Quick question: What would you prefer for shorter URLs?

UPDATE 2013-06-27: All right, we’re going with sach.ac as the URL shortener. Thanks for your input! =D

shortener

I draw a lot of notes, and I want to give people an easy way to find out more. URLs can get really long to type in, and sometimes the sketches are displayed for only a short period of time. I’ve been using the j.mp URL shortener (bonus: statistics!), but I don’t want to rely on a third-party service which could disappear and break links down the road. Besides, j.mp/bit.ly/etc. are sometimes blocked from corporate networks.

So I decided to register my own short domain. This adds to my yearly blog-related expenses, but I think it will make it much easier for people to learn more. After searching for lots of alternatives, it turns out that sach.ac and liv.gd were still available as domains. I like sach.ac because it’s based on my nickname, although people are going to mentally punctuate my name oddly (it’s actually Sacha C.). People frequently misspell “Sacha” as “Sasha”, so I also registered Liv.gd as a shortcut for LivingAnAwesomeLife.com, which is an alternate domain name for this site. (I use that when I don’t have the opportunity to spell my name out for people, or if I want people to smile and remember.) Liv.gd = “Live Good”… which is ungrammatical but fun.

So… Any thoughts on which to choose? (If you don’t see the poll, please check out this post on my website!)

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I might even shift to using one of those short URLs as my “main” domain (the one that gets shown in links and in the address bar)…

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Here are some sample URLs for this post, to give you an idea of what the shortened URLs will look like:

sach.ac/shortener – liv.gd/shortener

Technical notes, if you’re interested:

I registered liv.gd with names.gd for 25 USD a year, and sach.ac with nic.ac for 60 GBP a year. If you’re registering an .ac domain, check resellers to see if you can get it cheaper – I should’ve gotten the domain from hexonet.net instead (27 GBP). Pricey experiment, but that’s what the opportunity fund is for!

After I registered the domains, I configured them to use Linode’s nameservers and added them to my Nginx web server configuration. I’m using WordPress’ Redirection plugin to handle custom redirects, so that all of my blog post URLs are automatically available as sach.ac/… and I can define custom ones as needed. =)

So, what do you think?

One Pingback/Trackback

  • Raymond Zeitler

    Those shortened URLs always make me stop and wonder what country they’re referring to. Thanks to you I learned that .ac and .gd are yet more shortened URLs!

  • http://draketo.de Arne Babenhauserheide

    Well: Never ever break your links → keep your main site.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      Yup, previous URLs will continue to be valid. :)

      • http://draketo.de Arne Babenhauserheide

        great!

  • http://sachachua.com sachac

    You speak, I listen! =) sach.ac URLs now used for the Short URL links below each post, while sachachua.com continues to be the main URL. (I guess I don’t have to be as self-conscious about people having problems spelling my name…)

  • Gabriel Saldana

    So you’ll run your own URL shortener software? Which one will you use?

    I setup my shortener domain and installed the Hum WordPress plugin https://github.com/willnorris/wordpress-hum it automatically generates short urls for my posts. But I’d like to expand that for any types of links, not only my blog generated links.

    I recommend you to read Tantek Celik’s reason on why he built Whistle url shortener http://tantek.pbworks.com/w/page/21743973/Whistle it is a good read that encouraged me to get my toes dipped into the self url shortening adventure and started using Hum.

    • http://sachachua.com sachac

      I’ll continue with the Redirect plugin in WordPress for now. My web server config’s set up to pass all non-existent URLs to WordPress, so I can refer to blog posts easily. When I feel like digging into it some more, I’ll probably write a custom plugin that lets me specify optional shorter post slugs when editing or publishing a post. I don’t like using autogenerated short URLs – I’m fine with picking short(ish) words that are topic-related and easy to mentally chunk. =)

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