affiliate program or a website created from a free web hosting service such as Geocities? The most affordable answer lies in taking advantage of a domain name redirect service.
What is a domain name redirect service? It is one in which a long, cumbersome URL is 'masked' by a more memorable domain name. Instead of having to type in the longer URL, the website visitor would type in the new domain name. This domain name would then redirect to the original URL. The visitor would then see the original URL in their browser. However, most won't pay that much attention.
Domain name redirect services can be free or paid. An example of a free service is Tiny URL. In order to use this service, all a person has to do is enter in whatever URL they need to have shortened. Tiny URL would then return a domain name that is much more convenient for website visitors. This URL would have 'tiny url' as part of the domain name followed by a number. An example is the following: tinyurl.com/3. Granted, it's not perfect, but it is a lot better than what one would typically get with an affiliate program or a free web hosting service.
If a person wants a more customized domain name, they will need to use pay for a redirect service. One of the best is Namestick. The process for using Namestick is similar to Tiny URL except webmasters must first choose the domain name they want to use for their redirect. They can choose any domain name they wish, just like if they were getting it through their web host or a domain name company. Namestick even provides suggestions if a person's desired domain name is taken. Once that is done, a person will have to enter in their URL they want redirected. After about 72 hours, the new domain name will be ready for use.
Can a person get away with not using a domain name redirect service? It depends on how they do their marketing. For instance, if a person does a lot of offline marketing, a short, meaningful domain name is essential. However, if a person uses a lot of hyperlinks, a domain name redirect service may not be as important. What are hyperlinks? They are simply words or phrases that are linked to a particular URL. When the visitor clicks on them, they are taken to the website that is hyperlinked within. Hyperlinks can easily be created in HTML editors or by use of the anchor tag.
In conclusion, a person's life can be made easier if they decide to hide their long URL with a more normal-looking domain name available through a domain name redirect service. This is if they aren't marketing through hyperlinks, which do not require an official domain name.