Bit.ly – What It Is and How to Use It

bitlyAs tech companies grow and new ones pop up, new verbs continue to be introduced to our evolving vocabularies. New verbs that started off as company names and won’t be found in Webster’s Dictionary. “Google” it comes to mind first. Want to know the name of a song you’re listening to? “Shazam” it. Want to video chat with your family back home? “Skype” them. But here’s an example you may not be so familiar with; has anyone ever asked you to Bitly a link?

Simply put, Bitly is a free online application that allows you to shorten long URLs to as little as 14 characters. This tool is especially handy for Twitter users who are limited to only 140 characters per post. But Bitly is more than just a one-trick pony, it also allows you to track click information on your links. Bitly shows you how many people have clicked on your link, the time/date of the click, where they were referred from (email, website, social media) and the global location of the people who clicked on your link.

Using Bitly is simple.

  1. Visit www.bitly.com and sign-up for your free account.
  2. Copy any URL you’d like to shorten and paste it in the top-right of your screen
    bitly1
  3. After shortening your URL, you will be given the option to customize the characters in your Bitly URL (IE: http://bit.ly/customtext) by clicking on the pencil icon, or you can simply copy the standard URL and paste it where it needs to go!bitly2
  4. To check your Bitly Link’s performance you can visit the “Stats” tab in the menu bar.bitly3

Now that you’ve gotten an understanding of Bitly and its core functions, you can add it to your list of tech verbs. Give it a shot! Bitly some links and take a look at how they perform. This tool can be especially helpful when you are creating your next online activity guide. Instead of copying and pasting links directly to your online registration, take a moment to put them in Bitly so you can get an idea of which classes, programs or events get the most click through.