Tuesday, February 12, 2013

4 Cool Things I Found Using Bitly Links (URL Link Shortener)

Recently, I began doing an experiment for someone, and I discovered that I should be doing something differently.

It has to do trick with backlinks, specifically a URL shortener.

For instance...

Orginal URL: http://www.heritage.com/articles/2013/01/30/ypsilanti_courier/news/doc51092b79267ee822986368.txt

Ow.ly URL: http://ow.ly/hzwFQ
Bitly.com URL: http://bit.ly/Wzv5JO

If you copied and pasted either of these last two URL shorteners, you would see that it leads to the original URL.

Disclaimer: At the time I am writing this, I have not used Ow.ly through its site. I've only used Ow.ly through Hootsuite.  So I might be overlooking something about Ow.ly.  On this blog post, my focus is on what Bitly CAN do--NOT what Ow.ly or any other shortener CANNOT do.

There are a few reasons to use URL shorteners.  The biggest reason is that it looks less ugly than a long link.  Many people feel LESS intimidated to click on a shorter link than a longer one.  (NOTE: Many affiliate marketers like to use these shorter links for exactly that reason.)

Why I Want to Use Bit.ly More Often

Most people who use Bitly.com understand that it makes links shorter, and if you have an account with Bitly, it keeps track of the number of times people click on that shortened Bitly link.

Benefit #1: Bitly tracks number of times people click.

However, I've discovered that there are other benefits that I did NOT expect.

If you click "View Stats" for a particular Bitly Link, you can see even more things.

Besides the number of clicks, the first page of "View Stats," you can see...
(a) Save - The number of people who saved this link as a Bitly Link.
(b) Shares - The number of times someone has posted something about this on social media.

In this example, it looks like we are the only ones who make a Bitly link for this (Left Bubble: Save = 1).  It also looks like this has been shared 43 times (Middle Bubble: Shares = 43).

Benefit #2: Bitly shows the number of times someone has SHARED this Bitly link.

A little lower, it provides information about WHERE people are clicking.
(a) Which websites
(b) Which countries

Notice the Bitly provides information about which WEBSITES refer traffic (click on your Bitly Link) and which COUNTRIES are responding to you).

Taking a closer look at WHICH WEBSITES are referring to your post (prompting people to click on your Bitly Link).

Benefit #3: Bitly Links allow us to see more details about where people are clicking our links.

This next thing might be my favorite benefit.

If you change the "View Stats" tab to "Global Stats," you will see even more.

Click on the "Global Stats" tab to see a history of Tweets of your Bitly Link.
Once you click on "Global Stats," then you can scroll down the page and see a history of Tweets that include your Bitly Link.

This page of the Global Stats for your Bitly Link provides a historical list of Tweets.  (It probably provides Facebook shares, also, but at the time I am writing this, my test only involved Twitter.)

This shows...
(a) WHO Tweeted
(b) WHEN this was Tweeted
(c) WHAT the Tweet said

Benefit #4: Bitly Links allow us to track a history of Twitter Posts (Tweets)

Initially, I simply figured that I would get a visitor click count, but I discovered several reasons why I will be using Bitly Links more often.

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