Bit.ly – my number one business tool

Business Tools

I often recommend tools that help me run my business efficiently to my clients and to other people I meet. My top five are my favourite tools that I use most regularly in my business (and wouldn’t be without). I use them daily (and multiple times per day in some instances)

There are free versions of some of them and others are very reasonably priced for what they allow you to do.

  1. Bit.ly shortens links
  2. Snag It for taking screenshots and recording videos
  3. Evernote for note taking and organizing – basically replaces sticky notes and a lot more!
  4. Hootsuite for managing and scheduling social media
  5. FreeAgent for sending invoices to clients and keeping bills and expenses and you can also submit your UK tax return

I will do a separate, detailed blog post for each tool showing you how to use it.

My number one tool is

bit.ly logo

Essential for shortening links for sharing articles and posts online. It’s free to use and allows you to see how popular your links are.

I use it to:

  • shorten links in Twitter
  • add traceable links in LinkedIn updates and group posts
  • add traceable links in my email newsletters so I can see who clicked on which link
  • in my email signature so I can see who clicks on the link
  • in online bios or other places where space is at a premium
  • share links to affiliates, for example, Amazon books, as the link created by Amazon is very long.

You can also

  • share links via Facebook posts

Links can be private or public (if you make them public people can see them on your bit.ly profile). They can still be shared with everyone if you keep them private.

Sign up for bit.ly

Go to www.bit.ly and signup for an account (this will allow you to save links and view statistics)

Connect up Twitter and Facebook

Connect up to your Twitter and Facebook accounts (you will need to login to authorise each). Go to Settings (under your username top right of the bit.ly website) and choose Connected Accounts.

How to use bit.ly

You then have a choice of how you use bit.ly – via a chrome extension, bookmarklet, iPhone app or by copying and pasting the link onto the bit.ly website.

Chrome Extension

Bit.ly have created an extension for Chrome which allows you to shorten the address quickly. Click on the link above and then Add to Chrome.

Once installed you will see the little puffer fish icon in the top right of your browser window (on the same level as the address bar).

bit.ly2

 

 

  • Find something you would like to share and highlight the address.
  • Click on the puffer fish and a new window opens up with your link.
  • Either use the link created for you or customize it in the box on screen. You can also customize a link later on (see Customizing the link further down this post)
  • Click on Copy bitlink and it will be copied to your clipboard for you to use wherever required.

bit.ly3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copy the link and use it as required. Once created you can reuse it again and again.

Don’t use Chrome?

If you don’t use Chrome then there’s the bookmarklet option.

There’s also a bit.ly iPhone app.

Both of these can be found on the Tools page once you have setup an account.

 

Via the bit.ly website

  • Go back to the bit.ly page and paste the address into the bar at the top (see example below)

bit.ly1

 

 

 

Follow the same process as in Chrome Extension above.

Customizing the link

Customize the default link that bit.ly creates to make it more memorable. You can do this when you create the link or at any time thereafter.

You will need to go to the bit.ly website to do this if you created the link previously. Choose the link and on the right hand side you will see a box that allows you to edit the name.

Choose a name that relates to what you are sharing. In this example the book is called “Find your Thing” by Lucy Whittington so I’ve renamed the link to findyourthinglw as findyourthing wasn’t available. You could also use your own initials to personalise it.

bit.ly link findyourthing

 

 

 

 

Bit.ly shows that there have been two clicks on this already (and I only set it up the day before taking this screenshot (using Snag It – another of my recommended tools, blog post to follow on this one)

Tracking links

Once you have setup a link then go to bit.ly and browse Stats to see how many clicks you are getting and when. This activity should relate to when you publicised the link.

As you can see from this screenshot links remain valid for years. Some of these date from 2011.

bit.ly statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a tracking domain

I’ve added my website as a tracking domain. This allows me to track any bit.ly links on my website.

Are there any limits?

Yes there’s one, but it is unlikely you will reach it. Bit.ly allows you to store up to 10,000 links per month. I’ve only stored just over 2,500 since 2011.

What do you think of bit.ly?

Have you used bit.ly? What do you think of it?

What are your essentials tools? Are there any tools you have heard of and would like to know more about? Please let me know in the comments below.

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