Tag Archives: bitly

How to make the most of 140 characters

Twitter.

Some of us love it, some of us hate it. However you feel about it, there’s no denying that many use it for support.
For bloggers, it provides a useful way of sharing our posts. Simple – copy and paste a link to your blogpost, tell people a bit about what they can expect from the post, then hit publish right?

Except for some of us the blog post’s URL is so long, there’s not much left of those 140 pesky little characters that Twitter allow us. That’s not something to complain about, because quite frankly if Twitter allowed longer tweets, they wouldn’t be tweets would they? They’d be full on birdsong. However, if you have a blog with a long name, a category name, then a post with a long title, 140 characters is just not going to give you enough space to tease your readers, grab attention or even add a hashtag.

So what to do?
Today, I’m going to tell you about link shortening. There are quite a few websites out there that offer this service and a quick search online will give you lots of results. However, the one that I prefer is Bitly. And that’s because it’s easy, free, and I can see how popular a given link is.

It’s free and simple to shorten a link. Head to Bitly.com, paste in the long version of your link, hit ‘Shorten’ and voila, you’ll have a short link that you can copy and paste, using up less of your precious character allowance.

For statistics, and when I say statistics, I mean you can see exactly how many people have used the shortened link to visit your post, you’ll need to create a free account.
For the purposes of this post I’ve opened a new account for The Adoption Social. To do the same, simply head over to Bitly.com, click on  ‘Sign up For Free’.
bitly homepageThen you’ll see a screen like this, where you can register either by email, Facebook or Twitter. I used our Twitter account, because it seemed as easy as any other, and because we’ll mostly be using shortened bitly links on Twitter.

Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.54.57

After following the instructions (i.e allowing access to your Twitter account, and inputting your email address) you’ll go to your Bitly homepage. It’s a bit like a dashboard of all the short links you’ve made. You can search through them here – useful if you create lots.

As with those without accounts, simply paste your long link in, and Bitly will convert it to a short link for you. Just hit copy to copy the link onto your computer’s clipboard, then hit Ctrl+V to paste into your tweet. So simple. (From this dashboard though, you can not only copy, but share and email your Bitly links too).

Under each Bitly link you’ll also see the number of clicks that link has had. See below – I only created these links a couple of minutes ago, and haven’t shared them, so you’ll see they’ve had 0 clicks. This will help you see which of your links have been most popular. Screenshot 2014-04-04 13.58.21Here you can also change the privacy of your links from public to private. You can create bundles of bitly links which you can keep private or share with friends. You can add notes against each link. You can even develop a network of your own.

For me though, just being able to conserve some of my Twitter characters for some interesting text is a good enough reason to use this site.

If you use other link shortening sites, please do share them below – tell us your favourites and why.