When you’re trying to drive people to a specific website on Twitter, you can save valuable real estate by using a URL shortener.
Sharing an article with the whole URL takes up a lot of space—sometimes over half of your tweet. By using a URL shortening service, you can reduce the length of a URL from http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/there-are-two-kinds-of-c-e-o/?ref=business to http://nyti.ms/gT68Vx. And both links go to the same site.
Two advantages to URL shorteners: save space and obtain stats
URL shortening services have two main perks. Not only do you save space and make it easier for readers to stomach, but you can track how many people click on your link. That’s where the money is at. By analyzing your clicks, you can see how much attention your followers give you, which articles are the most popular and which headlines and commentary have a higher click rate.
Bit.ly offers great statistics to analyze, giving you the time, usernames of other Twitter users that promoted the link, locations and which site referred them. Do they look at tweets with an application? Do they use an RSS reader? You can find all of this out from bit.ly’s stats.
Google recently came out with its shortener, Goo.gl, but it is lacking some of the features that bit.ly offers. Bit.ly allows you to rename the titles of your links to help you keep track of them better, while Goo.gl does not. It doesn’t sound that important but if you want to categorize your links to see how they do from week to week, it makes a huge difference. I bet that Goo.gl will mirror some of the same features as bit.ly shortly.
Try signing up for bit.ly or another URL shortening service, and let me know how if it helps you identify popular links. Looking at those stats are better than shooting in the dark.