A short or truncated URL is rooted in olden day Usenet and bulleting board services. A user would often post a link to a discussion, and that link would line wrap or become difficult to use. The solution was to take a short URL that would link to the longer URL. One of the first services used to mitigate this problem was TinyURL, and countless others followed. Usage of Twitter and its associated character limit created a renewed need for character-saving URLs, so other services such as
tr.im, and others found their way online.
We have an article on our website that introduces the pros and cons of truncating URL services, and we dig a little deeper into the history of the service type and the contribution we made in the early days that popularised their use by various businesses. This FAQ introduces the (updated) Shor.tt service made available in Yabber and your website.
Free Shor.tt Plugin: Recent updates to SHor.tt effectively removes the service from free plugins. We expect the service to be added back to websites in the near future. Usage of Shor.tt requires the Yabber 0.8.7.4 plugin update. Another FAQ will detail how the Shor.tt service is integrated into trackable QR code creation.
Shortt API: The Shor.tt API may be integrated with any of your applications. Usage of the API is detailed in an FAQ titled "How to Use the Shortt API". The licence to Shor.tt is perpetual, meaning that continued usage of Yabber isn't required to continue using the service.
Shortt, Version 2
As per our deprecation schedule, the update to version 2 was made in January 2024, so any plugin or service that accesses an earlier version is likely to return errors. The update includes significant changes to the way statistics are recorded and returned, and there are significant differences in the way custom domains are added to the system.
Shor.tt and Fatly: Shor.tt is now the primary domain used for truncating services. Another service at fat.ly is expected to simply mirror the shor.tt URLs.
Creating a Shor.tt URL
Creating a Shor.tt URL on your website is integrated into the universal link shortcode. As an example, if you were to link to an external website, such as the RBA website, you would do so
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au"]like this[/link] with a result as follows . Yabber doesn't currently record statistical data on externally linked domains, so you might choose to link to the external site with a short URL. To manufacture the shor.tt URL we simply add
shortt="1" into the shortcode, so the RBA link would be written
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1"]like this[/link] with a result as follows . To link a preview page rather than the destination website, add
preview="1" to the shortcode, so
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1" preview="1"]this shortcode[/link] will return a preview link .
When a user clicks on any shor.tt link a large amount of statistics information is recorded, so it's generally recommended that external URLs should be manufactured as described... at least until we integrate external URL statistical stats into Yabber. Internal links are always recorded and tracked in full to the user level.
Tracking Users and Interests
If you're taking advantage of Yabber's conditional AI engine, the BMUID (or at the ID assigned to a user) and the Interest (the primary objective of the link) were historically lost when using shor.tt links. The Version 2 update integrate these valuable metrics in full, so the engagement with external shor.tt links will contribute towards our understanding of user behaviours. The BMUID is associated with the link by default, but the interest should be defined if required. The inclusion of the additional parameters will increase the size of your URL, but the link is created on your website for use on your website, so the increased size is largely irrelevant.
To hardcode an interest to a Shor.tt URL, use
interest="my_interest" in your shortcode. It's expected we'll provide a panel in Yabber that'll allow you to associate an interest to a URL... but this feature is forthcoming.
You may set a URL password that will require a user enter a password before redirecting to a URL. Use the attribute of
password="mypassword" in the shortcode. The result is as follows. An expiry date may be set for any link that has short-term relevance. The attribute of expiry may be set as as UNIX timestamp, 6-figure, or 10-figure group.
Creating a Shor.tt URL in Yabber
Shor.tt URLs are created in Yabber via the tools (Resources) menu. The entry page provides a panel that provides for the creation of a basic or advanced Shor.tt URL. For a basic URL, simply enter the URL and 'Create'. The resulting Shor.tt and Preview URL are returned.
Pictured: Shor.tt URLs are created in Yabber via the tools (Resources) menu. The entry page provides a panel that provides for the creation of a basic or advanced Shor.tt URL. For a basic URL, simply enter the URL and 'Create'. The resulting Shor.tt and Preview URL are returned.
The 'Advanced' panel returns a number of other options, such as the custom alias, password, UTM (and BMID) options, and link expiry. The result of these options are shown in the 'Shor.tt Examples' section below.
Pictured: The 'Advanced' panel returns a number of other options, such as the custom alias, password, UTM (and BMID) options, and link expiry. The result of these options are shown in the 'Shor.tt Examples' section below.
Your Own Short URL Service
Version 1 of shor.tt provided for your own short domain by way of an alias, but it was lacking in that it wasn't a fully-owned service - it merely emulated or 'mirrored' shor.tt with your own domain. The primary method of introducing your own service is now by way of a standalone asset that you own and control yourself.
Shor.tt is a controlled domain that is only used by those we know and trust, so it's entirely acceptable to use. Needless to say, you should never use unvetted services such as
Your Own Service: A URL truncation tool is 'once again' a necessary marketing tool. Every aggregator, franchise, lender, or any business that takes its marketing seriously should invest in their own service. If not affiliated with us there are a number of generic open-source solution that can be installed in minutes. The same 'Xena' engine that we've built that drives
shor.tt is available as a service for those that require highly advanced tracking and statistics.
This image gives you an idea of what the Shor.tt statistics panel might have looked like prior to the Version 2 update. The Shor.tt module is the first that saw full migration into our new Xena statistics module so we're in the process of building the enhanced experience. The new Shor.tt stats integrate fully with the standard website and social statistics.
The Shor.tt Link table within the statistics module is the primary method of disabling a shor.tt link (via a toggle switch). You may also make the link 'Private' in the same way, although this option is largely redundant.
Following is some Shor.tt URLs that'll show you how the Shor.tt link is handled. In all cases the destination website favicon is applied to the external URL.
The standard short link is created as described earlier. An RBA link is created
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1"]like this[/link] with a result as follows .
To link a preview page rather than the destination website, add
preview="1" to the shortcode, so
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1" preview="1"]this shortcode[/link] will return a preview link . The Preview page will obviously undergo some serious updates. Whenever a screenshot is created it is assigned to your screenshot record table.
To apply a password, add the attribute of
password="mypassword" into your shortcode. So,
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1" password="mypassword"]this link[/link] will result as follows .
To create a custom alias, use alias="rba" in your shortcode. As an example, the shortcode
[link url="https://www.rba.gov.au" shortt="1" alias="rba"]as follows[/link] will return this link (shor.tt/rba). If the alias is not available a random shor.tt string will be returned.
To set an expiry, use
expires="20240220" in your shortcode. You may also use a UNIX timestamp or 10-figure datetime string, such as
202402201030. When a URL expires a generic message is returned.
When a URL is disabled or made private from within Yabber a generic message is returned. These pages will undergo an update at some point to allow for custom page creation.
Pictured: When a URL is disabled or made private from within Yabber a generic message is returned. These pages will undergo an update at some point to allow for custom page creation.
It needs to be stated once again that internal URLs should not be converted into Shor.tt links - the standard method of linking includes very granular statistical integration by default.
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Related Linking FAQs
Related Linking FAQs. Includes 'Series' blocks.
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