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Bit.ly – the funny little abbreviation you probably see all over the place, especially in Tweets. You may already know that it  is the de facto URL shortening software (80 million of them are shared every day), but there are loads of other benefits, some of which I will go through in this blog.

So, you may have an account, or you simply paste your long-winded URL into Twitter and hey presto, it shortens it, but here are some other benefits that you need to know about which will give you some great intelligence over your links and click throughs:

  • You can track / analyse what kinds of clicks your URL has received. You can see what countries are clicking onto your links, what the source of the click is, there are some lovely graphs and data in this area of bit.ly
  • You can customise your URL, eg. www.barclayjones.com/blog could be amended to: bit.lyBarclayJBlog which could really help with branding and also increase the confidence of the user to click onto the link (in these spam-ridden days…)
  • You can setup a nifty Sidebar Bookmarklet (say that 3 times without stuttering), which allows you to shorten and analyse      on the fly.
  • You can link it to multiple Facebook and Twitter (not LinkedIn Boo!) accounts so that when Twitter, for example, shortens a URL for you, it links back to your Bit.ly account
  • If you want to be really clever you can also amend the bit.ly bit to your domain– eg. The New York Times uses “nyti.ms” as their short domain (you will need to buy your shortened domain first though)
  • Need I say “It’s Free“? And it takes seconds to create an account – lots of my clients get really giddy when we introduce      this, as it gives them eyes and ears over their content which they may have not had before.

Some suggestions for shortened URL use:

  • email signatures – if you link to your LinkedIn page or Twitter feed, consider using a shortened URL from bit.ly for this to track how effective your email signature is at directing traffic.
  • Think about using shortened URLs on the buttons of your website – this could give you data that Google analytics does not
  • You can also use bit.ly for your other social media platforms – so think about using them when you create your LinkedIn company services etc… could really help you track their effectiveness
  • Tell your blog that you use bit.ly and if it automates the sending your your blog via Twitter, it will shorten the link to the blog and you can see how effective that link is too.

Do you shorten your URLs?  If so, do you know how they are being clicked onto? If you don’t already have a bit.ly account, take 2 mins to set one up and let me know how you get on.

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