Are you using a link shortener yet for your website links and affiliate links? If not, you should be! And it’s easy to do.
You can choose to use a web-based link shortener like TinyURL, Bit.ly or ShortURL. Or, you can install the GoCodes plugin for WordPress or a free script like Shorty on your own domain and stay in control of your affiliate links. Using your own domain as the base for your short links lets you build links to your site, build your brand, and be in control of where the links are pointing to.
There are three important reasons I suggest bloggers and online business owners shorten their links.
1. They make it easier to share on social networks.
Especially on Twitter, where you only have 140 characters to share your thoughts, every character counts! A long URL can take up half of your space if you aren’t careful. By shortening the link you give yourself more room to “talk” and also make it easier for others to retweet your tweet and share it with their followers.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks also have limits on how many characters long each of your status updates can be. Don’t waste your space with long URLs.
2. They allow you to protect your affiliate links and update as needed.
If you promote affiliate products, you want to protect your affiliate links so that you get credit for the sales you refer to a product or service.
With a regular affiliate link, you might have something like www.somedomain.com/affiliate/link/?yourcodehere that’s easy for someone to just go direct to the domain. Worse yet, unscrupulous marketers may grab your tweet or status update from a social network and share it – but with their code in place of yours! Using a shortened link prevents someone from easily eliminating your affiliate code. Of course, they can still switch out the link completely, but why make it easy for them?
Another circumstance that shortened links you can control are good for is if you’re promoting affiliate products and your recommendation changes. If you have a link of www.yourdomain.com/bestwebhost and today you’re promoting SuperHost123, you can use your shortened link to point there. If SuperHost123 goes out of business or you find a better option at BestHost789 you can easily change your link to point to your new recommendation–and the same short link still works.
3. You can track your links to see what’s getting clicked.
Using some link shorteners gives you an easy way to track how many clicks your links are getting. With HootSuite’s link shortner, if you choose ow.ly to shorten with, you can easily access statistics on how many times your link was clicked and when. Using the GoCodes plugin for WordPress also allows you to see how many times your links have been clicked.
GoCodes -> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gocodes/
Bonus, using short links also makes them easier to remember. If I want to recommend Aweber to a friend all I have to remember is https://www.michelleshaeffer.com/go/aweber instead of my affiliate link of http://www.aweber.com/?221066