Tip 7/21: Shorten Your Links with Google.
Link shorteners have been around for quite a while now, but not everyone knows how to use them or why they should?

On social media platforms (and on Twitter especially due to the 144 characters limit), it's common for people to shorten links instead of pasting the full long URL. Before we dive into how to shorten links (which it’s ridiculously simple) let’s first understand why you should?

Why short.en links?

► The first and most obvious reason is because it looks better.

For example, instead of sharing the full link to this blog post:

I can shorten the link and it will look like this: goo.gl/AwVD1v 

► The second reason is Analytics. When you shorten a link you get access to a control panel with tons of great information:

★ Total clicks on your link (all time, monthly, weekly).
★ Referrals (where on the web the link was clicked).
★ Browsers (chrome, firefox, safari).
★ Countries.
★ Platform (mac, windows, tablet).

► And third - QR codes. Google will automatically generate a QR code of your link for scanning on mobile devices.

How to shorten links?

Head over to goo.gl and paste the full URL into the box. Click “Shorten URL” and you're done! It couldn't be more simple.

Make sure you're logged in to your google account (top right corner) in order to save the link to your personal dashboard.

An honest insight

You all know that I love Google and their products. I wouldn't be doing this series otherwise. But when it comes to link shortening I actually don't use Google’s shortener that often... I use Bitly instead.

The simple truth is that Bitly is a more powerful tool that provides more options... Bit.ly let’s you:

★ Add a custom ending to your link (bit.ly/21GoogleTips vs. goo.gl/AwVD1v).

★ Create bundles (i.e. "Email marketing links").
★ Set links as private or public.
★ Add notes and edit links description.
★ Integrate with other services via API (buffer, twitter) 

★ Created a Branded Short Domain!

(This is worth explaining!)

+Dustin W. Stout from +dustn.tv does it best (I’m not sure whether or not he uses bit.ly for this? But it's definitely possible) and therefore is a great example!

When Dustin shares links via his brand they always start with his brand name (http://dustn.ws), and end with several additional characters (just like bitl.y & goo.gl) to make it unique. We won't get into branding now but having a constant theme throughout your business is extremely important.

Cool tip! Track link clicks:

Let’s say you're about to send an urgent email to a client or friend with a link in it, and really need to know whether or not he clicked on that link. Instead of sending the long url - shorten the link and then you'll be able to see if and when the link was clicked!

Like this Tip? Feel free to Comment, +1 and Share :) 

For more tips like this, extra info and detailed screenshots:

#21GoogleTips   #Google   #Bitly   #LinkShorner   #Branding
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