Anatomy of a Short Link

BL.INK offers two different types of short links: branded links and unbranded links. This article dives into the different options available when creating a short link.

Before creating a link, it’s important to note that BL.INK offers two types of short links -- branded links and unbranded links. The differences are outlined in the sections below and can be broken down more in-depth in this article.


Whether creating a branded link, or unbranded link, the anatomy of the short link remains mostly the same. As an example, we’ll use the link https://your.domain.news/contact to illustrate the components. The first section is the protocol (http or https).  If your domain has a subdomain, this comes next.  Then the second-level domain.  The portion after the “.” is the Top-Level Domain. Lastly, the Keyword comes after the “/” character.

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Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the different field options available in BL.INK when creating a short link.

Branded Link Field Options

Branded links utilize a custom domain to showcase the brand. They also allow users to edit the destination link at any time. For more information on the differences between unbranded and branded links, click here.

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1 Long Link

In the first field, paste or type in the long URL that is being shortened with BL.INK. This is the destination that the short link will redirect to.

2 Keyword

The keyword is the word(s) or string of characters that come after the “/” in the short link. In the second field, the keyword will automatically generate after the long link has been added in the first field. The generated keyword can be replaced with a custom keyword, as long as the keyword has not already been used in another short link with the same domain.  Keywords may also include hyphens or underscores and be from 1-40 characters (our default is 5).  No aspects of our links are case sensitive (although we can support case sensitivity for Enterprise clients if desired).

3 Link Description (optional)

The description only shows internally and can be used to easily recall the content or link that has been shortened.

4 URL Builder (optional)

Select the URL Builder. This is only included in the SMB plan or higher. The URL builder automatically appends your UTM parameters so that your link will be tracked appropriately in your preferred analytics platform. If URL builder is selected here, fill in the new fields that appear. These are specific to the account’s set URL Builder. 

5 Tags (optional)

Tags are helpful to organize links and analyze data. Tags can be added in the field at the top right. Users can create new tags from here or use existing tags. To add a tag, click inside the field, start typing and existing tags will appear. 

6 Notifications (optional)

By checking the box for notifications, BL.INK will send an email for the first ten views on a link to help users monitor the link’s engagement.

7 Redirect Type (optional)

On the SMB plan or higher, users can select the redirect type. The default redirect type in BL.INK is a 307 temporary redirect, but this can be changed to a 301 permanent redirect. For more information and questions around which redirect type to select, click here.

Note: The default redirect can be set from the account preferences in the My Account page. To make this change, click your name in the upper right corner and then select My Account. Find Default Redirect Type on the right, select the preferred redirect type and save the changes. 

8 Archive/Delete Date (optional)

If a link needs to only be active for a specific period of time, users can choose to select between archiving and deleting a link. Then add a date for which the link should be archived or deleted. This option is only available through the BL.INK platform on SMB plans or higher.

Archiving a link will unpublish the link and the redirect will now route to the home page URL (set in Admin > Settings > Home Page), but will keep the existing click data in the BL.INK analytics.

Deleting a link will completely delete the link from the BL.INK account, along with all associated click data. This is permanent, and cannot be undone - please proceed with caution. Once a link has been deleted, there is no recovery option.

9 Link Masking (optional)

To hide the destination link completely from a link’s traffic, select the checkbox next to Link Masking. Instead, only the short URL will appear in the address bar when navigating to a link. This can help hide any UTM tagging structure and adds another layer of general security. Link masking is only available on SMB plans or higher, and only on branded links.

Note: Link masking utilizes IFrames, and may not work with certain websites. Make sure to test the link after it has been created to ensure the destination works well with this feature. 

Unbranded Link Field Options

Unbranded links are short links created using our shared b.link domain. For more information on the differences between unbranded links and branded links, click here.

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1 Long Link

In the first field, paste or type in the long URL that is being shortened with BL.INK. This is the destination that the short link will redirect to.

2 Keyword

The keyword is the word(s) or string of characters that come after the “/” in the short link. In the second field, the keyword will automatically generate after the long link has been added in the first field. The generated keyword can be replaced with a custom keyword, as long as the keyword has not already been used in another short link with the b.link domain. Keywords may also include hyphens or underscores and be from 1-40 characters (our default is 5). No aspects of our links are case sensitive (although we can support case sensitivity for Enterprise clients if desired).

3 Link Description (optional)

The description only shows internally and can be used to easily recall the content or link that has been shortened.

4 URL Builder (optional)

Select the URL Builder. This is only included on the SMB plan or higher. The URL builder automatically appends your UTM parameters so that your link will be tracked appropriately in your preferred analytics platform. If URL builder is selected here, fill in the new fields that appear. These are specific to the account’s set URL Builder. 

5 Tags (optional)

Tags are helpful to organize links and analyze data. Tags can be added in the field at the top right. Users can create new tags from here or use existing tags. To add a tag, click inside the field, start typing and existing tags will appear. 

6 Notifications (optional)

By checking the box for notifications, BL.INK will send an email for the first ten views on a link to help users monitor the link’s engagement.

7 Redirect Type (optional)

On the SMB plan or higher, users can select the redirect type. The default redirect type in BL.INK is a 307 temporary redirect, but this can be changed to a 301 permanent redirect. For more information and questions around which redirect type to select, click here.

Note: The default redirect can be set from the account preferences in the My Account page. To make this change, click your name in the upper right corner and then select My Account. Find Default Redirect Type on the right, select the preferred redirect type, and save the changes. 

8 Archive/Delete Date (optional)

If a link needs to only be active for a specific period of time, users can choose to select between archiving and deleting a link. Then add a date for which the link should be archived or deleted. 

Note: This option is only available through the BL.INK platform on SMB plans or higher.

Archiving a link will unpublish the link and the redirect will now route to the home page URL (set in Admin > Settings > Home Page) but will keep the existing click data in the BL.INK analytics.

Deleting a link will completely delete the link from the BL.INK account, along with all associated click data. This is permanent, and cannot be undone - please proceed with caution. Once a link has been deleted, there is no recovery option.