With the advent of Twitter and other microblogging platforms, URL shortening has been on the rise. Conserving characters is paramount when you only have 140 of them to get your message across. bit.ly is another advanced URL shortener with stats that integrates Twitter and has some cool additional features.
When you first visit bit.ly, there is a field to enter the URL to be shortened. You can also provide an optional custom name for the shortened URL, which makes it easy for humans to remember. If you’ve signed up for a bit.ly account and have associated it with your Twitter name, you can Tweet your shortened URL as well.
When you shorten a URL, you are provided with a link to copy the URL to your clipboard. There is also another link to a page with all kinds of statistics about the shortened URL:
- Referring sites and clicks for your unique bit.ly URL
- Referring sites and clicks for all bit.ly users that shortened the same target URL
- Time-based runchart for clicks
- Pie chart showing clicks by country
- Twitter conversations w/ the target URL
- A list of bit.ly users that also shortened the URL
For the demonstration in this article, I shortened www.google.com. You can see the shortened url is http://bit.ly/w17g (nothing terribly exciting, just takes you to Google) and the statistics page is located at http://bit.ly/info/w17g.
There are also a few nifty bit.ly tools at your disposal, including a couple of bookmarklets. One of the bookmarklets will open a new window with the URL already shortened. The other provides quick access to some of the traffic statistics displayed on the URL info page. The info is loaded right into the page without having to open a new window.
There is even an API for bit.ly that advanced users and developers can use. bit.ly does a superb job of integrating URL shortening with Twitter, as well as providing users with a variety of web analytics on shortened URLs. What do you think of bit.ly?
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Check out Bit.ly @ www.bit.ly