Welcome to another installment of Techno Trauma. Today I'm chatting about bitly. Now, I've only recently started to use this in earnest, and I have to say I'm loving it. Before, like many folks, I used Tiny URL to shorten my links, but then I stumbled across bitly.
At first, I used it as one offs, when I needed a link quickly shortened, not really paying attention to what they offered. Then I started reading a little more about it from several other authors and sources, I decided to give it a go. It's fantastic.
I've discovered it to be a great asset. When you sign up for bitly, you can connect accounts. I connected my Facebook and Twitter account. Why would you do this? Because when you go to shorten a URL, it will have a share button, and when you click 'Share', a list with your connected accounts will appear. Here's a screenshot. (Click for full view)
Cross-posting: As you can see, it allows you to select which account(s) you'd like to post to, and also allows for you to write your tweet or post. Then all you have to do is click 'Post & Tweet' and it will do so for you. Aside this, you have the option of making the link private or public. Your shortened links remain as part of 'Your Stuff', so folks using bitly can also find them. You'll be able to see stats, you can archive your links, or bundle them up. If you have anyone in your networks with a bitly account, they'll be able to see your bitly links and you'll be able to see theirs. Links can also be saved to your stuff, or folks can save your links to theirs.
Stats: Another great thing about having a bitly account is the fact that it keeps stats of your links. You can see stats for individual links or all your links combined. It has breakdowns of how many times your links were clicked by month, week, day, or hour. You can see how many times that link has been clicked, whether clicked from Facebook or Twitter, what countries by percentage, and uses easy to read bar graphs and pie charts.
The whole site is user friendly. I started using bitly in May, so in a few months, I'll follow up with another post to let you know how it's going, but so far, it's fantastic. Also, if you use Chrome, I recommend getting the bitly extension which will put the little blow-fish up in your browser bar. What you do then--once you're signed in, you go to whichever page you want to short link--even your own post, and then click on the fish, and a box will pop up with your shortened link, as well as your option to share (just as above). They have a blog and a great knowledge base.
Before I was just clicking willy-nilly, using it as more of a quick convenience, until I realized everything it had to offer. If you use short links a lot, especially for apps like Twitter, this is a great little site. High recommended.