Yourl Very Own Branded Link Shortener

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Google and Facebook both announced link shortening services this week – Google’s – goog.gl and Facebook’s fb.me (mostly used in twitter and mobile shares, but fb.me/ducttapemarketing takes you to my Fan page.)

your own urlsLink shorteners have been around for years, but they are certainly getting hot right now it appears. I think I first used one called TinyURL as far back as 2000. What these scripts do is take very long URL like this search string on small business marketing – http://www.google.com/search?q=smallbusiness+marketing&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a and allow you to turn it into something tidy and even memorable like this http://dtmcoach.com/smbizmarketing. The brevity required on Twitter spawned a host of these services for the very practical shorter links, but because link shorteners are redirection scripts, and they pass the visitor through a link, they can also provide a variety of tracking and analysis for what happens to that link.

I use su.pr for instance to shorten links on Twitter, track and analyze, and tap into additional traffic from the tool’s sponsor StumbleUpon. Others commonly use Bit.ly and Ow.ly for the various features they offer.

Since everyone is doing it, I thought I would let you know about a way to create your very own, branded link shortening service, giving you the ability to create links that support your brand while impressing all who come into contact with your short links.

Here’s how you do it.
1) Get a really cool short URL (you can host it on any URL, but the idea is short – I have dtmcoach.com and duc.ttape.us for example)
2) You’ll need hosting – pretty much any host that could run a WordPress blog will do
3) Grab a free program called Yourl – read the installation instruction that come in the Readme.html file – the only real trick is a little bit of set-up in one file for the database (if you’ve set up a WordPress blog you’ll be familiar)
4) Check to make sure the setting for privacy is true and custom is true – you don’t want just anyone to create links using your brand, right? The custom setting allows you to create a word or phrase for your link so you can have /product vs. /ek3isk
5) Start creating links like dtmcoach.com/awesomeblog (that will bring you right back here)
6) View your dashboard to track and edit your links (Once you start putting this links out there you don’t want to change them)
7) Set-up the toolbar widget so you can create your URLs on the fly from any site or page you are visiting and easily submit to Twitter, Facebook or MySpace.


Tags

Facebook, Google, Link Shorteners, TinyURL, twitter


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  1. This is a good step taken in the process of customizing link shortener ability, but I would like to know one thing as most of them are becoming more then just a URL shortener by providing link analytics information but is there a revenue model for them which can be workable.

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply John and also sharing that blog post, they would be offering great analytics in the future which would really help big publishers to enhance there work towards it.
        Did you see the first comment on it from Random and he has made your blog post with that, its funny that he says I don’t need any hype.

  2. This is a good step taken in the process of customizing link shortener ability, but I would like to know one thing as most of them are becoming more then just a URL shortener by providing link analytics information but is there a revenue model for them which can be workable.

  3. Thanks for the prompt reply John and also sharing that blog post, they would be offering great analytics in the future which would really help big publishers to enhance there work towards it.
    Did you see the first comment on it from Random and he has made your blog post with that, its funny that he says I don't need any hype.

  4. John – Great info, thanks. I'd like to add for your readers who use WordPress a heads up on a plugin that allows you to shorten URLs for posts and/or pages of your blog/site that allows you to add links to your tweets with your brand. Mine, for example, look like this: http://izit.com/329 (Links to article re: Matt Cutts offers SEO tips for WP users)

    The tool is Twitter-friendly-links and can be found here:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twitter-fri

    I use this tool for numerous blogs and love using my own brand in shortened URLs on Twitter.

  5. John – Great info, thanks. I’d like to add for your readers who use WordPress a heads up on a plugin that allows you to shorten URLs for posts and/or pages of your blog/site that allows you to add links to your tweets with your brand. Mine, for example, look like this: http://izit.com/329 (Links to article re: Matt Cutts offers SEO tips for WP users)

    The tool is Twitter-friendly-links and can be found here:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twitter-friendly-links

    I use this tool for numerous blogs and love using my own brand in shortened URLs on Twitter.

  6. Yourls sounds pretty cool – why would I use it though when it’s soooo much easier to just download the pretty link plugin for wordpress and use that? Pretty Link has a ton of analytics and options and is a no-brainer to install if you run wordpress. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

    1. Horace – really different uses – if you want to create links from your site and make them pretty that’s one thing, but if you want to create branded links from a short URL that’s another. You can use either, but to do what I’m talking about you would have the same amount of work either way.

      1. Actually that’s not true on 2 counts:

        1. Pretty Link is a full featured URL shortener (with awesome tracking and reporting) for your domain name. It doesn’t just beautify links to your blog, it allows you to shrink links to any url, again allowing you to brand these links with your domain name (and a branded header if you like).
        2. If your running WordPress pretty link is almost effortless to setup. It’s a native wordpress plugin so you don’t need to setup a custom database.

        I agree with the post — having your own, branded urls is important. Yourls is really cool but Pretty Link is easier to get setup … you should really check it out John, I think you’d like it. I set it up on my site a few months ago and has been great.

        1. Horace – I think pretty links is an awesome tool, but here’s the limitation I’m talking about. If your domain name on your wordpress blog is http://www.ducttapemarketing.com then your shortest link is http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/d2ksid4 – and that’s not too short.

          If you want to get a great URL like duc.ttape.us to create short links then you would need to install WP and Pretty Links to make it work, so that’s what I’m suggesting is the issue.

