How to Maximize Bit.Ly for More than Shortened URLs


Are you getting the most out of your shortened url service?  This is not a sales pitch and I am not an affiliate of Bit.Ly.  I have been using for shortening my own links and those of my blogging clients for quite some time and I find it a valuable resource beyond its initial benefit.

The Basics: is a free personalized account so that you can create shortened urls to fit within the character limitations on Twitter and Facebook.

Monitoring Traffic: Provides you with detailed statistics on who, when and how many people clicked on your link and went to your website. The number of clicks is called a click through rate (CTR). Below indicates there were 48 clicks using your specific url and 49 total clicks on the blog (people who tweeted or shared on Facebook directly from Huffington Post)


With one quick glance you can see how many people Shared the link on Facebook (Shares 7) registered a Like on Facebook (Likes 7), Commented on Facebook (Comments 4) and Commented on the actual blog page (Comments on Page 3)

You can also see what type of traffic you are getting by the hour, day and week.  This helps to see what people are responding to – both by the time of day and the type of tweet and/or Facebook post you are crafting.  Also, if you have not posted during a time when there is strong traffic, it will give you a good indication of the power of the people who are retweeting you.


Learning from Hashtags: By seeing other people’s tweets you can quickly see what different hashtags (#) people are using.  This gives you an idea for new hashtag groups to follow – to learn more about a subject matter, to use the hashtags in your own tweets and for following relevant people who use the same hashtag.  For instance look at this tweet that appeared on – there are three hashtags that you may not have thought of to use or follow (#blogchat, #bloggers, #blogging)


Making New Connections: By scanning the other tweets, you can use as a reminder to acknowledge and thank people for sharing your link.  On Twitter you can only see the people who retweet you or mention you in their tweets. allows you to see who tweeted or shared on Facebook directly from your website (or Huffington post) and even the ones who did not use your specific url to do so.  Reach out – follow them, thank them for sharing and start a connection you otherwise might never have made (or known about).


Creating New Ideas: By seeing other tweets on one page, you can also get good ideas of what phrases or concepts “spoke” to your reader.  For instance they may tweet a specific phrase from your blog or write a clever tweet that was retweeted by others.  There is a lot you can learn by seeing other people’s perspective of your work – from what topic might make a great follow-up blog to how to be more creative with your tweets and Facebook posts to get the most attention.

Researching  Others’ Links:  If you see a shortened url link posted by someone else and you want to know all of the above information on it before you access it, simply copy the shortened url, paste it into your internet browser, and add a plus (+) sign at the end and click Enter (  You will be able to see the number of clicks and who tweeted it or shared it on Facebook.

Using Preview Plug In: Firefox has an add-on you can download for free that allows you to preview any url before opening the link (if you use Firefox as your browser).  It allows you to hover over a URL on any web page and see the Page Title, Long URL, and any Click Data. This helps you decide in advance if you the link is worth accessing.  You can also click on the More Information link next to the number of clicks and see the full page of tweets and Facebook posts associated with the link.


*NOTE:  I have since removed the Firefox Preview Plug-In from both of my computers because it was interfering with my ability to access some of my client’s websites and blogs.  I wish I could provide more information about why this was happening – but needless to say when my computer tech removed the plug in, the problems I was having disappeared.

Take advantage of all the benefits your shortened URL service is providing you.  Be creative with the information to engage with others and to improve your own click through rates.  Have fun with it!

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