Bitly allows you to easily shorten, share, manage, and analyze your favorite links from around the web.
After you sign up for a free account, you will see the option to “Create Bitlink” at the top of the page. Once you shorten a link, you can customize and share your link across social channels, email, SMS, print, or anywhere else you can think to put a link!
In your account you can track total clicks, where they came from, and when so you can know the best ways to use your links!
You may have noticed other popular online sites and tools that automatically incorporate Bitlinks into their features. That’s because Bitly offersan open public APIso that third-party services can take advantage of it.
Be sure to check outBitly’s toolsif you create and share lots of bitlinks. You can:
add the browser extension to your web browser of choice (Safari, Chrome, or Firefox);
drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar;
download the iPhone or Android app; and
add the WordPress plugin to your WordPress site.
Using Your Own Branded Short Domain
Not quite happy with thebit.lyURL? No problem!
Bitly is versatile enough that it supports branded short domains you purchase from a domain registrar. For example, back before About.com became DotDash.com, it had the branded short domain,abt.com.
Bitly walks you through the process ofsetting your branded short domain upto work with the platform so that you can track your clicks and stats just like a regular Bitlink. Whenever you create a new Bitlink in Bitly, just selectbit.lyabove the long URL field to switch to using your own branded domain.
To create a new Bitlink, hover your cursor over the orangeCreatebutton and selectBitlinkfrom the dropdown menu. A field will appear on the right side of the screen where you’ll be able to paste a long link and automatically see your link become a Bitlink.
If you want, you can customize the last few characters of your Bitlink. When you’re ready to use your Bitlink, select theCopybutton to copy and paste it somewhere or theShare button to share it on Twitter or Facebook.
Managing Your Bitlinks
Whenever you create a new Bitlink, it gets posted into your Bitlinks feed (with the most recent at the top and oldest at the bottom) so you can always refer back to it later. You can click on any link in the column in the bottom left to see its details on the right, including the title of the page that it links to, buttons to copy/share/edit it, traffic stats, referrers, and locations.
To keep your Bitlinks organized as you add more, you can select the checkbox beside any Bitlink in your feed to either tag it or hide it. You can use the search bar at the top to find specific Bitlinks by keyword or tag.
Although one of the original big uses of bitlinks was to reduce the number of characters in a tweet, a change Twitter made some time ago actually eliminates that benefit. That’s because even though you might still see the bitlink in the tweet, behind the scenesTwitter converts all links using its own shortening service(t.co) and will count all links as 22 characters (23 if they use “https”).
A Few More Notes about Bitlinks
In most places that auto-convert URLs to live links (e.g. Facebook), you don’t need to add the “http://” before “bit.ly” when using a bitlink as they will recognize that as a URL.
Once a bitlink has been created for a URL, if another person shortens the same one later, they will get the same bitlink for it. One thing I’m not 100% clear on is what’s considered the same URL. For example, a URL that begins with “http://” is definitely considered different than “https://” and you will get a different bitlink for it. But one that begins with “http://www.” and one that begins with just “www.” are considered the same and you will get the same bitlink. And one without the “http” or the “www” at all (e.g. “techforluddites.com”) is considered different again.
If you sign up for an account with bitly, you can track the bitlinks you create to see how often they’re shared and clicked on as well as some demographic information about the people doing the sharing and clicking. You can also createbitlinks with custom URLsthat are easier to remember that the random letters and numbers created by Bitly, as long as someone else hasn’t already used it. For example,bit.ly/streamingplayerswill take you to the T4L special section on Streaming Media Players.
Twitter isn’t the only place you can take advantage of bitlinks. They’re also useful when you have really long URLs that you’re pasting in an email so they don’t break over multiple lines and therefore become unclickable by the recipient. They’re also helpful to use in images or print documents where you can’t create a direct link to the web page and you don’t have space to write out the whole URL.
If you see a bitlink and aren’t sure if it’s safe to click on, you can preview the destination page by adding a plus sign to the end of the shortened URL. For example, if you enterbit.ly/1c92v5e+, it will tell you that it redirects to Tech for Luddites before you actually go there.
What is a URL Shortener? A URL shortener is an online application that converts your long url link into a shorter link that is easier to share. Some link shortener services, such as Bit.ly, include additional features to help you:
customize your short links
Track link clicks
Track audience data
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how easy it is to use Bit.ly’s url shortener to create, track and organize your custom urls.
If you want to take a look at some additional link shortners, check out these solutions: Goo.gl Link Shortener: https://youtu.be/2Wk9ufiL3jk Pretty Links Link Shortner
Why I love Bit.ly — It’s Free — Super easy to shorten links — Create customized short links (bitlinks) — Track link clicks and analytics — Ability to share links directly to social media — Add notes about each shortened link — Ability to archive links (CLEAN IT UP) — Use to track referrals from partners — Organize Bit.ly links with the “Bundles” — Connect your Facebook or Twitter to see what others are sharing
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