HOW TO: Build your own link shortener

Links

ink shorteners are very prevalent in today’s online communities. They take big links like this: http://www.target.com/s/175-8025086-0539863?_encoding=UTF8&CPNG=Baby&LID=11478237&search-alias=tgt-index&keywords=argyle_sweater%5Fshirt&searchSize=30&ref=tgt%5Fad
v%5FXSGT0004&searchView=grid5&searchNodeID=1038576&AFID=
Google&searchPage=1&searchRank=target104545&LNM=argyle%5F
sweater%5Fshirt
and turn them into smaller links like this: http://bit.ly/60KcN (I like the black and gray ones btw). This is incredibly useful when using messaging systems with limited space or characters like Twitter or Facebook status updates.

Right now you might see some of my tweets and updates that have links that look like this: http://go.shuaism.com/y8bd. This works as a subtle promotion tool for my blog and hopefully helps build value through everything I share (including my own content).

There are several ways to build your own link shortener, but the easiest one I’ve found so far is to use Adjix. They have a feature in the options to create your own using your domain. It’s really simple to do.

1. Sign up for a free Adjix account.
2. Determine what domain prefix you want to use (go. link. etc) and enter it into your profile
3. Set the proper Cname with your domain host and point it to partner.adjix.com
4. Wait 24-48 hours for the dns to update everywhere
5. Start sharing links using your custom link shortener

1. Sign up for a free Adjix account.
2. Determine what domain prefix you want to use (go. link. etc) and enter it into your profile
3. Set the proper Cname with your domain host and point it to partner.adjix.com
4. Wait 24-48 hours for the dns to update everywhere
5. Start sharing links using your custom link shortener

The reason I went with Adjix is because of it’s ability to quickly and easily pre-schedule links to be tweeted out. Often times I do my blog reading in a block and I find a lot of good content I want to share, but I don’t want to overwhelm my followers with a huge blast of links. Adjix allows me to schedule them out a bit so they get spread out over the day and also provides some rudimentary stats.

The Data
When getting this setup I was wondering how it would stack up against other link shorteners I’ve used and so I used bit.ly and cli.gs for a while and compared the clicks I got on the links during this time vs my own domain shortener. For data purposes I kept the amount of links used the same (35) and tallied up the results and divided to get the average. The results actually surprised me quite a bit.

Cli.gs = 23
Bit.ly = 28
Adjix = 53

I guess using my own shortener isn’t such a bad idea when it comes to raw clicks. However when it comes to ReTweets I’ve discovered that most people reshrink the links from my own and send the link back out. Retweets with my personal link shortener are much more rare than when I used bit.ly or cli.gs.

Cli.gs = 13/35
Bit.ly = 23/35
Adjix = 10/35

So now the question is which is going to have more power since we all know people will RT something and then others will change the links to their own and so we lose the total train of data at that point. Do you find the amount of RT’s more important or do you find the amount of clicks from your initial tweet / update more important?

What do you think in RT vs Click? Do you know of any other simple ways to build your own link shortener?

Thanks for reading.
Josh “Shua” Peters

image by existentist




  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    Step back, Josh. Imagine you're a car dealership owner. Is it more important to determine how word of mouth/marketing of your business spreads, or if cars are sold?

    Or, regress to the controversy about blog post views vs blog post comments and how 1% comment.

    Does it really matter about RT methods? No. The key is people click, read, and maybe are led to comment and/or retweet it out. But they have to click first.

  • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

    Sinc Disqus is acting weird and not posting all comments I'm posting in one that doesn't seem to be able to be fixed ontheir end:

    Ari Herzog

    Step back, Josh. Imagine you're a car dealership owner. Is it more important to determine how word of mouth/marketing of your business spreads, or if cars are sold?

    Or, regress to the controversy about blog post views vs blog post comments and how 1% comment.

    Does it really matter about RT methods? No. The key is people click, read, and maybe are led to comment and/or retweet it out. But they have to click first.

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      I agree with your sentiment Ari, and seeing the CTR (Click Through Rate) of using my own link shortener vs that of Bit.ly is what's caused me to keep using my own as the primary vs bit.ly

      Thanks for the comment (even though Disqus isn't posting it up)

  • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

    Sinc Disqus is acting weird and not posting all comments I'm posting in one that doesn't seem to be able to be fixed ontheir end:

    Ari Herzog

    Step back, Josh. Imagine you're a car dealership owner. Is it more important to determine how word of mouth/marketing of your business spreads, or if cars are sold?

    Or, regress to the controversy about blog post views vs blog post comments and how 1% comment.

    Does it really matter about RT methods? No. The key is people click, read, and maybe are led to comment and/or retweet it out. But they have to click first.

  • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

    I agree with your sentiment Ari, and seeing the CTR (Click Through Rate) of using my own link shortener vs that of Bit.ly is what's caused me to keep using my own as the primary vs bit.ly

    Thanks for the comment (even though Disqus isn't posting it up)

  • http://www.kugkig.com/ Linking

    I liked your article very useful to me. I will come back and read the article again.

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  • http://www.FlankMarketing.com Dylan Whitman

    There is a fantastic plugin for WordPress called Pretty Link Pro – it allows you to have analytics built in to your blog dashboard, your own custom shortlink with current URL or alternate base URL (make it even shorter by buying shuaism.us etc) which will auto 301 redirect back to the correct version, or even let you install a custom branding bar that overlays at the top of the screen when someone clicks, even after retweet. It will even autotweet out your new blog entries with the shortened URL and predetermined hashtags as soon as you post a blog.

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      That's a really neat sounding plugin. Sounds like a rather robust too. Thanks

  • http://www.reallyeasycart.co.uk Ecommerce Software

    Long links are not good to see. I find it very irritated when I check on the links and find them so long. Great tip! I wish others would apply that too to avoid long links.

  • http://www.web-hosting-service.in/ website hosting services

    This has been absolutely useful. Given me lots of ideas. Genuine appreciation on the work..

    • Anonymous

      Glad to hear it

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