This is one of those things that I tend to assume that everyone already knows, but then I remember the surprise I felt on learning that everyone doesn’t use or know about ‘Ctrl+F’ or its equivalents to find text in a document quickly (as opposed to scrolling and visually scanning). So I thought I might share it.
Bitly is a free URL shortening tool that lets you get some basic analytics about number of clicks and, if you register for an account or authorise with Twitter etc, also lets you customise the ‘end bit’ of the address. There might be a paid version that does more but I’ve never investigated or needed it.
Adding a + symbol to the end of any bitly link and then pasting it into an address bar will (a) show you what URL it’s linked to and (b) show you how often that link has been clicked. I’ve emphasised the ‘then’ in the last sentence because you can’t enter the bitly URL and click enter because then you’ll just be taken to the page that it points to.
If you see a bitly link on Twitter or Facebook, or wherever, you’ll need to copy the link first (don’t just click on it) and then add the + before loading the page. The + symbol doesn’t incorporate itself successfully into a clickable link by the way, you have to add it manually.
Note that someone else might also shorten the same long link, so there can be several bitly links for one web page – theirs might have had clicks and yours might not, or vice versa. Here’s one I’ve just created (without logging in, so I’ve not customised it) – see the bits circled in green for the salient information.
Handy tip – you can create more than one customised bitly link for the same URL yourself. You could post one to Facebook, one to email and one to Twitter and see which option brings you more visitors.