If you want to share a live link from a website on Twitter or add one in your bio there’s one BIG problem.
Usually they’re too long – taking up most if not all of your character limit.
Take the link of this blog post as an example:
That link has 39 characters (yep, I counted them) – that leaves just 101 characters for anything else I want to write in my tweet. What’s more, it looks plain ugly.
So how do you get around this problem?
You use a link shortener like Bit.ly. (There are lots of link shorteners but Bit.ly is my favourite – keep reading to find out why).
Bit.ly takes the link you want and shortens it – reducing the size to about 15 characters. Perfect for Twitter use.
It also tracks your links so you can see how many people clicked on it giving you handy info about it’s popularity and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Using it is really simple.
Once that’s done whenever you want to shorten a link, just go to Bit.ly, copy the url you need and paste in to the box, click return and your shortened link is created.
You can share the link and tweet straight from Bit.ly (remember to add a message to post with your link – sending a link on it’s own is a missed opportunity and will get mistaken for spam!)
Or, if you select the ‘copy’ button it will automatically paste to your clipboard so you can jump in to Twitter with it, paste your link into the comment box and tweet.
Your Bit.ly link can be used anywhere – tweets, your Twitter bio, and everywhere else around the web – email signatures, Facebook, your Facebook page, newsletters, blogs…
Save yourself some time.
Even better, you don’t even have to go to the Bit.ly website to shorten your links.
- There’s an iPhone app you can use on the run.
- And my favourite: a really neat browser extension. Click and drag it to your tool bar from the Bit.ly website and use from whatever website you’re visiting.
Definitely one to check out and keep in your social media toolbox.
And the best feature of all…
I love the customisation feature – essential for certain types of links. Important ones that you might include in your bios or for a special event, for instance.
I’ll show you what I mean using the link to a Twitter webinar I hosted as an example…
The actual link to my blog about the webinar is this:
By using Bitly I can shorten it so it looks like this:
That means it’s easier to add to my social media profiles where space is limited – in a tweet, my Twitter bio or About section of my Facebook page.
But here’s another BIG problem.
When you look at the original link above it’s fairly clear where the link will take you.
But when shortened in Bitly it makes no sense, is hard to remember and impossible to decipher.
When people see this link they are relying on blind faith that it will take them where they expect to go. Some people would rather not risk it. There’s lots of dodgy links and spam around. Fair enough, right?
By customising the Bitly link to something legible means the user will have more confidence in the link and are more likely to click on it – which is a good thing for both of you.
If it’s a link you’re going to use often – customising makes it easy to remember too. So if we go back to my example, I’ve customised the link to this:
Easy to remember, legible and gives people an idea of what to expect when they click. (Hint: including a call to action alongside the link telling them what to do next helps too!)
I don’t suggest you customise ALL of your Bitly links – that would take too much time. Save it for when it’s important to be clear and encourage people to click – like a link in your Twitter bio, or for a special promotion or event (like my webinar!)