Short Links

The Official.fyi URL Shortener: Create custom, trusted short links for your local government website.

You, as a government entity — whether a politician, small municipality, or local government office from anywhere in the world — are trusted to provide accurate, secure information to the people you serve.

Often people trust websites ending in .gov to provide official, government-sanctioned information. They relax and breathe easy knowing that the information they’re reading is just true.

As it turns out, it is difficult to qualify for a .gov domain. There are several requirements to be eligible for a .gov domain. Your small, but official, government office may not qualify for a .gov domain.

But you should still create shareable links that promote the fact that they are legitimate and will take them to the correct URL. You should also strive to ensure that your links are correctly copied and pasted and will route people to a safe space in case a link is typed in wrong. Your shortened links should be branded and your vanity URLs should look nice and clean.

Save your government entity from the risk of misinformation and fraud: Create trustworthy short links using Official.fyi, an exclusive URL shortener for information based websites of small government offices and municipalities.

Why use a URL shortener as a local government office?

Image courtesy of DigiFloor.

URL shorteners are used to save character space when sharing information through social media platforms, email, and SMS messaging. Instead of running the risk of a URL being typed in wrong and redirecting a user to something random at best, and something malicious at worst, many organizations use URL shorteners to create memorable links.

As an official entity, you want to create short links that are memorable and trustworthy.

An example URL shortening process:

The link to this page is messy. Let’s clean it up.

Ithaca, a city in New York, does not have it’s own dedicated .gov page. It does have its own site, though: cityofithaca.org.

Their City Comprehensive Plan has a long, messy URL:

http://ny-ithaca.civicplus.com/165/City-Comprehensive-Plan

To shorten this, and make sure readers know that it’s an official source of information, one would use the Official.fyi URL shortener.

The end result would look something like this:

https://ithaca.official.fyi/city-plan

Why use Official.fyi over other link shortening tools?

The problem with free, publicly available URL shorteners:

Many URL shorteners do not offer you the ability to use your own custom domain name, instead forcing you to use their own company name in the links you share.

For example, a Bitly generated link looks something like: https://bit.ly/39wQjof , and TinyURL links would look like https://tinyurl.com/y44czend

These kinds of links are just not trustworthy to users. If someone doesn’t copy-paste this link right, or the link wasn’t generated correctly, users can end up anywhere from an error page to a forced download of malware or software virus.

Furthermore – many free services will take a user on an error page if the link is broken. For example this Bitly error page here:

This cultivates distrust in your user, and keeps them from getting to the information they needed to find.

There’s also the fact that anyone can sign up for a URL shortener account and start sharing links. Imagine the consequence if by accident a short URL that leads to viruses or misinformation was shared by an official government office. How easy would a story like that go viral?

Users of URL shortener services that share vanity URL names (the part of the URL that comes after the domain name) often find that their vanity URL has already been taken by another user.

For example, a Bitly link that has “COVID-19” as their vanity URL, something like “bit.ly/COVID-19” cannot be used by any other user.

This severely limits the possible names for your URLs.

How Official.fyi does it differently:

Official.fyi allows you to use your official branded government domain name within your short URL names, and allows you to generate any number of shortened, branded URLs.

Because of this, your users will know the domain they’re being taken to, and your links are instantly more trustworthy than if you had the name of a URL shortening service in your link name. Shorten.fyi also has you specify a “fallback URL” to send users to if a link is broken, was typed wrong, etc. This fallback URL is usually set as your site’s homepage.

Official.fyi has also been set up so that, when using your own branded domain, you can use any vanity URL (so long as you have not already used it on your own site). For example, if you wanted to use “COVID-19” as a vanity URL, you can, because you are using it along with your own domain name.

Your custom link names can be just about anything.

But most importantly, official.fyi generated links will always be recognized as official sources of information.

The importance of “official.fyi” at the end of all branded links:

Official.fyi is a URL Shortening domain we provide only to municipalities and government offices. Our team manually reviews applications and on-boards new members one-by-one. We go through a thorough process, which means that not just anyone can get this domain name.

The “official.fyi” ending has also been made available exclusively available through our Shorten.fyi property. And because, to gain access to official.fyi link generating services, you have to be approved, every “official.fyi” link is always made by an official entity.

What else can you do with the Official.fyi URL Shortener?

You can do more than create and share secure, trusted links with this tool.

First of all, you can create an unlimited amount of official.fyi URLs (which is not a feature of many other URL shorteners).

You are able to gain insights into your users with click tracking data, and you can track an unlimited number of clicks. This data will tell you about where your users are when viewing your site, what operating systems they’re using, and how they got to your site, among other things.

You can add Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels, and integrate your short links with other tools (like Zapier).

Do this all from a mobile friendly online dashboard, through an easy-to-use Chrome extension, or through premium integrations. There are many options here, so choose what it most comfortable for you.

How to Sign Up for Official.fyi:

Shorten.fyi homepage.

First, navigate to the Shorten.fyi official website. On the top right corner of the page, click “Sign Up”.

You will first have to apply to have access to the official .fyi domain name.

If and when you are approved for an account, you will pay a $99/month to use our URL shortener tool.

Note: Official.fyi is GDPR compliant and does not save end users personal data.

It is safe to use, and you have complete API access to modify link parameters as you please.

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