Tech tip: Why you should create a custom URL shortener
But URL shorteners don’t do any favors for media companies trying to maintain their brands in a hyper-distribution world, because they convert your branded URL and turn it into a shorter string that features a random combination of characters.
Eliot Pierce, VP of strategy, business and ad operations development for the New York Times (aside: maybe someone could invent a job title shortener?), acknowledged the importance of keeping your brand connected to your content as it is shared across social media.
“It’s important for users to know that the piece of content they’re getting is from the New York Times,” Pierce said during a recent Advertising Week panel discussion on content sharing. “Anything you can do to keep your brand or a variation of your brand in front of them is important.”
AOL, Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal and C.Span are among the publishers that also use bitly.Pro.
Mashable suggests services such as awe.sm, yourls, or budurl to help you get up and running with a customer URL shortener “fairly quickly and inexpensively.” Vendors like bit.ly, awe.sm and budURL also offer tools for tracking social media traffic.
URL shorteners are not just a good idea for social media. They’re also effective for email newsletters and mobile distribution, both aesthetically (they look better) and functionally (long URL strings have a tendency to truncate in email).
Here are some resources to help you create your own custom URL shortener, along with insights about new shorteners from Google and Twitter:
Contentious.com: Rolling your own link shortener might be a good idea
Taka Designs: Creating a custom branded URL shortener with bit.ly Pro
O’Reilly Radar: Why Twitter's t.co is a game changer