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What is link management & why you need it — a complete overview

Why wade through the mess of URLs day in, day out? Invest in link management to take back control of your links.
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Consider an ad from IKEA with a rare and tempting up to 80% off clearance sale. 

To get to the catalog, you need to click on a link.

Which link of these two are you more likely to trust?

  1., or

If you’re wary of the all too common cyber frauds, perhaps the latter. Isn’t it?

This is exactly what your customers would do as well.

The human mind likes to avoid unnecessary efforts. It likes it when things are served to it on a platter. 

And processing the mumble-jumble of long URLs is hard work. While short links with a random alphabet-and-number soup may appear to be better, they’re only marginally so. 

In a world where nothing seems to work without a link, how do you come to terms with this reality?

The answer is, by relying on solid link management.

What is link management?

By link management, we mean the ability to take back control of your links. 

Link management is a means to find, access, edit, store, structure, organize, and analyze all the links that an organization uses and shares. This includes both internal links that are accessible only within the organization by its members as well as external links shared outside the organization.

Why does your company need link management?

Your company needs link management in order to:

1. Protect and market your brand with custom public links

With link management, you have absolute ownership of the links you share publicly, outside the (virtual) walls of your company.

You can edit and brand your business links using custom domains and custom slugs (back halves of the URLs). It is useful for protecting as well as marketing your brand, as we saw in the IKEA example.

x/winter-sale where x is your brand or domain name has a lot more appeal and trustworthiness than a random, suspicious-looking short link. 

Customized links also improve brand recall, especially when your links are being widely distributed, say in an email or social-media campaign etc. 

You also get control over your link data which will be stored securely in your link management tool. You can use it for unlocking helpful insights for business decisions.

2. Organize and structure information

Link management is equivalent to organizing information because virtually all kinds of information you work with today lives inside links. This can range from something as public as a blog post on your website to confidential company data such as your customer data in your CRM software.  

The greater the number of apps and tools we end up working with, the greater the number of links we need to use everyday.

The only problem? Navigating hundreds of URLs is just a tad harder than navigating files and folders in a directory structure. 

Recommended reading: 8 ways to find your workplace URLs instantly

So what do you do? 

We find that one of the most efficient ways of managing all these URLs is by transforming them into custom short links. What’s even better is renaming them using simple keywords instead of relying on unintelligible strings of alphanumeric characters that often make up short links. 

As an example, consider your first week at your company. You were new to the game and were perhaps dealing with the unending series of onboarding steps — signing agreements, requesting access to documents, even creating new ones of your own. And sometimes you felt buried under all the (digital) paperwork. 

Link management would ensure that everything you needed to start working was available to you in one place or folder, say at a short link such as x/onboarding. This may also have significantly reduced your time to start being productive and contributing to the company.

3. Speed up information discovery

Think for a moment what you do when your teammate asks you for a link to the marketing budget spreadsheet you’re supposed to be working on together?

If you constantly have hundreds of tabs open, one with the said spreadsheet, you may have to spend a few minutes looking for it. And your colleague will need to wait for the link, wasting a few precious minutes of their own.

Contrast this with a scenario where you created a short link to the spreadsheet called x/marketing-budget and shared access to the link with your colleague. This simple trick would have saved you both the back and forth of searching for information.

Now imagine this being done for all company documents. Wouldn’t finding the right information be a breeze? 

No more relying on our overburdened brains to remember which links were shared  in which Slack thread. No more troubling our colleagues for information and subjecting them to a context-switch right in the middle of deep work.

No more wasting over 9 hours every week just looking for the right information.

Link management will help you slash this unproductive time drastically by providing you with the right information at your fingertips. So that you can focus on work that actually counts. 

Many link management tools come with additional features including tags and enterprise search to scan through your repository of links and surface relevant resources in much lower time. 

4. Facilitate faster information sharing and collaboration

When links are organized and not scattered about haphazardly in emails and chats and open tabs and bookmarks, information becomes easier to find and access. 

When information becomes easier to find, collaboration becomes seamless.

At OSlash, collections have aided faster information sharing and collaboration massively. 

Collections are akin to folders of related links with custom access and sharing settings. The collection o/video for example contains OSlash shortcuts to all the video related work, including video scripts, raw video footage, subtitle files, background audio tracks, and final videos. The collection was shared with the entire marketing team right at the start so that no one would need to ask for the link each time a new video needs to be processed and published.

5. Create single source of truth for important resources

Every organization has information that’s public knowledge within the organization. Company intranets and wikis often contain centralized resources which can be accessed by anyone on the company VPN, for example.

Admin procedures, company rules, organization charts, product roadmaps, compensation benefits, etc. are important documents which need to be readily accessible for everyone at all times.

They should not get lost in the cacophony and should always be up-to-date. 

Link management helps create a single source of truth for each such resource to make this possible. You can adopt a specific nomenclature for short links and share it within the organization so that locating any such information becomes virtually intuitive.

Ex: x/org-chart for the organizational chart, o/benefits for compensation benefits, o/roadmap for product roadmaps.

Further, you can edit and manage these short links such that

  1. you can update the destination document without changing the link at all

(Ex: Replacing the roadmap with a newer version, while keeping the short link intact as x/roadmap)

  1. you can update the link if it no longer fits, without needing to change the underlying document

(Ex: Renaming x/roadmap as x/roadmap-2021, x/roadmap-2022 and so on, as you add newer roadmaps every year without wishing to delete older ones) 

6. Build an enterprise knowledge hub

With single sources of truth for common resources, the next logical step would be to collate these and create an enterprise knowledge hub, where everyone can login to find what they need, instantly. 

The dashboard of a good link management tool could be a proxy for such a hub as it will grant you an overview of the most important links (or information) accessed, used, and shared in the company.   

Recommended reading: A complete guide to knowledge management for your company

7. Track and optimize the performance of business assets

One of the greatest benefits of using link management software is being able to track the links you create and share. This unlocks click data that you can use to make better business decisions.

You can use external link tracking and insights to find out if a marketing campaign is getting the expected traction, for example. By adding UTM parameters to links, you can get more detailed website analytics and precisely measure the data coming in from different traffic sources. This is helpful in optimizing your campaigns.

You can also stay in the loop about what’s happening in your own company by tracking internal links. Internal link data can help you discern which links are visited most often and by whom, for instance, showing you how important a particular resource may be for your company.

OSlash — the fast, modern way to manage all your links

It’s pretty evident that link management can help you solve your productivity problems and scale your business even faster. 

And you can make your links work for your company by using a comprehensive link management solution, such as OSlash.

As an enterprise link management tool, OSlash allows you and your team to name your links using simple, intuitive keywords. By creating shortcuts for long URLs, OSlash helps teams of all sizes navigate, manage, and share information at lightning speed.

With workplace speed and productivity as the primary focus, OSlash will help you manage your internal shortcuts to unlock faster access to the right information, right when you need it.

At the same time, you’ll get to retain complete ownership of your public shortcuts — with custom domains and slugs plus tracking and Insights for the hits on your shortcuts. 

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