My pet peeve with bit.ly (and shorteners)

My pet peeve with bit.ly (and shorteners)

You should stop using bit.ly (and shorteners).

There are many good reasons why. But let’s start with why people use shorteners anyway.

Why people use shorteners

Common reasons include:

  1. Beautifying extremely long links.
  2. Hidding UTM links.
  3. To track clicks and analytics for a link
  4. To deceive users clicking on the link.

The problem with shortened links

Most users (digital marketers) don’t like paying for stuff.

So they use the free version of bit.ly , which results in a link that looks like these: bit.ly/2LOL21 or bit.ly/buymeplease

Here’s an example of a bit.ly link in action.

I have trust issues with shortened links. In fact, in general, people feel deceived when clicking shortened links.

Understandably, marketers want to understand their link analytics. That’s alright. However, it’s a marketing fail if people don’t click on your links.

Then there are cases where people share bit.ly links on printed material or presentation slides – hoping that it’ll be easier to read and type into a browser.

Check out the below poster.

It’s not the worst bit.ly link I’ve came across. But try typing down that link on your browser and see how long you’ll take to get the right link. (I’ll wait…)

Guess what. bit.ly links are CASE SENSITIVE

How we can do better

1 – Don’t shorten

Do you really need to shorten your links? Leave your long link (with your brand name) out in its full glory. Is there anything wrong with a long link anyway?

2 – Brand your links instead

Pay for bit.ly or rebrandly.com and put your brand name on your links. That instantly increases the trustworthiness of your links.

3 – Use plugins like Pretty Links

This is something I use since I run a few websites on WordPress. Pretty links give you the ability to prettify your links. So instead of having a link that looks like bit.ly/1239lol , you’ll have a link that looks like reubenchng.com/trust


p.s. I recently worked with the team to produce a brand new online summit called D/M Summit. It’s a project in which we aim to share knowledge in data science & marketing. I hope you’ll join us.

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