You’ve seen others use link shorteners like TinyURL and Bit.ly (and maybe you’re using them too). It looks better than using the original, long page url. And in social media tools like Twitter, it’s a given that you must use a link shortener because you are limited to only 140 characters in your tweet. If your link is too long, Twitter will automatically shorten it, but…
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know how many of your Twitter or Facebook followers clicked on the links in each of your tweets or posts? It would definitely show you which posts were the most effective at getting people to click through. It would also tell you what topics people most want to hear about from you. Valuable information to have, yes?
Here are my two favorite link shorteners that give you the ability to track clicks for free…
Ow.ly: Ow.ly is the link shortener that’s built into Hootsuite.
- Not only does it track number of clicks on each link, but it also shows your most popular messages based on the number of clicks; and breaks down total clicks by referring sites and geographic location.
- TweetMeMe, a popular website tool that encourages retweets of your content, supports Ow.ly. In other words, if someone retweets your content using TweetMeMe, the link could be automatically sent via your Ow.ly account.
- In general, Hootsuite is great for managing and pre-scheduling social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all from the same window, making it a great all-around tool for social media. I’ll provide some posts and videos on Hootsuite in the future.
Bit.ly: For a straight-up url shortener service, my pick is Bit.ly.
- It tracks total clicks on each link, and breaks down total clicks by referring sites and geographic location. Another nice tracking feature is that it shows Twitter and Friendfeed conversations associated with the link, as well as comments on the page.
- TweetMeMe and the popular Sexy Bookmarks social sharing tool also support Bit.ly.
- With Bit.ly, you can also create a custom or vanity url such as:
- If you use the Tweetdeck or Twhirl desktop clients to schedule and manage your social media posts, both support Bit.ly.
For those of you who are a bit more “techie,” it’s worth pointing out that Ow.ly and Bit.ly both use a “301 redirect” to the full url. This tells Google, for example, that the short url is “permanently” moved to the long url, so… the link credit goes to the long url (your website). That’s a good thing!
Of course, there are many other link shorteners that you could use. But some don’t offer tracking (like TinyURL). In my book, tracking is always important so that you know what parts of your marketing work and what parts don’t. And link shorteners with tracking features are a very easy way to accomplish that within your social media efforts.
So try out one of the link shorteners above and check on your link stats. Then comment on the blog and let us know how you can use the info from the stats in your business. Or if you have a different link shortener that you like to use, let us know that too…and why you like it!