Ever noticed a website tweeting about a new post and the link is something like nyti.ms (New York Times) or r29.co (Refinery 29)? Pretty cool huh? Really they’re just sprucing up a normal shortlink like bit.ly or goo.gl using a custom domain name that you can link with one of those shortening services.
Shortlinks are fantastic as they’re, well, shorter. Perfect for including in a tweet (you only have 120 characters remember!) or in your instagram bio, shortlinks keep your links clean and simple.
Shortlinks also give you a whole heap of data and analytics to tell you where your traffic is coming from in greater detail. Finally a way to see how much traffic you’re getting from instagram!
Branding or using your own custom domain for your shortlinks is optional but definitely recommended if you can. Not only does it remphasise your brand every time you link to content it also makes you look legit and gives your profile some personality!
First you want to decide on your shortlink domain. Ideally it’s short (between 4-8 characters) but still means something in relation to your full domain name.
Stuck for ideas? Domai.nr is a great tool where you can type in your blog or domain name and receive ideas! Once you’ve decided on one head to where you register your domain names (best to keep them all together!) and register the domain.
Now you need to link your new domain to your Bit.ly account. Login or create an account and head to Settings > Advanced.
Type in your new custom domain and Bit.ly will then give you an A record. In your domain register click to the DNS or Zone Editor and create a new record with the values Bit.ly has supplied. Check to see if it’s verified (this can sometimes take up to 48 hours to save so don’t panic if it doesn’t work straight away!)
Once authorised your account is ready to go! But! We want to make sure if someone just enters our custom shortlink domain they get taken to the site’s homepage. You can edit this under Settings > Advanced too!
We also want to activate analytics to give us all the data for those links.
You can now use the Bit.ly website to manually create your own shortlinks. You can also install the WP Bitly plugin on your wordpress blog to use your custom domain for any shortlinks sent from WordPress and even opt to use your new Bit.ly account in schedulers like Buffer, HootSuite and CoSchedule.
Have a page that you often promote? Say for a product, a favourite post or your advertising or contact page? You can customise the link even more changing it from something like
yrdoma.in/6jfJuol to yrdoma.in/advertise
Just click the edit icon on any link in your Bit.ly account and enter your customisation to save!
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Hey there, Madeleine here. I'd love to help you!