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Why I LOVE Bit.ly

It was Mitali Perkins who first introduced me to the bit.ly website last year at a writer's retreat. In the middle of the afternoon we had some free time and Mitali asked if anyone was interested in talking about social networking.

"ME! PICK ME!" I wanted to scream, but you'll be glad to hear I acted all sophisticated and composed. I sat at a table, surrounded by many authors whom I admire, and soaked up their tips and tricks of the writerly trade... one of which was bit.ly.

Here are the top five reasons I love incorporating http://bit.ly/ into my social networking:

1) Shortened Links
When you are using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, each character counts.
Bit.ly turns this:
http://marjorielight.livejournal.com/18227.html (which isn't as long as some links I've seen!)

into this:
(Which is
the link for my review for the Prinz Award winning novel, GOING BOVINE by @libbabray)

I use bit.ly links in my parent emails, with my class listserv, on my school website, and even with on-line (paperless) assignments. It saves precious space. And that is just the beginning...

2) Tracks Number of Hits
After you log into your bit.y account and see how your latest link fared, click on "Your Bit.ly Click Summary" link. This page shows number of hits per hour, week, or month in a bar graph. Below the bar graph is a breakdown of the hits by reference (How many per Twitter, Facebook,  email, or website)

One of my favorite items on the Click Summary page is the Locations Pie Chart. Here I can see that 71% of my hits this week were from people residing in the U.S. The other 29% is divided between five other countries. I can see that my Twitter and Facebook friends from around the globe are interested in what I have to say. It also can let me see which of my ideas appeal to my global audience more.

3) Details of Referrals
Those of you who use Twitter are familiar with RT (retweets) - whereby another user likes what you've posted and posts your link on their status update. Bit.ly keeps track of these, as well. There are three ways you can see a link's popularity. On the main page you see how many people clicked the link you posted and how many have clicked it from prior/alternate sources not related to yours.

Here's a little example. I linked on FB The Blue Paddle Bistro (a new restaurant I liked) to my local friends:

Only ten people clicked on the link (not bad). There were 28 total clicks through various other sources (not me). Some people made comments, and it was fun to give them some potential customers, and make plans to go back with a couple we know.

4) Tracking Popularity of Links
I've read that the AVERAGE blog gets about five reads. Caslon Analytics, an "Australian research, analysis and strategies consultancy," has a VERY INTERESTING online article about the total number of blogs and the average number of reads. Entitled Blogging: Statistics and Demographics, it gives an example of how on a good day with 100 million people each reading 50 blogs, the average blogger might get lucky with 24 hits.

When my review of Jo Knowles' JUMPING OFF SWINGS had 69 hits, I was elated! I love knowing that my recommendations for great books like Jo's are being viewed!

By clicking on the blue number (a link), I would be able to see the times of the hits, where they originated, if they were re-posted, and how many of my international readers had clicked the links.

5) Real-Time Data

The last reason I love bit.ly is how I get instant feedback. I can write on my blog, create a bit.ly link, and then post it to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Within seconds, I can see which source gives me the most hits. I can evaluate and track the time of day I posted to see which time period gets the most hits. Also, I can see if certain key words trigger more hits. 

If you are a teacher trying to create a PLN (Personal Learning Network) or a writer trying to connect with other writers and/or reach your audience, take advantage of the free service Bit.ly has to offer.

It is simple: log into bit.ly and create an account. I put the link to mine in my toolbar. Whenever I am on a page I want to link, I just click the Bit.ly toolbar button and it automatically creates the shortened link for me. You can also cut and paste the long link onto the Bit.ly site and click the "Shorten" button. Now copy the new link into your blog or post. You are now ready to track your social networking!

Please comment: Let me know if you use bit.ly, or have any questions, or if you are willing to give it a go and then let me know how it works for you! Thanks!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
Wow! This sounds really cool. I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of it! And thanks for the sweet shoutout.

Feb. 2nd, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
You have such a great writing style...it is easy to sing your praises!

Give bit.ly a try...I am enjoying the service it provides for tracking my links. (I'm hoping it gets retweeted on Twitter so then I can show that influence on here...)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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