          1. oic 🙂 Yeah, if you want a different url then I can see that. My domain name’s short enough but here’s what a buddy of mine did though.

            He just registered a short url and just aliased (using ServerAlias, the same mechanism most people use to get http://www.example.com to point to the same place as example.com) it to his blog — then all his pretty links just started using the other domain name in addition to his blog’s domain name. True, it is a bit of work either way … but still a pretty easy setup.

  7. Yourls sounds pretty cool – why would I use it though when it's soooo much easier to just download the pretty link plugin for wordpress and use that? Pretty Link has a ton of analytics and options and is a no-brainer to install if you run wordpress. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  8. Wow, this is really cool John! Plus the fact that this is a free program makes it very enticing to use. May give it a try here in the near future 🙂

  9. Wow, this is really cool John! Plus the fact that this is a free program makes it very enticing to use. May give it a try here in the near future 🙂

  10. Horace – really different uses – if you want to create links from your site and make them pretty that's one thing, but if you want to create branded links from a short URL that's another. You can use either, but to do what I'm talking about you would have the same amount of work either way.

  11. Actually that's not true on 2 counts:

    1. Pretty Link is a full featured URL shortener (with awesome tracking and reporting) for your domain name. It doesn't just beautify links to your blog, it allows you to shrink links to any url, again allowing you to brand these links with your domain name (and a branded header if you like).
    2. If your running WordPress pretty link is almost effortless to setup. It's a native wordpress plugin so you don't need to setup a custom database.

    I agree with the post — having your own, branded urls is important. Yourls is really cool but Pretty Link is easier to get setup … you should really check it out John, I think you'd like it. I set it up on my site a few months ago and has been great.

  12. Horace – I think pretty links is an awesome tool, but here's the limitation I'm talking about. If your domain name on your wordpress blog is http://www.ducttapemarketing.com then your shortest link is http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/d2ksid4 – and that's not too short.

    If you want to get a great URL like duc.ttape.us to create short links then you would need to install WP and Pretty Links to make it work, so that's what I'm suggesting is the issue.

  13. oic 🙂 Yeah, if you want a different url then I can see that. My domain name's short enough but here's what a buddy of mine did though.

    He just registered a short url and just aliased (using ServerAlias, the same mechanism most people use to get http://www.example.com to point to the same place as example.com) it to his blog — then all his pretty links just started using the other domain name in addition to his blog's domain name. True, it is a bit of work either way … but still a pretty easy setup.

  14. I am happy to know that getting a shorter link is so easy. I was curious how friends and other people had been doing this.
    Thanks for this!

  15. I am happy to know that getting a shorter link is so easy. I was curious how friends and other people had been doing this.
    Thanks for this!

  16. Thank you for your post. I never new it could be so easy to shorten our url’s. I have been curious ever since I saw one of my friend’s post one on Facebook.

  17. Thank you for your post. I never new it could be so easy to shorten our url's. I have been curious ever since I saw one of my friend's post one on Facebook.

  18. This is a great post! I can see that you have put a lot of hard work on your blog. I’m sure I’d visit here more often. You can also drop by our website. It’s mainly about affordable seo services . You might know someone who might be interested. =)

  19. This is a great post! I can see that you have put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often. You can also drop by our website. It's mainly about affordable seo services . You might know someone who might be interested. =)

  20. Not sure I have the computer skills to set this up, but happy to know it exists! I have to say, I’ve not yet seen a branded, shortened url on Twitter. The newest trend I’ve noticed is more use of su.pr since it encourages people to stumble your site. From what I’ve heard, this is even more important than the analytics offered by other programs.

  21. Not sure I have the computer skills to set this up, but happy to know it exists! I have to say, I've not yet seen a branded, shortened url on Twitter. The newest trend I've noticed is more use of su.pr since it encourages people to stumble your site. From what I've heard, this is even more important than the analytics offered by other programs.

  22. Very cool. About to setup a WordPress blog, actually. Will I be able to piggyback what I’m doing onto this site, or should I create a dedicated site to perform the actions you suggest?

    1. It depends – if you want to use a Link shortener with the URL of your current blog use a WordPress Plugin like Pretty URLs – if you want to come up with a really short URL that you would use just for shortening purposes, then you do need a dedicated URL, hosting and the Yourls script just for that.

  23. Very cool. About to setup a WordPress blog, actually. Will I be able to piggyback what I'm doing onto this site, or should I create a dedicated site to perform the actions you suggest?

  24. It depends – if you want to use a Link shortener with the URL of your current blog use a WordPress Plugin like Pretty URLs – if you want to come up with a really short URL that you would use just for shortening purposes, then you do need a dedicated URL, hosting and the Yourls script just for that.

  25. Very cool. About to setup a WordPress blog, actually. Will I be able to piggyback what I'm doing onto this site, or should I create a dedicated site to perform the actions you suggest?

  26. It depends – if you want to use a Link shortener with the URL of your current blog use a WordPress Plugin like Pretty URLs – if you want to come up with a really short URL that you would use just for shortening purposes, then you do need a dedicated URL, hosting and the Yourls script just for that.

  27. I read your profile today and it was so good to me.i feel you are the only one missing in my entire life so i decided to stop on and let you know that i am interested to be a friend first.When the fight begins within himself, a man's worth something

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