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The Real Cost of Free, Part 2: You Get What You Pay For

Using a free tool to generate links to your content seems convenient in the short term, but it's not a good practice for businesses looking to stay competitive and savvy towards the future of marketing. Click here to read Part 1 of this series

If you work in any field that has the word ‘digital’ associated with it, short links have likely been on your radar for a while. Perhaps your team knows short links well enough to use them across your company’s social media channels, to keep your posts looking neat. But does your team understand the costs of using a free tool for your valuable assets?

Why should my business pay for short links when we can get them for free?

Ultimately the reason is simple, you get what you pay for. Let's compare 4 popular free link shortening tools to BudURL's Tree Plan, which is $99/month. Some areas in particular are worth highlighting, especially for teams who don't view their links as disposable. 

Link Editing: What happens if you need to make a change to a link?

  • Tinyurl: Not possible
  • Bitly & Po.st: Can update the hash (hopefully it hasn't already been published)
  • Rebrandly: Can update the hash and destination link
  • BudURL: Update the hash, destination link, redirect type, archive or delete date

Why this is important

Being able to edit links can save your team a lot of headaches. In the event that a short link is printed incorrectly on a poster, or a landing page for a promotion is changed, those issues can be solved in a matter of minutes if your link manager allows you to edit the hash of your short link, and the URL that it’s pointing to. Additionally, if you can manage redirect types, and set a link to archive or disappear at a certain time, you're avoiding a lot of busy work in the future. 

Link Archiving: Not all links need to last forever - can your tool manage the sunset process seamlessly?

  • Tinyurl: No archive option
  • Bitly: No archive option
  • Rebrandly: No archive option
  • Po.st: Can move link to an archive page but cannot redirect the destination upon archiving
  • BudURL: Yes, archive and redirect to a more relevant destination

Why this is important

What happens to your short links once they’re no longer in use, but you still need to analyze their performance? With an archive feature, you can stop your short links from redirecting to their destination URL on a specified date. This allows your team to go over the data that was collected, while sending your users to a homepage of your choosing, instead of a 404 error or a page with outdated content.

User Management: Can a team of users manage links individually, and can reporting be filtered by single and multiple users? 

  • Tinyurl: No, multiple users not allowed
  • Bitly: No, multiple users not allowed
  • Rebrandly: No, multiple users not allowed
  • Po.st: Administrators can add or remove users from profiles, tiered access roles control access to data
  • BudURL: Up to 3 users allowed, tiered access roles control access to data, manage link assignment between users, and filter stats by user or by domain

Why this is important

How you manage users and what they’re responsible for within your platform is an important component of long term success. If you have the capability to give users access to specific features and areas of your platform that fit the responsibilities of their role, it can save your team leader a lot of time that would otherwise be spent coordinating and clarifying with individual people. It also creates an extra layer of security when you can easily move a user's link to another owner in the event of a personnel change. 

The bottom line? There's a lot more to a link than a single social media post. An investment in your links will deliver exponential value in the future. 

Questions? We'd love to hear from you!

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