How to shorten a URL for Twitter Newbies

When you new to Twitter, there are so many things that are confusing.  One of them is all the short links.

Why use short URLs on Twitter?

  • You are limited to 140 characters or less and a full length URL of a website might take up most of the 140 characters.
  • You are limited to 140 characters so you might want elaborate in more detail on your blog
  • You might want to share an article, a video or photo with your Twitter followers

How do you shorten a web address?

You are in luck, Twitter has become simpler to use so all you have to do is…

Copy and paste the full URL of the website into Twitter and..

Twitter will automatically shorten it for you. Simple really!

It will use up 20 characters of your 140.

Caution:  If you are typing the web address into Twitter make sure to add the http:// otherwise, it won’t work!!

to shorten a link visit a site like and paste the full length web
address, click on the shorten button.  A shortened URL will be created, all you have to do is click on the shortened URL and it will automatically copy the link so that you can paste it in Twitter.

Why would you want use a site like

  • The link allows you to analyse and track how many people have clicked on a particular link and when.

If you are new to Twitter, let me know by leaving a comment below.  You are also very welcome to follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back if you send me a tweet.


Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of How to Twitter for Business Success. For more information visit or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit

Jackie Elton - 2nd January 2012

Great advise for someone new to Twitter. I love bitly for all the stats you can get.
Looking forward to your next post.

    Nicky Kriel - 3rd January 2012

    Hi Jackie

    I don’t use nearly as much as I used to now that Twitter shortens it automatically. Thank you for leaving a comment.

Lisa Berquist - 2nd January 2012

Great tips for a fairly new tweeter!

Lesley Johnston-Boers - 3rd January 2012

Ooh I didn´t know about using Will have a look into this, thanks Nicky

Aaron - 10th June 2012

Link shortener generates some of the shortest links I’ve ever seen. They’re actually shorter than bitly.

    Nicky Kriel - 10th June 2012

    Thank you for your tip, Aaron.

    I recommend bitly because of the analytics that you get with the site, but it is always good to hear about other sites.


Shanna - 12th September 2012

Hi Nicky, Thank you so much for the information on bitly. I’m a newbie on Twitter and have been wondering how that was done. Question: When I shorten links from Facebook they will work when I repaste them as tests on the Internet, but I use them on my mobile ap for Twitter it only opens up to the Facebook sign-in page and then only opens my personal FB page instead of the one the link should direct to. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated?

    Nicky Kriel - 13th September 2012

    Hi Shanna

    Have you downloaded the Facebook app for your phone? People need to be signed into Facebook to see Facebook links. I am not sure what you are trying to do.


Debi - 31st January 2013


Brand new Twitter user. Fabulous info, thank you. May have quite a few more questions for you as we grow our recently launched website, :)

Cath - 15th February 2013

Hi Nicky
My URLs don’t seem to shorten automatically. Is that because the shortened version only appears to followers? I’m including the http bit.
Thanks a lot.

    Nicky Kriel - 15th February 2013

    Hi Cath

    When you add the URL, how many characters does it use up?


      KayM - 18th June 2013

      I’m not the original poster, but I noticed the same thing. Can I assume that if the entire post uses 140 characters or less, including the original url–not shortened–than Twitter will leave the url as is and not shortened it?

        Nicky Kriel - 21st June 2013

        Hi Kay
        Twitter will automatically shorten a URL to 22 characters (it used to be 20 until a few months ago)


Tanya Bryant - 19th February 2013

Thank you for this post – it was exactly what I was looking for! I am going to try out Bitly.

Thanks again,

April Eden - 6th March 2013

Just What I Wanted to Know!!
Thanks and you are right Nicky!! Sharing is CARING!!
Have a stellar day and again thanks for making things nice and simple!!

Zev Carter - 2nd July 2013

Hi Nicky

Thanks for the article. I just joined twitter, and posted a few links. None were shortened however. (Example:

Silly question, but is this because it was https rather than http?

    Nicky Kriel - 2nd July 2013

    Hi Zsev,
    Your tweet didn’t have a link in it. The one you replied to had a link that was shortened. The https will take up one extra character than a http address. When you add the link you can see how many characters it takes up by how many characters you have left.


Barbara Jacobson - 5th August 2013

Looks like you are going to be a great help to me amongst many others. I am learning to tweet only because we are campaigning against terrible actions of our local council. Hope you will help spread our message by retweeting me.
BarbaraJ @BJ_baps (as you see, I’m still not sure how to sign off!)

Paul Cuneo - 1st September 2013

Thanks for this. Brand new to Twitter.

lucresia - 26th October 2013

thanks for the info! im new to twitter as well.. *will follow you now* hopefully you’ll follow back :)

Azadeh - 19th November 2013

Hi Nicky,
I am new to twitter. Could u please tell me more about how we can use links to analyse and track how many people have clicked on a particular link.
Thank you,

Linda Huckle - 23rd November 2013

Thanks for the info on bitly Nicky – your tips have been so helpful in getting to grips with Twitter.

qOkechukwu Philip - 31st January 2014

Hi Nicky,
Thank you so much for the tips, I have been using twitter for some time now, but I didn’t think it was necessary to shorten my tweets url because I choose my title in such a way they don’t get too long.
Thanks for the tips again.

Gyan - 4th February 2014

Thanks for the tips.
I prefer

Sherry Marshall - 28th June 2014

Thanks so much. I am slowly learning helped by folk such as yourself. Much appreciated. Also is this the same as a hyper link? and when sites like ask for your email password, I always thought you shouldn’t give your password to anyone! So I don’t.
How does this work? Thanks,

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