For us who do online marketing, using URL shortening services is an everyday event. Emailing a link that is 500 characters long is not cool. Additionally, if it is an affiliate link, you certainly want to hide your affiliate id from being hijacked.
There are plenty of free online url shortening services, that are hosted elsewhere. There are 100′s that you can pick from. Some of the more common one’s are: goo.gl, tinyurl.com, bit.ly, is.gd, tiny.cc. The problem with all of them is that most of them look spammy and many email providers see them this way too. For WordPress users, there are a variety of free plugins that will shorten URLs, track and cloak, links for you. In the past, I have used GoCodes plugin. The problem is, I have to login to each wordpress install to look at my stats, or change the urls, or add another one.
The best service that I am currently using is a free script that you host on your own server called Yourls.org. You manage all your links from one dashboard. You are in control. It shortens your urls, offers cloaking, tracking, and many more features with additional free plugins. Thus, this requires your own hosting. I find Hostgator an excellence choice for hosting. I have created a video that explains how to install Yourls.
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There are marketing dangers to using free online URL shortener’s like bit.ly, namely, you do not know what is lurking on the other side of the link, and if this link can be trusted. Additionally, many email providers filter out these free online shortener’s as being spam email.
If you do email marketing, or blogging, you want to look trustworthy. I would rather click on markdulisse.com/likes/offer, than to click on www.bit.ly/8ha35.
Then there are the paid install scripts that offer you much of the same services of shortening, cloaking, and tracking, but installed on your own domain. And of course, I have purchased most of the better one’s.
If you any type of selling online, you want to cloak and track your links. The BEST method is to install a script on your own server with a admin dashboard that allows you to control all your links from one dashboard. If you need to change the affiliate id on one of your links, no problem, simply login to the dashboard and make the changes and all links that are published on the web will now have the new affiliate id attached to it.
For our purposes, Yourls.org offers the best features, benefits, and advantages.
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