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Learn How: Using bit.ly for URL Tracking

Did you know that with bit.ly, you can track clicks on a link?  You probably want to know what I’m talking about – and why you would want to do that.  Let me give you a real life example from my blog so that you understand what bit.ly is used for.  And how awesome it is.

I recently did a post about The Original Scrapbox.  I love the company and the product.  Here is my Original Scrapbox, also known as Polly:

Original Scrapbox

Every time I do a post about Polly, I want to track the number of hits that go to the Original Scrapbox homepage.  There are a few reasons for this:

  • I want to know how many of my readers visit the links I put in posts that are product related
  • I want to know if my readers are interested in the Original Scrapbox
  • I want to be able to share this information with the Original Scrapbox

As you try to build your blog, you will be able to use the information from bit.ly links to learn more about your readers and hone what they want you to talk about.  You will also be able to collect information to share with companies or advertisers.  Let me be really blunt – it will help you get paid opportunities and free stuff.  If you can go to a craft company and tell them that your readers love their spray paint . . . and then you SHOW them the numbers . . . that is a big deal.  While you might think this sound tacky, I will tell you that you are truly helping companies and advertisers.  I work in Marketing full-time – I know from experience.  Companies have been trying for years to better figure out how to find and target their customers that like their product.  Using a bit.ly link and tracking can be looked at as providing a service.  Cool, huh?

So onto how to do it.  It’s pretty simple.  Visit bit.ly and sign up for an account.

Enter your URL into the blue box and press “Shorten.”  Right below the blue box, your shorten link will appear.  It will also drop down into your Link and Bundle History at the bottom of the page like so:

From here, you will be able to see two important things.  What I have circled is the # of clicks my bit.ly link has generated (790) versus the total amount of hits to the Original Scrapbox site that have come from bit.ly links.  This basically means that Original Scrapbox has received 46 other visits from bit.ly links (I don’t know how many).

One other thing you can see above is the site name, the original URL you shortened and the bit.ly link.  You can also see that it says “Copy” – if you ever want to go back later and get that bit.ly address, you can easily click that button and paste it into your blog.  That Info Page+ link in blue offers even more detailed stats, if you’re interested.

I hope you’ll explore bit.ly a bit.  If you are wondering when you should use it, let me tell you something I’ve learned after years of blogging: when in doubt, track!

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