Generate Your Own Branded, Short URLs
Promoting and sharing your most recent blog posts is crucial to your overall success as a blogger and company. Sometimes, however, little details can get in the way. For those of you unfamiliar with shortened URLs let me fill you in. If you take a look at the url at the top of this particular post, you’ll notice it is extremely long: http://blog.jibemedia.com/2012/10/16/generate-your-own-branded-short-urls.
The problem with such links is that certain social media, and other sharing sites, only allow you to enter in a limited amount of characters when sharing content. Twitter recognized this as a problem quite a while ago, as they limit their users’ posts to 140 characters. Because some URLs were eating up 80-90% of that limit, they started shortening your URLs “automagically” for you. Give it a try, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Services such as bit.ly and others were born to shorten URLs for you and solve the problem. When shortening a URL it usually comes out as something like this: http://bit.ly/PABB22. It’s short, sweet, and it works.
Recently, however, a post from Buddy Media claimed that “engagement rates were three times higher for Facebook posts that use a full-length URL, rather than a link generated by a URL shortener like bit.ly”. The root reason for this is most likely that users like to know where they are going to be redirected when clicking on links. What do we do then about Twitter? What control do we have when they are automagically shortening our URLs for us? The answer: Branded URL shorteners.
Fortunately, with a free service from bit.ly and access to your DNS records, you can solve this problem with a branded URL that is short! Users will have an idea of where they being redirected to, and your URLs will still be short and sweet. It’s the best of both worlds.
These are the simple steps:
- Purchase the URL of your choice to be used for shortening your links. You’ll want this to be short – obviously. We use the URL jibetalk.in to correspond with our blog.
- Create a bit.ly account. In your account settings you’ll see an advanced tab. From there, the folks at bit.ly provide instructions on how to setup their shortening services with your custom URL.
- Log into your domain registar (the company you purchased the domain through) and find out how to edit the DNS settings. I’d provide specific instructions here, but it really just depends on who you purchase the domain through. The better registrars will provide support for you if you get lost, and can even make the change that bit.ly outlines for you. One way or another, you’ll want to change the ‘A’ record to point to the IP address provided by bit.ly. It sounds intimidating, but you can do it!
Once bit.ly has verified that you own the domain, you’re all setup! Any URL you shorten with them from here on out will begin with your new domain name and be shortened at the same time. You win!