This week’s tip is all about, not only using Bitly, but how to customise it so you don’t just have a random jumble of letters for a link!
Customised Short Links with Bitly
Hi it’s Nikki from Virtually Angels just bringing you a quick ‘Tech Tip Tuesday’ video. I’m going to show you today how to shorten and customise links. So the service that we’re going to use today is called Bitly.com and the reason that we use it, well one of the reasons is, particularly when you’re writing blog posts, urls can become quite long. So you can see this one is ‘virtuallyangels.com/delegating-to-you-virtual-assistant‘ so not the easiest thing to remember and particularly when you’re sharing on social media, especially Twitter, when you’ve got a limited amount of characters, you don’t want to waste all that just on a url. So we can create something nice and short, that’s just a few characters long that will still take people to the same place and that will be much easier to remember as well.
So to do this we go to Bitly.com and you’re going to sign up for a free account. I still use a free account myself, I don’t think I know anybody that uses a paid version, so it’s not going to cost you anything. You just click on ‘Sign Up For Free‘. It’s going to give you an option, so you can sign up with Facebook, Twitter or you can just create a username and password and have it completely separate. So I’m just going to log in to my account.
Ok so once you’ve logged in to your account this is the page that you will see, the main screen. Yours might look a little bit different because obviously I’ve saved quite a few links in my account but I’ll just show you a couple of cool things about Bitly. So it doesn’t just create a nice little short link, it also tracks statistics as well. So I’m just going to find you a link and show you what it does. This particular link here is my landing page, so I give away some tips, 10 Ways to Save 10 Hours with a Virtual Assistant, if you haven’t got it go there and give it a whirl! Basically I shortened this link and if we click on ‘View Stats‘ what it’s going to show you is:
- I created it on May 6th.
- Since I created it, it’s had 98 clicks.
- You can see when the clicks were made. So on 11 July it was clicked 11 times, on 9 May it had 32 clicks.
- You can see where it was shared the most and clicked the most so obviously Facebook is a big place where it’s popular for me.
- Then it shows you where in the world people are clicking. So it’s biggest, most popular in the US, then in the UK where I am, Australia, New Zealand so that also helps me to know who’s interested in my services.
So that’s the other cool side of Bitly. So if we go back to the main page, there are 2 ways you can save and shorten a link in Bitly and I’m going to show you them both. So the first one is to do it via this website. So we go to whatever link we want to shorten so I’m going to shorten this one. Just highlight it in the address bar and copy it. Then go over to Bitly and in this box at the top where it says ‘Paste a long URL here to shorten‘, you’re just going to paste the link in and then it’s going to automatically bring up this little box.
So Bitly has automatically created a nice little shortened link but it’s not very easy to remember it just looks like a random combination of letters, which is exactly what it is! But you can customise this so it looks a little bit more professional and it’s easier to remember. So you might have to play around with this because if somebody else has already saved a particular combination you can’t have it as well. So I’m going to try ‘panicdelegate‘ and click ‘Save‘. That one’s available so now I can just copy ‘bit.ly/panicdelegate‘. You can just click the button here ‘Copy Bitlink‘ and then if I went to my Facebook page I can just click here paste it and that is the link. If you see here it’s generating a preview and it’s actually bringing up the image on my blog post and it is actually correctly linking to that page so you know that it works.
The other way to save a link is using the Chrome extension. So the browser I’m using is Google Chrome and you can install a little Bitly extension which is this button here. I don’t know if it’s like a little puffer fish or blowfish or something like that. Basically it saves you from having to go to the main dashboard so what you would do in this instance, let’s get a different post, we’ll go for this one. So I don’t have to highlight, literally I just click the puffer fish on whatever page, make sure you’re on the right page, click the little puffer fish and the box pops up the same way that it did on the main Bitly website. Again it’s automatically given us a little custom combination so I’m just going to try and make that a bit more customised. So ‘mobileoffice‘ and ‘Save‘. So it says here, this is a good example of how you can’t duplicate, ‘This custom Bitlink is already taken‘. Quite often what I do is I just add my business initials on the end so I just put VA and there we go. So now I’ve got bit.ly/mobileofficeva, again if I copy the Bitlink, go back and put that one on my Facebook page we should see the preview come up – Top 5 Tools for your Mobile Office.
So there we go. That is how to save and shorten links in Bitly and how to customise them for your business as well. I hope you enjoyed the video, if you’ve got any feedback or any comments head over to the Facebook page which is http://www.facebook.com/virtuallyangels or tweet me @virtuallyangels and let me know what you thought!