Very well known to marketers and publishers, Bitly is a must-have tool for the web. Today, complete guide in this review.
You probably already know this tool, but it has evolved a lot in the last two years.
Now, a real business has been built around Bitly and it’s very well done by the start-up. Who would have predicted that a simple link shortener would become so popular?
In any case, Bitly is very practical for the daily life of bloggers. There are several features that it is useful to know about. Let’s discover them in this article.
First, why shorten a link?
In fact, there is much more than one answer to this question. The first that comes to mind is to make a link that is long – or even very long – short and visible in its entirety.
Using a short link has two advantages:
- It’s more professional
- Internet users prefer short links
The primary purpose of a Bitly link is to be shared on social networks, in emails, on YouTube or on a website.
But that’s not all.
Link managers like Bitly also manage the analytical side and provide metrics for the number of clicks, sometimes accompanied by the geographical area.
So this is the kind of thing that is very useful to track the links of a campaign on Instagram or to sell a product on Facebook without going through the Business Manager.
By knowing how many people clicked, you can determine the conversion rate of a page, which is very important!
You can see that the role of a link shortener is at least twofold: to provide a clean link that can be tracked.
One last aspect that is not much emphasized is the fact that people know Bitly. When they see a bit.ly link, it immediately makes them feel confident.
It’s not endless or weird links, it’s Bitly.
Review of the different functions
Before going any further, I would like to point out that the developers have made the effort to provide a service that is completely free to use in its basic version.
No limits and even no registration!
You go to their site, enter your link and Bitly comes up with a miniature version that you can copy and paste anywhere.
Now, to go further in the functionalities, it is necessary to register thanks to the free or paid version.
For the purposes of this article, I will use a new account. I then inevitably find myself with an empty dashboard:
On the left column, the list of Bitly links related to your account. On the top, the most important thing if you want a complete tracking of your links: the summary of the number of clicks with the possibility to sort by performance.
It gives you a quick look at the links that work best.
On the top right are the options to modify the account, add custom domains to replace bit.ly with to.ma for example.
Add a link
Right next to the options is the orange add button. It allows you to create either a new Bitly link or a campaign. The campaigns are only available with the pro version.
To add a link, it’s very simple. Click on Create and enter the link to be shortened:
By default, the system will generate a bit.ly link, but if you have the pro version, you will be able to use your own links as I said above.
Once created, you can give your link a name and customize it – for example bit.ly/program and add one or more tags:
Tags are labels that make it easy to find a link among the mass if you have dozens and dozens of them.
The link then appears in the dashboard:
I remember that one or two years ago, it was possible to know the number of clicks of any Bit.ly link by simply adding + at the end of the link.
So I tried it and it doesn’t seem to work anymore…
Now we only have access to our links. It’s a pity because it was a good method to spy on competitors among others.
What does the pro version offer?
Fortunately, the free version is more than enough for most users. However, it’s always interesting to know what else the higher plans offer.
At $29 per month, the Basic plan includes Branded Links, which are links that work with bit.ly but use a different domain name. The rendering is even more professional, but it’s not free.
You need to buy the domain name + the Bitly subscription.
The second plan is the Premium plan. It unlocks Branded Links to 3000 links, QR Codes and geographic data.
The two upper plans also unblock the campaigns. The price is justified by the fact that they are dedicated to companies. An individual has little use in switching to the Basic or Premium plan.
In addition, an alternative for WordPress
If you have a WordPress site, I can offer you a very effective alternative. In fact, I’m going to suggest two that I use on my sites.
The first one – and you may know it – is Pretty Links, which allows you to create links of the type domain-name.fr/link.
I use it mainly for my affiliate links, in order to have a nice link, a Pretty Link!
The second alternative is another plugin that you can use if you have a site that runs with the Genesis framework. This is the Simple URLs plugin, this time the links will be in the form domain-name.fr/go/link.
Both are of course free and you can use them as you wish. If you have an Instagram page, it’s interesting to display a link with the domain name in bio.
My opinion about Bitly – What do I think?
Whenever I need to shorten a link, I usually use Pretty Links, but sometimes I also use Bitly, especially on social networks.
The reason is that the links are really short and easy to share. Especially since my domain name is long so it’s not always great.
In a Facebook comment, a post or other, Bitly links go well and are not a problem.
In a few words, that’s what I think of Bitly. A great free tool for all web entrepreneurs, in the same vein as Canva – freemium but higher version not essential.
If you don’t use it yet, you won’t be able to do without it soon! You liked the article, don’t hesitate to share it. Good blogging 🙂