Teeny tiny URL’s. We’ve all seen them, and many of us use them. Originally people started to use URL shortening services
because they just got far to long and cumbersome to use for ordinary purposes. Now that the internet has developed to the extent it has, not to mention the massive expansion of social media, many of the URL shortening services now offer link tracking and metrics.
What does this mean for us? With these new tools at our fingertips, we can use mini-URLs for research. Let’s say you’re using Twitter and Facebook to promote your blog and business. By shortening your link’s URL, you can find out:
- How many people clicked on your link
- What time they clicked your link
- Where they found your link
- Which country they are located in
All of this data lets you know what links people like, what they don’t like, when they’re logging on, and where your followers live. Knowing this information, free information, can help you hone your message and help you brand more effectively.
The mini-URL tools I use:
- http://bit.ly/ – great stats and easy to use. Just make sure and create a free account so you can log back in and track your results.
- mini-URL creator in Hootsuite – I use this when using their Hootlet (a mini application you can use to tweet something easily when you visit a web page).
A great example of how I use them is by finding 10 articles online that I like on a particular topic. I use a mini-URL tool to shorten the URL of that page, then tweet about it. I will first test to see which article I mentioned was most popular. Then I will refine the actual headline I used for the most popular article to see which of those tweets was the most clicked on. Through a little practice you can quite quickly see what headlines work and what topics people like on a particular topic so then you can write about it yourself on your blog or use it in your marketing material.
In essence, if you use mini-URLs, you’ll be able to give your followers more of what they want.
What more could you want?