Link shorteners are common among the Twitter set. You are limited to 140 characters at a time, so greatly reducing the number of characters used for a link that you want to share leaves more room for your message and makes re-tweeting by others much simpler.

If you’ve been active on Twitter for any length of time, no doubt you’ve seen bit.ly links. Bit.Ly is a popular URL shortener service that is free to use and also provides analytics for the links you share. Bit.Ly integrates easily with tools like Twitter.com, TweetDeck and various WordPress Twitter plugins.

Adding your Bit.Ly API Key to Twitter

Once you’ve created a free Bit.Ly account, head straight to your Account Settings to enable Twitter and Facebook sharing options and to find out your API Key.

Bitly-Account-Settings

Your API Key is designed to be used with 3rd party apps. You’ll add your Bit.Ly username and API Key into the settings of your desired Twitter tools.

You can enable sharing to Twitter and Facebook directly from your Bit.Ly Account Settings page.

Bitly-twitter-share-settings

Adding your Bit.Ly API Key to TweetDeck and WordPress

For TweetDeck, click on Settings (the wrench Icon), then Services.

TweetDeck-Bitly

For WordPress plugins that allow you to add your Bit.Ly API Key, you’ll most likely need to visit the plugin’s settings to do so.

(Please note that the Bit.Ly usernames and API Keys are case-sensitive.)

Bit.Ly Analytics

Once you’ve added your username and API Key to your Twitter tool(s) of choice, you can utilize the analytics portion Bit.Ly has to offer.

Analyze Tab

Click on the Analyze tab for a graphical representation of the number of clicks, referrers and location.

Bitly-analytics-summary

Bitly-referrer-metrics

Shorten & Share Tab

This view provides a link by link history with the specific metrics of each link.

Bitly-link-bundle-metrics

Clicking on the “Info Pages+” link to the right of each shared link will take you to a new page containing the number of clicks that link received (both the link you shared and an aggregate count), the number of tweets and Facebook shares, likes and comments it received, Referrer and Location details and the conversations had that included the link.

Aggregate-Clicks

Bitly-link-conversations

Bit.Ly serves a great purpose with its link shortener. Adding in the analytics feature makes this free Twitter tool a hard one to skip.

About LizJostes (278 Posts)

Liz is a 30-something marketer, social media consultant, speaker and mom. Originally from Chicago and currently living in the land of Dixie, she relishes in the flavor of fried pickles and BBQ, but longs for deep dish and a proper Chicago dog.


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