During the past years, In the past recent years, we have seen Bit.ly emerging as a tool used to shorten links. There have been multiple instances where you will see that 60-70% of the time short links are being used.
Benefits of URL Shortening:
There are many reasons as to why one we should follow URL shortening use these shortened links. Out of many, the most important are,
- Short links are easy to manage i.e. small links can be easily handled.
- Track and compile more data i.e. a small link can let you know about the location of a specific user and many other related data.
- takes less space and promotes sharing. For example, Twitter links can fit into the Twitter box more effectively. for example, these links can fit in the Twitter 140 word count
- Short Links can be transformed into social media services.
URL Shortening Tools
Multiple tools are present in the WordPress repository that can help you shorten links, however, here we will discuss the ones that are commonly used.
WP Bit.ly plugin, Pretty Links and YOURLS are the major ones used to shorten links and get the above-mentioned perks that can become beneficiary for WordPress websites.
1. WP Bit.ly Plugin
WP Bit.ly Plugin is, by far, the most used Plugin to shorten links. Listed below are a few steps that can help you out with understanding the features of WP Bit.ly Plugin:
• Create Domain and Name:
The first step to converting your links to short links is to create and register your short domain with a unique name. A unique name is quite contributing towards attracting more people towards the site.
• Signing Up :
Secondly, you need to go and sign up for the Bit.ly account and verify all your details and the requirements that are present.
• Add a Record:
Go to Setting and click on “Activate Brand Name” and add your domain name. This can be found under the settings Tab and by clicking on the sub tab Advanced.
• Saving a record:
Now in order to save your settings, you can add a record in the DNS settings that directly points towards the Bit.ly IP address. DNS setting or Manage domain are the keywords that can be looked upon while looking to save a record. Furthermore, you can contact your domain registrar and ask them about these settings if you face issues. After that, there might be a certain wait time that you get because the changes that you make might take up to 48 hours to integrate into the system. This wait time can differ depending on different situations but the average time is built upon something like 36-48 hours.
• Installing the Plug-In:
Next is you install the WP Bit.ly Plugin to avoid going to Bit.ly every time. The plugin will ask you to get OAuth Token after which your domain would be ready to use. However before saving there might be certain checkboxes that might be necessary to look up. These check boxes just inquire about the kind of posts that you will be using i.e. post, page, attachment and product etcetera.
2. Pretty Link Lite:
Pretty Link Lite is also quite handy when it comes to shortening Links. Let us discuss the steps that are required to set up short links in pretty link lite.
• Installing the Plug-In
At first, we need to activate or install the above plugin
• Adding The Link:
Using this plugin is pretty easy. As soon as you install the plugin, add your link and can convert it into short links. However, for more additional features you might have to go and get the premium version but the trial version is enough to convert links.
If you need more information regarding its setup, click here.
YOURLS are set of PHP scripts that you need to install on your own hosting server. It is a little complicated than the other two as it involves altering codes. Moving forward to the steps involved in this process.
• DOWNLOAD YOURLS:
Download the latest version of YOURLS and rename the file user/config-sample.php to config.php and open it up with text editor.
Change the code of lines the following way,
-database username ( ‘YOURLS_DB_USER’, ‘joe’ );
-your database password ( ‘YOURLS_DB_PASS’, ‘MySeCreTPaSsW0rd’ );
-your database name ( ‘YOURLS_DB_NAME’, ‘yourls’ );
-your database host ( ‘YOURLS_DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’ );
Prefix of all tables will need the following change
-( ‘YOURLS_DB_PREFIX’, ‘yourls_’);
If you scroll down you will see user_password= array(here change username and password and set the username and password that matches your username and password.
• CREATING A DATABASE:
Create a database in MYSQL database with the same name that you specified in the config.php file and assign it to the newly created database.
• UPLOAD FILES:
Upload all files in the root folder of your web hosting account and make sure it follows the same structure.
• FINALIZE THE INSTALLATION:
Load a new browser tab and type in: http://yoursite.com/admin/install.php but replace yoursite.com with your domain name.
If you need more information regarding YOURLS here
Summing it all up, shortening links can be quite handy as it comes with a number of perks that includes better link management. Shortened links contain a lot of information regarding as to where the target media is coming from and can be quite handy that you can work on different areas that you think are giving you a slow response.
Social media usage is the most used discussion medium and short links make it easier to share info on social media. There are many tools but the three major ones have been discussed i.e. WP Bit.ly Plugin, Pretty Link Lite, and YOURLS. Depending upon your requirements all these 3 can be very beneficial.
For instance Pretty Link Lite can be of much help as it can tell you about the number of hits, number of unique hits, graphs, and charts and organize links but it has a drawback that you need to upgrade to premium version. Similarly, with YOURLS you need to get into dirt with the code but the positive side is that you do not need to depend upon any third party.
However, Bit.ly is quite a commendable option. The algorithms applied by Bit.ly for URL shortening stands out in the market. It doesn’t only Track individual link analytics but it also optimizes your Shortlink for easy indexing within search engines.