Before we get into this blog post about the use of customizable URL shorteners, let’s clear the air about one other thing: Big Foot is real. Without a doubt. I know, because I’ve seen him in various documentaries, most notably, 1987’s gripping “Harry and the Hendersons,” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093148/ which recounts a failed attempt to integrate a Sasquatch into a typical suburban American family. A Big Foot even landed a sweet endorsement deal with Jack Links Beef Jerky, and yet the lamestream media all but denies the existence of this gentle, pungent creature.
What does this have to do with customizable URL shorteners? If you’re like me, you probably have hundreds of online articles, videos and other Sasquatch-related media bookmarked. You cite that media when you give your annual Big Foot Power Point presentation, hard copies of which you give to attendees.
The problem is, many URLs are long, cumbersome, difficult to remember and hard to retype in your web browser.
For example, The Atlantic posted a great story titled “Why Bigfoot Sightings Are So Common Across Cultures.” But no one want to retype: http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/sasquatch/505304/.
That’s when you use a service such as Bitly to access the URL “theatln.tc/2eJycC.”
Note that The Atlantic’s website appears to include a plug-in that integrates its name into the shortened URL, but also limits the customizable options of Bitly.
I also like Tiny URL, a free service that allowed me to generate this customized link: tinyurl.com/BFcommon.
Shortened links are also useful for directing print readers to sites with additional data, such as a videos or interactive slideshow that augments the print experience.
Shortened URLs also means it’s easier for your audience to access public documents, such as the government’s top secret 800 page spreadsheet chronicling Big Foot sightings in Acadia National Park for 2016. Obviously, you can’t reprint the entire thing to include in your Acadia Big Foot Society newsletter. But you can post the report online and provide a short, snappy customizable link in your mailer that will make it easier for folks to access the raw data.
Shortened links makes it easier for your audience — whether live or print — to access any content with a URL, and to pass that content on to others. And using a clever, succinct, shortened URL will really set you apart from those UFO nuts. Believe me, those guys are cray-cray.
Next: We’ll show you the how to use shortlinks online, and give you a look at the tools offered by Bitly to help you gather analytics.