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.
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.
Adding your Bit.Ly API Key to TweetDeck and WordPress
For TweetDeck, click on Settings (the wrench Icon), then Services.
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.)
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.
Click on the Analyze tab for a graphical representation of the number of clicks, referrers and location.
Shorten & Share Tab
This view provides a link by link history with the specific metrics of each link.
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.
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.