URL - What Does It Really Mean?

what does URL mean
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URL Definition:

The term "url" is actually an acronym for: uniform resource locator. The term is almost always used in place of the full term.


Usually pronounced by sounding out each letter of the acronym, U-R-L. However, it is sometimes pronounced as the name "Earl".

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What Does URL Really Mean?

A url is what you enter into the address bar of your browser in order to navigate to a specific site.

Often we think of the url referring to the site itself or even to a specific page. And it does. But every element online has a unique url, including photographs, videos, and documents.

Having the url of a specific element allows you to return to the exact place again or, more commonly, share the link or create a link on your own site.

See also: How to Use Images to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Common Uses Of URL's

It is obvious that URL's are necessary in web design. They really are the foundation of creating a website - the url tells the site which image will be used and where it goes. URL's ensure that the site can be easily found a second time. But there are a number of other uses:


It is common for some contests to provide entrants with a unique url. This unique url contains a tracking code that records specific actions taken (such as clicks, shares or signups). An example of a contest tool that uses unique URL's is Contest Domination.

Social Media

URL's are generated for every tweet, Facebook post and YouTube video produced. Sometimes you may want to send people directly to a specific video, social media post, etc. To get the unique URL for a Facebook wall post, simply hover over the timestamp for the post. You can either right-click to copy the URL or you can simply click and it will open the post.

You will see a URL something like this: http://www.facebook.com/yourusername/posts/3949336676045685

URL Redirects:

This is when a file is created to redirect a visitor from the original URL to another one. It is simple to setup and if you are using a WordPress site you can create a redirect URL with a plugin like Pretty Link. An example where you might use a redirect URL is if you have a website name that is difficult to say, spell, or remember. Rather than giving the difficult URL out; you can buy a domain name that is easier to say, spell, and remember and give that out when speaking at event, promoting on the radio, etc. That URL would simply send people back to the intended website you want them to see.

Tracking Links:

Another type of redirect you may use is a tracking link. If you are doing any type of affiliate marketing usually your affiliate link is a long and unattractive link. You would create a nicer, shorter link and have that redirect to the program you are promoting with your tracking link.

Landing Pages: 

A very common way of using URL redirects is to drive traffic to a specific landing page; a specific page on your website, a squeeze page, or sales page. Again, the main reason you would want to do this is to give someone a simple link to see or click on which takes them to a page that has a longer name and/or uses tracking links.

See Also: How to Select and Register a Domain Name for Your Online Business

Edited by Online Business/Hosting Expert Brian T. Edmondson