I'm sure you have clicked on a link on a social media site recently. Chances are, it was probably a Bitly link. But what exactly is a Bitly and how can it be useful for your business?
Most links that you want your customers or potential customers to click on are too long. This is where Bitly comes in. Bitly is one of the web's most popular and best URL link shorteners. Recently, Bitly has rebranded itself to become "the easiest and most fun way to save, share and discover links from around the web." For businesses, using a short link for your marketing efforts is a great option. People will be more likely to click on an easy and short link and more likely to share it. Bitly is also good for getting a little extra social media data since it acts as a middle man for all your links. You can get info on other links, viral stories, funny pictures and interesting discussions. Bitly allow you to fill in the gaps in standard reporting solutions without a whole lot of extra work or expense.
But how do you shorten your links? Easy! Using the Bitly website, you can simply paste in a link at the top of the website's page and have it shortened automatically. You don't even need to create an account. After, you paste your link, a new page will show up with your newly shortened link, along with a button to easily copy it, contents of the link and how many clicks it has received. There is also an option to join Bitly so you can save, monitor and "bundle" all your shortened links in one place.
Bitly is free to sign up and allows you to connect to your Facebook or Twitter accounts so you can easily find followers or friends in your network who are using Bitly as well. By clicking on "Your Network" in your account, you can see all Bitly links shared on the web by any of your people in your network.
The section titled "Your Stuff" on Bitly acts as your very own homepage. Here you can view your own personal feed of all the links that you share using Bitly. Bitly likes to refer to these as "bitmarks." Each time you generate a new bitmark, it is posted to your feed in chronological order. This way you can also look at it later on. It will show the original link at the top, along with the Bitly bitmark link and you can simply copy it any time you need it again. By looking at the bitmark in the feed, you can view the number of clicks it has received. You can also click on "View stats" to get more detailed info on the amount of people that clicked through and when they did it. Clicking on your username in the top right hand corner and choosing "Tools" also gives you access to a bunch of new options for saving links and more.
Bitly also offers an open public API so that third-party services can take advantage of it. This is why popular online sites and tools use Bitly links in their features because it automatically incorporates it.
Bitly Wherever You Are
You can have Bitly at your fingertips wherever you are by adding the Google Chrome extension to your Chrome web browser, dragging the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, downloading the iPhone app or adding the plugin to your WordPress blog.