar in the top of the screen.
How to use Reddit as a URL shortener
Much like the DiggURL, simply toss a “reddit.com/” in front of your URL and you will have a Reddit shortened link created.
What are the benefits?
The Reddit bar allows visitors to vote on the article, view a sample of the comments from any given story or visit a random story on Reddit. The toolbar is very minimal, but does give users all they need to quickly vote on the story and be on their way.
Choosing the best shortener
To find out what shortener (if any) would work for you, see what sites you have had success on by checking your analytics and searching around on the various sites. These social URLs are not for everyone, but if used properly, you can help to give your content a significant boost in traffic.
Editor’s Note: See also our URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use? which looks at URL shorteners and what to consider independently of social media issues, such as URL longevity and potential issues with framing.