URL shorteners are sort of an unsung hero of blogging and social media.
Sometimes, in order to have a good blog title, you end up with a really, really long permalink (we talked about permalinks the other day!). Those super long links can look kind of ugly in social media, or anywhere else you need to share them.
What if the link is so long and ugly, people don’t want to click it? What if it’s so long it takes up half your post?
URL shorteners come to the rescue! Here are just a few reasons why you may want to use a URL shortener:
- To shorten a long, ugly URL
- With Bit.ly, you can create custom shortlinks that are easy to remember
- Tracking and analytics
There are quite a few available – if you post through Buffer, for example, they automatically give you a buff.ly short link, and with the pro version, you get some pretty nifty analytics.
But I think the most popular of all the URL shorteners is Bit.ly. Creating a short link with this service is about as easy as anything can be – simply copy the URL that you want to shorten, go to Bit.ly and then paste your url into the box at the top of the page.
In a hot second, a little window will pop up to show you your new short link, which you can then copy and use.
But wait – there’s more!
If you go into this window, you see there’s a box that says “customize”. Add whatever text you want there, and now instead of a link that looks like “bit.ly/3ndr3H3”, you can have “bit.ly/I-kick-ass” or “bit.ly/DownloadMyThing” or whatever you want, assuming someone else hasn’t already used that text.
As you can see in the picture, I like to add a “ta” for “Take Action” to the front of my custom links. Not only does it brand them to me, it helps me get a custom link for terms that are pretty commonly used.
You can also change the title to your short link, if you wish. Sometimes, when you create your link, it doesn’t pull up a title and you end up with a string of ugly characters instead of a title, so it’s nice to know you can change it whenever you want.
The other cool thing with Bit.ly is the analytics. Just click on any of your previous shortened links, and Bitly will show you how many times it’s been clicked.
Click on the “Referrers” tab on the right, and you can see where those clicks came from – I love this the best. It’s always great to know where my links are getting the most traction and action.
So there you go – a quick and dirty tutorial on URL shorteners. If you found this information helpful, please click on one of the buttons below to share – and as always, keep taking action!