10 Oct

For tweeting, sharing links in presentations, of Facebook  and emails, being able to shorten URL’s is a very handy ability.  Long URL’s take up space and often get broken when shared.  There are a number of online tools to shorten URL’s  and some websites (WordPress, New York Times, Huffington Post) and twitter platforms (Tweetdeck) automatically do this for you, but I want to talk a little bit about my favorite tool for shortening URL’s–

Shortening and Customizing Your Links

You can shorten URL’s using Bitly without creating Bitly account.  You copy the URL you want to shorten then go to, paste the URL in the box provided, click “shorten,” and your shortened link will be displayed for you to copy and use wherever you need to use it.  You can also customize the shortened link to make it say something about what it is a link to.  For instance if I’m posting a link to a lesson on the ProLiteracy website called “I’m a banana,” I will paste the URL into Bitly and it will create shortened link that looks like .  But then I can customize it to look like which is easy to remember and also lets the reader know what the link is to.

Creating QR Codes

You can also easily make QR (Quick response) codes from your Bitly links.  If I take the link and add a .qr at the end so it now looks like, the link is now to the QR code for that link. The QR code can make the link even easier to share in a PowerPoint for example where the audience members could use their cell phone QR readers to get straight to the site on their cell phones.

Bitly Sidebar

Another tool Bitly offers is a sidebar bookmarklet .  This allows you to use Bitly tools without opening another page or tab in your browser.  Once you add the sidebar you can

  1. Click on the Info+ link and watch clicks stats and more in real time.
  2. Tweet right from the Sidebar without leaving the page you’re on (must be signed in with a linked Twitter account).
  3. Keep checking back on the Sidebar to see updated Click stats, and stats for all clicks to the same long link.
  4. See in real time who else is talking about this page on Twitter, FriendFeed and blog comments.

Benefits of a Bitly Account

Everything above you can do without signing in to a Bitly account, but there is one particular tool that you can only access if you do create and sign into an account, and that is the ability to see personalized stats for your Bitly links.  Most of my Bitly links get 3 to 15 clicks, but one of my links got over 2000 clicks and I would never have know n that without Bitly.  When logged into your account on Bitly you can also see all the links you’ve shortened so it acts like a bookmarker too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: