Bit.ly is a service that allows you to shorten links for social sharing and stats tracking.
With the 140 character limitation of Twitter, it’s important that we shorten the links we share in order to save space, yet Bit.ly actually does more than just shorten links. Bitly allows you to edit the shortened links you create so that you can customize them and make them more appealing.
You also get stats for all of the links you create with Bitly that keep track of the number of shares and clicks coming from Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Here’s more About Bit.ly
“bitly is the easiest and most fun way to save, share and discover links from around the web. We call these links bitmarks, and you can use bitly to remember, curate and share them.
bitly is available via our website, browser extensions, mobile web, and numerous third-party tools integrated with our open public API. bitly also powers more than 10,000 custom short URLs and offers an enterprise analytics platform that helps web publishers and brands grow their social media traffic.”
Tracking PDF Download Stats Using Bitly
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking stats, however there are some limitations when it comes to tracking PDF downloads. You can set up Goals in Google Analytics but you are limited in the number of Goals you can configure for each profile. The other option is to use Google Tag Manager which is for more advanced users, but using Bitly is a much simpler, commonplace solution. The interface provides easy access so you can see how many times people have clicked to download your PDF.
For example, I used a Bitly shortened link to track the PDF downloads from the link in my most recent blog post. In order to see the stat for the shortened, custom link I created, I simply add the + sign to the end of the URL.
This video demonstrates how easy it is to Shorten, Customize & Track Bitly Links (find the transcript at the end of the post)
When NOT to use Bitly
I give a couple of warnings in the video and the biggest one that I want to stress is that you should not use Bitly to shorten affiliate links. It’s against the TOS. But there is a simple solution for that, you can use a WordPress plugin called Pretty Link Pro. You can even check out the free version and I know that a lot of Podcasters use this to create links for their show notes. It’s much easier for podcast listeners to remember the short link when it’s being mentioned during a podcast and my friend Daniel J. Lewis from The Audacity to Podcast is a real pro when it comes to doing this.
Thanks to a comment that came in from Ankur I’m adding this screenshot. Ankur asked about using Bitly with Buffer and the screenshot below, shows how to connect your Bitly account to Buffer. If you’re not sure what Buffer is, you can read the tutorial here. In short, it’s available as an extension for Google Chrome and once you install it, you can share any webpage to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or your Google+ business page.
Log in to Bufferapp, go to Settings > Link Shortening > bit.ly. Next you need to authorize your bit.ly account and you’re done. All of the links you share using Buffer will be shortened with Bitly.
Are you using Bitly to shorten and customize links? How often do you check your stats?
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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT FOR CUSTOMIZE AND TRACK LINKS IN BITLY
Hey friends it’s Ileane from Basic Blog Tips. In this video you’ll learn how to customize and track links using Bitly.
Before we get started I wanna say that if you’re using affiliate marketing you don’t want to use Bitly to track your links. At the end to the video I’m gonna show you a different tool that you’re gonna use if you’re doing affiliate marketing.
Now I created a PDF and this PDF is a transcript of a video that I did and the reason I want to use Bitly to track these links is because Google Analytics doesn’t do a great job of tracking PDF clicks. So I wanna simplify the process using Bitly.
The first thing I do is come up here and grab my URL. Next, I’m going to go over to Bitly.com. Now if you don’t have an account you simply sign in with your Twitter. Go up to this box here and paste the link there. You see this little pencil, this is where you’re going to customize the link. Now let me warn you ahead of time. If someone else already has your link you won’t be able to use it. So you have to pick something that’s unique. Keep in mind you also want to keep your link short so that people can easily Retweet it.
In this case I’m just gonna name it “chromePUvid” because its the Chrome Power User video. And it accepted it – because nobody else would think to use that URL. Now let’s copy that link and go back over to our WordPress dashboard.
Now I’m on WordPress and I’m editing the post. I created this download button and I’m going to add the Bitly link here. I want it to open in new window so I just go over to “Advanced Settings” and click on “open link in a new window”. Now update the post.
In order to track any Bitly link you just add a plus sign at the end of the URL. Of course there’s no hits on this because we just created it so let’s take a look at some other Bitly links. Just go to STATS and you can sort these links by the total number of clicks so you can automatically see what links got the most clicks okay. And if you want a little bit more details just click on the tracking details. And when you’re in the stats page you’ll be able to see stats for any Bitly links you ever shared, doesn’t have to be ones that you’ve customized. So for example, it tells you when you created it. I created this one back in November and you see that over time they start to trail off. But you also get to see Facebook clicks, Twitter clicks, Google+and other. It’ll tell you who shared it.
And in this case, let’s take for example Adrienne Smith. She shared a different Bitly URL but to that same content. And just click on that number and that will give you more details about the exact Bitly link that she shared, and where it was shared. Okay that’s it for Bitly.
I just wanted to give you a tip that I mentioned earlier. If you’re doing affiliate marketing you don’t want to use Bitly. You want to use a plugin for WordPress that’s called Pretty Link. They have a lite version as well as the Pro version. Well that’s it for today guys and I’ll talk to you on the next video.
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