May 31, 2012
Scan your twitter feed and you'll probably see a multitude of short links including twitter's own t.co, bit.ly, goo.gl, and tinyurl.com. With Twitter's 140 character limit, short links have become a regular sight on social media. Online tools like bit.ly, tinyurl.com, and more offer free services that can shrink your link to between 8-12 characters - making links much more Twitter friendly.
These services can also have benefits beyond just allowing you more space to tweet. Bit.ly and goo.gl both offer link tracking, so you can see how many people actually clicked on the links you posted. Bit.ly allows you to create an account, so you can also consolidate links – grouping the tracking together to test different mediums, times of the day, days of the week, etc. More importantly, bit.ly allows you to use a custom short link instead of its typical bit.ly.
Here at Dynadot, we use bit.ly for our short links, but you may have noticed that our short links recently changed from the more common bit.ly to our own custom link dyna.me. We have joined companies such as Facebook (fb.me), YouTube (youtu.be), LinkedIn (lnkd.in), and Time Magazine (ti.me) who have also implemented their own custom short links.
A custom short link is a great way to build a personal or business brand and you don't need to be Facebook to get one. Think about the name of your website – are any of the letters of your web address available in a TLD like with youtu.be? If not, or if your web address is long, you may need to think outside the box. One option is shortening your business name either by removing vowels - like lnkd.in - or shortening your name - like what we did with dyna.me. When you are looking at TLDs a good option is to use the TLD .CO instead of the slightly longer .COM. You could also use the popular .ME or even .US if you are in the United States. Another great TLD is .IN - and the good news is you don't have to be in India to register a .IN. Unfortunately unless you really are Facebook, you will need to come up with at least 3 characters, which is required for many TLDs including .CO, .ME, .IN, .US, .AT, and more. See our full list of TLDs and find your perfect domain.
After you've found your perfect short link from Dynadot, you can use a service such as bit.ly to create your short links with your custom url. For bit.ly, you will need to set a DNS A Record that will make your custom domain point to bit.ly's site. Once you have the instructions, you can easily update your A Record in your Dynadot account by following these instructions in our help files. Then it may take some time to update, but once you verify your new short domain you will be ready to brand your website with your short links!
Do you use any other short link services that you recommend? Tell us in the comments below. We'd also love to see what creative short links our customers come up with, so please share your new short links as well!
Post by Robyn Norgan