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What is Link Management Software? How to choose the best tool in 2023

Choosing the right link management tool doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a simple checklist to help you get started.
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It’s 9 am. You open your laptop, log in on autopilot, and head to Twitter on your browser. 

You scroll for what seems a minute but is actually 15, and switch to the tab with your email. Then, you quickly mark your to-do’s and proceed to survey your calendar for the day. 

The 9.30 am standup is only 5 minutes away. You review your updates on Google Docs and join the Google Meet link with a minute to spare.

It’s just the start of your day and you’ve already opened at least 5 different applications, at least 5 different links.

Most of us don’t really give this a second thought, do we? The number of links we work with every single day? 

As you can imagine, it easily runs into a few hundreds. Because most of our work today takes place in an increasing number of SaaS applications. 

To maintain a semblance of control over the many, many links we tackle everyday, many of us resort to link management tools — oars that help us navigate the choppy waters of URL overload. 

But if you’ve never tried out a link management tool before, choosing one from among an overwhelming number of options can be tricky.

So, here’s a handy list of things to look out for while evaluating link management tools. 

1. Purpose

Why do you need link management software? Do you plan to use it primarily for internal links you and your team work with? Or is it meant for managing and tracking links you share externally in your email campaigns, on social media etc.?

This will help you identify if you need a traditional URL shortener or a more comprehensive enterprise URL manager.

Recommended reading: Top 10 link management tools in 2022

2. Search and discovery

Most link management tools will let you shorten your URLs and search through your repository of short links using features such as a central dashboard, tags, link collections or folders etc. 

Some may go a step further and enable search and discovery for ALL of your workplace resources via powerful enterprise search built right into the link management platform. 

This goes hand in hand with building a searchable knowledge base for your company, which is another function where robust link management comes in handy. 

Recommended reading: A complete guide to knowledge management 

3. Link organization

There is no point to link management if all you are doing is transforming long URLs into short links. A heap of short links is not going to help you be more productive and efficient than a heap of long links. 

What makes short links smarter and more valuable to your business is the way they can be organized. Here are a few organization features you can test while comparing tools

  • The ability to group related short links together (folders or similar)
  • The ability to surface related short links in one go (tags or similar)
  • The ability to share short links with custom access settings (private, workplace, and public short links, for example)
Manage your workplace links like a pro with OSlash. It's free!
4. Link editing and customization

With the right link management tool, you should have absolute ownership of the links you share — within the workplace and outside it.

The tool should give you the power to edit and brand your business links using custom domains and custom slugs (back halves of the URLs). This is essential for protecting, marketing, and often, legitimizing your brand.

x/digital-marketing-course where x is your brand or domain name is far more trustworthy to potential buyers than a random short link to the tune of 

For internal links shared within your company, it must be possible for admins or creators to

  • Rename and edit short links that need updation
  • Update the link destination without changing the link, if needed
  • Edit link settings to provide custom access to select members and teams
5. Deep linking/variable links

Good link management is essentially about reducing the user’s time to value. This translates to making the right information available at the user’s fingertips.

One of the ways your link management tool does this is via deep links or variable links that are programmed to go directly to specific in-app or in-website locations.

So, if you wanted to search YouTube for Bohemian Rhapsody, you could do that in a single step, instead of first navigating to YouTube, then typing in the search keywords, and scrolling through the results.

A variable link for searching the annals of YouTube could look something like x/youtube/{search}.

At work, variable links could allow you to navigate through the unending piles of your issue-tickets in Jira or Linear blazingly fast by taking you directly to the ticket specified using the short link x/jira/{ticket-id}

Link management tools thus save users the time and energy locating a particular page, which results in supercharged efficiency. 

6. User experience

While the UI/UX is an important factor to consider for any SaaS tools you’re using, it is especially relevant where speed, accessibility, and precision are decisive, such as while organizing and managing workplace information.

Here’s a good UI/UX checklist your link management software should fulfill

  • The UI should be clean not cluttered (stating the obvious here)
  • The navigation and actions should be intuitive
  • Help and tutorials should be easily accessible if you’re stuck
  • The interface should offer a handy overview of your links along with basic details such as the underlying file-type, the name of the short link creator, an edit option etc.
  • Short link creation, editing, and sharing should be quick, smooth, and glitch-free
  • Search and discovery should be both speedy as well as accurate
  • Collaboration features should be readily available
7. Cost including upkeep and maintenance efforts

A lot of big-tech companies have an inclination to build their software tools internally  for various use-cases. Link management is no different. Silicon-Valley companies such as Google, Meta, Stripe, LinkedIn, Uber and more have preferred internal go links over external SaaS tools for years.

Primarily because the former offer greater control than the latter. And because they had the engineering and financial resources to do so.

Not all companies can make the tradeoff. They can’t devote two or three software engineers for the upkeep and maintenance of an internal link management system. 

This is where SaaS link management tools come into the picture. With fully managed freemium and free trials (and even forever free plans for small teams), they can be a pocket-friendly alternative that saves you a lot of headache.

8. Browser support, native apps, mobile support

Assessing the compatibility of your link management tool with your machine — desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone — is an indispensable step when evaluating your options. 

Depending on your use-case and comfort, you may want the tool to function on the browser, natively on your system, or on the go (and ideally on all three places/occasions).

You’d need to know which browsers and browser versions the tool supports, whether native apps for various OS are available (or in the future roadmap), and if mobile link management is offered as part of the package.  

9. Workflow integration

Working with an average of 300 SaaS apps everyday is no joke. Your links should follow you wherever you go, in order to be useful. Make sure to check if your link manager integrates with the rest of your apps to let you access and share links without ado. 

10. Link tracking and insights

Good link management software lets you track the links you create and share, unlocking click data that you can use to make better business decisions.

You can use external link tracking, UTM parameters, and insights to find out if a marketing campaign is getting the expected traction, for example. 

You can also stay in the loop about what’s happening in your own company by tracking internal links that can show you how important a particular resource may be for your company. 

For this, it’s crucial that your link management software supports the creation and tracking of both internal and public links.

11. Customer service and support

While shopping for a link management tool, what’s more important to vet than the tool itself? The people behind the tool. 

A good tool may cause your business to boom, but if the customer service is unresponsive, inefficient, and rude when you need support, it can put a dampener on the whole experience. 

To avoid being blindsided, we think it’s a good idea to get on product demos, attend webinars, take a trial, and assess how the sales/service team responds to issues, before committing to the tool for good.

OSlash — the enterprise link management solution you’ve been looking for

Wondering if there is a link management solution that meets all these cutoff criteria?

We invite you to meet OSlash. As an enterprise link management tool, OSlash does more than just letting you name, structure, organize, and share your links seamlessly.

It doubles up as a knowledge management tool with smart OSlash shortcuts that enable you to create single sources of truth for important company documents. With advanced productivity add-ons such as the OSlash launcher, you can use OSlash to surface ALL the information you need to do your job, blazingly fast.

And save yourself and your team up to 10 hours a week while at it!

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