If you use Twitter to share your blog posts and photos, you’ll no doubt have noticed that you need to use short urls in order to fit your content in the 140 characters and still get your link in. There are shortening services like Bitly, and Goo.gl that will automatically make short urls for you that you can use for your tweets. But I’d like to share a couple ways to customize your own short urls for Twitter.
Customize your Bitly Links
Did you know that you can actually change the URLs when you use Bitly? Yeah! It’s pretty frickin cool. Check it out:
- First create an account or login to Bitly.
- Paste your URL into the box that says “Paste URL here”
- A screen will pop up with your new shortened URL. If you hover your mouse over the new URL, you’ll see a link that pops up that says “Customize” Click that…
- Now you’ll get the customize screen. Now by default Bitly uses a 6 character url after the “http://bit.ly” portion, so you’ll want to keep your custom URLs as short as possible. In my example, I added just enough characters to make it somewhat recognizable what the page is about with http://bit.ly/wp-35-changes. It more than doubles the standard length, but it’s still way shorter than the original post URL.
- And there you have it! Your very own custom shortened URL using Bitly. You can use that as many times as you like since it will always be saved in your Bitly account.
Creating Your Own Short Domain
So you now know how to create short URLs with Bitly, but what if you wanted a short URL of your own to use? Well, you can use Domai.nr to create special short domains and use those instead of using http://bit.ly. All you have to do is go to Domainr and fill in your business name, personal name, etc. You’ll get a list of unique names/domains combinations with alternate TLDs. The green squares indicate whether or not the domain is available.
In my case I used my own name William Bay, and I get to choose which of the domains I would like to purchase and use for a shortened URL.
The other great thing is that you can use your new shortened domain name in Bitly, so Bitly will shorten your URLs when you want to paste them in Twitter. If you follow the instructions here you can see how to setup the domain to work with Bitly automatically.
While these techniques won’t increase your SEO, it will definitely bring a cool factor to your links in Twitter (plus a little more branded experience). And that “cool factor” could be enough to pick up a few extra click throughs each time you post a tweet.
Let us know if you do this. I’d love to see some of the short domains that you all create from your regular domains. We love that here.