Follow me on Twitter! Join me on FaceBook!
These words have been the song of the current generation. Also, we need to keep pace with them due to the ever increasing Marketing opportunities available at these Social networking websites. FaceBook already claims that one-fifth of the total Internet users have a FaceBook account! Due to such great potential of these Websites, it is essential that we promote our services here for gaining a large audience and also get a good response.
Twitter has also been growing tremendously as a service in a whole and also attracting a lot of users. Twitter is already poised to be the next big hit in the Social Networking Market after Facebook! So, it is essential that we get adapted to it as soon as possible and create our Brand Empire there for gaining quality customers.
Using twitter is only about telling people “What are you doing?” Also, each time you write something, you need to take care that you don’t use more than 140 characters! Interesting, Right? But there are people who have found a Marketing strategy to promote services on twitter by using links to the service. But the URL of the service is not always small to fit the 140 character limit, so URL Shorteners came into existence.
URL shorteners basically shrink your URL into a small URL so that you can effectively use it where small place is available for data entry (as in Twitter) When someone clicks these small URLs they are transferred to the original URL using 301 redirection, thus protecting against PageRank leak.
Now these Shortened URL appear like http://bit.ly/MSW2i or http://bit.ly/22rK9 or http://tinyurl.com/m48qeg, etc. Looking at these URLs, the first thing that strikes your Mind is that a service named bit.ly or tinyurl would have been used to shorten these URLs. So, indirectly you are helping these services promote themselves. How about the idea of creating a Customized URL Shortening service for your Brand?
You can actually do it in three ways:
Using Shorty! Shorty will allow you to convert your Domain name into a URL shortening service. It is basically a PHP application and needs a server enabled with PHP version 4+ and SQL database. You can get all the information regarding installing and activating Shorty from their Forum.
Using Google Apps! But it is only available for sites that use Google Apps for their Domains. Start with adding the Google Short Links service to your Google Apps domain. You are free to choose any other sub-domain, but by default your Redirection service will be available at links.example.com.
Go to Dashboard, Open your Short Links settings and add a new URL. Delete the default links sub-domain and select any sub-domain of your choice. Try to keep it as short as possible. Now open your Domain CPanel and create a CNAME record using the sub-domain you chose in the previous step and point it to ghs.google.com After DNS changes take effect(after about 2-3 hours), your URL shortening service will start working!
Note: This method uses 302 temporary redirect, so it wont be very effective for SEO purposes.
If you do not want to go through all these hassles, I have a simpler way for you!
Use 9MP! 9MP allows you to add your brand to your URL shortener. Example: http://techfreakstuff.9mp.com/ I use this service most of the times while shortening my links so that the viewers become aware of the fact that, the URL is shortened by a brand named TechFreakStuff. So, How do you get this service enabled?
Go to 9MP and Click on Request A Branded URL in the Top-Right corner. On the branding Page, fill out the Contact Us form! You will be asked your desired brand name. After filling out the form, you can expect an Email from their Administrator within 24 hours if your desired brand name is available! The next steps will be explained in the Conformation email. Use a smart Brand name for this purpose, so that you can attract a good amount of visitors for your service. But take care, that signing up for Major established Brand names will reduce your chances of getting it.
Marketing has been of major help for promoting Online services, So don’t stay back in promoting your Blog/ Website or even your online business using Branded URL shorteners.