It’s no secret that the Internet is a big place. Millions of users are active every day, each doing their own thing. From buying something on Amazon to watching a YouTube video, the Internet sees a ton of traffic from all kinds of different sources. But sometimes all that traffic can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re the kind of user who creates a variety of content and enjoys sharing it with as many people as possible.
The easiest way of going about this is to track all your traffic through a URL shortening service. Personally, I prefer to use Bit.ly, as it’s free to use and simple to learn. It works exactly as advertised.
I have been using Bit.ly for as long as I can remember. Not only does it allow me to shorten long URLs to make them easier to share, but I can also track where all my generated clicks are coming from. This is incredibly useful when determining which content is gaining the most traction — YouTube videos, for example.
Shortening and sharing a URL on Bit.ly is easy. At the top of the screen, you’ll see an orange button labeled CREATE BITLINK. Clicking that button will display a slide-out text field where you can paste your original URL. Doing so will cause bit.ly to automatically shorten that URL for you. Now all you need to do is share it your audience and then wait for traffic to come in.
All your Bit.ly URLs are listed in the primary dashboard view. From here you can see a variety of traffic numbers. Some of the data is actually quite interesting, including your top referrals and the countries where most of the traffic is generated.
But of course, that’s not it.
My favorite bit.ly feature is the ability to set up a custom branded domain. For example, I am currently using difran.co to shorten my URLs, rather than the typical bit.ly domain. The main benefit of going this route is that you can directly reflect your brand by using any custom domain of your choice.
The majority of Bit.ly is free to use. All users have access to creating a total of 5,000 Bit.ly links per month, which I think is plenty. I’ve been using bit.ly for quite a while and I have yet to exceed my monthly quota.
I look at Bit.ly the same way I do Google Analytics. It’s the kind of service that makes me wonder, why wouldn’t people use this?