It has happened to me several times; I’ve been talking to someone about Bit.ly or a URL shortener and realized they have not been introduced to this feature. Let’s take a minute, go over the basics of URL shortening, and help you get the most out of this social media tool.

URL shorteners are an amazingly simple and free tool that I now find it hard to live without. Ok, maybe I can live without a URL shortener, but I couldn’t WORK without one.

Why You Need a URL Shortener

You want to pass this article along to a friend in the email you are writing (or on Facebook or Twitter). If you don’t use a URL shortener yet, then you have to highlight it, right click-copy it, and past the whole thing into your document. Some can be very long, take up a lot of space, and are definitely hard to remember.

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 How URL Shorteners Work

There are plenty of URL shortener options out there, but I usually use Bit.ly It is easy to use, and their new redesign makes the service even more intuitive for first time users. It is free to use Bit.ly, so simply right click-copy the URL you want to shorten, pull up Bit.ly, past it in the large space provided, and it will automatically give you a short URL that is unique to your link. You can use this link anywhere and whoever clicks on it will be taken to your intended (original) link.

See Bit.ly:

using bit.ly

The long URL example from above is now shortened to:

bitly2

I hope this was helpful and that you take a few minutes to give Bit.ly a try. Once you experience how easy it is to shorten your URL’s you’ll come to rely on this service frequently.

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