If you use Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it’s no doubt that you have seen shortened links like http://bit.ly/ipOaP5. Tiny URL and Bit.ly are just two of the free URL shorteners available to help you share links with social media.
Why use a URL shortener? First, it keeps the link shorter so you take up fewer characters in the post. Second, you can track data and statistic for the shortened links. A while back, I upgraded my free Bitly account to use a custom domain (http://bourn.co) while they were beta testing custom domains. The result is branded sharable domains like: http://bourn.co/jMuRs4 and http://bourn.co/lPMbCK which are trusted because you recognize the brand name, our name, in the link.
Here’s the great Custom Domain Shortlink news for you!
The Bitly Pro white label service launched in beta in 2009 has grown to power over 10,000 custom short domains and now they have rolled out the custom domain service to everyone as part of the standard Bitly account! Now you can set up a custom short domain with Bitly, free of charge and with no waiting period.
Each Bitly user can now also register a tracking domain to watch how their content is performing across the social web. When you set up your tracking domain (that you own and control), your Bitly analytics dashboard will provide a summary of all shortening and click activity on Bitly links pointing to that domain, including links that were created by other Bitly users. And if you’re really on the ball, you can use your Bitly API Key to link your new custom short domain with your WordPress blog and other apps so all of your shortened link are branded!
So, if you’re looking to enhance and reinforce your brand via social media:
- Head on over to Bit.ly and sign up for an account
- Head over to GoDaddy and buy a short domain — We recommend them for domain names, but not for hosting!
- Point your domain to the Bitly servers
- Add your domain to your Bit.ly account and verify it
- Start shortening your links