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:
- Beautifying extremely long links.
- Hidding UTM links.
- To track clicks and analytics for a link
- 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
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…)
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.
I’ve tested many shorteners.
Please note that preattylinks only works if you have you website on WordPress. Yourls is also a good alternative but you need to setup a server and install it. Rebrandly let you use up to 5 different domain names for free. So I guess that the best alternative. This is what I use.
Thanks for sharing your insights, Daniel. Appreciate it.