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Shrink the link, a craft worth learning

12 Aug

If you’ve ever played around with Tiny URL and Bit.ly you will know that there are a few ways to shrink your links.

The easy way is to simply use the automated feature and let Bit.ly or TinyURL do it for you. The better way is to use the custom feature –still free!– and tighten things up so your readers recognize it is related to your content.

I tend to use this custom feature more these days, especially when I have repeated use of a specific URL. When should you consider using a custom URL?

  • For streaming audio of a fixed radio or TV show
  • The registration page of a micro-site created for an event
  • As a link to a photo album being updated regularly with news or event coverage
  • A contest that typically targets social media users through different channels. Perfect for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • When you want to email a link to a group, or embed it in a link to a  survey

But there is another way to go about this  for branding purposes. Take a look (on the right) at what Twitter uses. The URL is condensed to http://t.co. What’s that .co domain? It is the country domain assigned to Columbia! Speaking of new domains, there are others worth considering.

  • The .ly domain is the country  domain for Libya. It is used by Bit.ly/
  • If you are in the medical profession, you could register a domain ending in .md -the country domain for the Republic of Moldova, an Eastern European country.  However, to register a country domain you need to prove that you have a legal or business reason to do so.
  • The best known one is .tv –the country domain for Tuvalu. There’s a whole lot of information on how to use the.TV domain here.

So the next time you are planning an online campaign, consider how you could do this using your URL. It’s often an afterthought right? It shouldn’t be.

I haven’t even touched on the tracking features available with Bit.ly or Ow.ly/ That’s the topic of another post!

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