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What Is Bitly and How Do You Use It?

by Lisa Hayden
Bitly: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

What Is Bitly and How Do You Use It?...

Are you interested in typing very long URLs for websites? I mean like this post on our site ? Very few people do, which is why URL link shorteners became very popular in the past few years. While most people associated it with Twitter and its 140-character limit, they are useful for various reasons.

There are several link shorteners to choose from, but Bitly is without a doubt one of the more popular ones. While it provides a very useful service of simplifying URLs, it is a powerful tool for online marketing. It can track clicks, monitor site referrals, and even map out where these clicks are coming from.

Simplifying Links Using Bitly

The simplest and most common use of Bitly is to shorten links. To do so, you will only need to head over to their website, paste any link on the field in the centre of the screen. Voila! You will receive a new link significantly shorter than the original. You can press on a button to copy it easily. At the same time, some information will be displayed, like the contents of the link and the number of clicks it has received. You will also be asked if you want to join Bitly to save and monitor the links you have simplified.

If all you need is a way to make your links shorter, then you will not need to create an account. But if you want to organize and keep track of these Bitly links, then you will find that signing up for a free account a good idea.

What You Get With A Bitly Free Account

what do you get with bitly free

When you sign up for a free account, you will gain access to a tab featuring Your Bitlinks. Other tabs and features, like the Dashboard, OneView tabs, and Custom Bitlinks, you will need to get a premium account.

When you go to the Your Bitlinks tab, you will find a bar graph with the list of Bitlinks you created during the last week (can also be customized using any set of dates). There is also information on how many clicks these links have received, the top location, and referrers. To see a detailed summary of each link, refer to the feed on the left side. Click on one to open the statistics you need.

Even with a free account, you can create a Bitlink. You will need to hover over the Create button and choose Bitlink among the options. On the field, you will be able to paste a long link to be transformed into a Bitlink.

The difference with having a Premium account is that you can customize the last few characters of the Bitlink. Once you are satisfied with it, you can use the Copy button to copy and paste it anywhere. You can also use the Share button to post it on Facebook or Twitter.

Managing Your Bitlinks

After creating your new Bitlink, it will be added to your feed (organized from the most recent to the oldest). You can quickly scroll through and go back to this specific Bitlink anytime you want. When you click on this Bitlink on the column at the bottom to gain access to more information on it like the page, it links it to, traffic stats, referrers, locations, and buttons to copy or share it.

bitly tools you can use

When you have tons of Bitlinks, you can try to organize them by selecting the checkbox beside any Bitlink on your feed. It will either hide it or tag it. If you simply have too many, use the search bar at the top to type in any tag or keyword.

Bitly Tools You Can Use

Interested in maximizing on the tools and features of Bitly? Then you should check this out.

• With Bitly you can add the browser extension to any web browser.
• You can drag any bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar.
• You can download the app for Android or iPhone.
• You can add the WordPress plug into any of your WordPress sites.

While it might not be something everyone needs, Bitly’s public API allows anyone with a website to incorporate Bitlinks into their features.

Other Things To Know About Bitlinks

• Did you know that when you use a bit.ly link, that you do not need to add “http://” in the beginning anymore?

• When a bitlink has been created for a specific URL, any other person trying to shorten it later will still get the same bitlink. However, it might come out differently if the first bitlink was shortened from an http:// version and the second from an https:// version. A different bitlink will also be generated when the second version starts without “http” and “www” (for example, facebook.com).

• You can not only track the geographical location of the people clicking and sharing your Bitlinks but also view some of their demographic information. This is all possible when you sign up for a Bitly account.

• Another advantage of the premium account is that you can customize your Bitlinks with letters or words that are easy to remember, instead of relying on the random letters and numbers generated automatically by Bitly. However, it has to be an unused bitlink.

• Bitlinks are incredibly useful beyond Twitter. You can also use them on emails or posts so that your links do not break over two lines and become unclickable. They also look nicer on printed documents or images or where you do not have enough space to write the whole URL.

• If you are not sure whether a bitlink is safe to click on, simply add a plus sign to the end of the bitlink. This will allow you to preview the linked page without actually going there.

Final Words

Were you aware of the many uses and features of Bitly? While many people have been enjoying their basic function of shortening URLs, there is much more that you can do especially if you sign up for an account. If you have your own website and have your own bitlink, you can easily track its popularity by logging in.

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