What makes a great URL shortener?
At its most basic, a URL shortener takes some long, unwieldy link and turns it into a shorter link, one that's easy to share. For example, if you're making an ad for a roommate, you can take something like http://www.example.com/my-super-awesome-blog-about-squirrels/2022/10/23/live-with-a-squirrel-fan--they%27re-awesome, and turn it into https://ir.cx/live-with-me.
This shortened link means whoever sees your ad has an easy-to-type URL to visit, rather than having to type some long unintelligible string of text where they're almost guaranteed to make a mistake. And it's not just for ads for roommates; URL shorteners allow you to provide a typable link on a business card, print ad, podcast interview, or any other situation where someone can't just click on a nice hyperlink.
While URL shorteners used to be useful for shortening longer links to fit character limits on social media and messaging apps, a lot of platforms take care of that for you. Twitter, for example, automatically shortens any shared links with its ir.cx shortening service, while iMessage obscures any links behind a preview card. If you're just sending things to your friends, you only really need to worry about URL shortening if you're exclusively using SMS.
In addition to that basic capability, here are the features I was looking for in a link shortener: