Create a Branded URL Shortening Service for promoting your Brand on Twitter and other Social Networking Websites

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:

Option 1:

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.

Option 2:

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!

Option 3:

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.

  • Agent 001

    Thanks for the resources. I needed to know this. I was thinking of having my own short URL service.

  • TechZoomIn

    Shortening URL becoming very famous now. Everybody is using and unable to what is the exact source link :)

  • Amit Banerjee

    Useful Information. Good Article Rohit !

    Just wanted to ask you a Question : Do You Know of any method that shows your Website name in Twitter. I mean If someone Wants to Show that The Tweet can from his blog and Not from any other services like tweetdeck or twihrl etc. Please let me Know If you Know that Issue. Thanks again

  • Rohit Sane – Tech freak

    @Amit
    I will surely make it a point to inform you about any such service, if I ever come across it. Thanks for commenting!

  • Swashata

    This is cool! I have a question! Can we use the Google apps even if we have set the www alias for our blog hosted on blogger?

  • Rohit Sane – Tech freak

    @Swashata

    Of course you can have more than 1 CNAME entries on the same Domain name.

  • Swashata

    @Rohit: Please elaborate on this! I mean I can put another subdomain to point to Google Apps right? (like suppose abc.intechgrity.com)! Can you make a detailed post on this… For Bloggers using www alias for blog and then setting up Google Apps manually! I shall be really thankful :)

    And one more thing! Can you please enable embedded comment form in your blog :)

  • Rohit Sane – Tech freak

    @Swashata

    Even I am using the "www" alias for my blog. I am also using the "mail" alias with Google apps which will take you to the persomanised Email address @techfreakstuff.com

    It is completely fine if you have multiple alias pointing to the same address i.e. ghs.google.com or any other.

    I hope I am clear enough. If not, do not hesitate to ask your question again!

    Also, I am shifting from Blogger to wordpress in the coming week , so you can have a comment form embedded below the post there..Sorry that I am not placing the embedded comment form here in my Blogger Blog!

  • Swashata

    @Rohit:
    I have bought domain from name.com! They give setup of google apps directly over their control panel! I have came across a link http://www.smartbloggerz.com/2008/09/how-to-setup-blogger-custom-domain-with/ which says that I can use that automatic setup and then delete the start up page from the google apps control panel! I am afraid that I shall mess up my dns configuration by doing that! I would like to setup Google Apps manually! It would be really great if you write a post explaining completely the process :)

    And congrats for your Blogger > WordPress shift! :)

  • http://www.techfreakstuff.com Rohit Sane – Tech freak

    @Swashata

    I hope that you have access to your Google Apps Admin page[i.e. DashBoard]. If yes, then Log-In to it and then Go to Google Solutions MarketPlace

    After going here, see the top right corner for the Sign-In option. Sign-In with your Google Apps Username and Password [i.e. something@yourwebsite.com]

    After doing that, Add the "Google Short Links" to your Domain and proceed ahead as mentioned above.

    Dont worry about DNS errors. I have 5 alises[i.e. 5 CNAME entries pointing to the same address of ghs.google.com] It does not create any problem because you are having different hostnames [like www, mail, sites, url, etc] try going to
    Tech-Freak Stuff Mail
    , Tech-Freak Stuff Sites, etc. They are all created using CNAME entries pointing to the same address i.e. ghs.google.com

    Did I solve your Confusion? If No, then ask again! Sorry for not being able to clear your Doubt!

  • http://www.intechgrity.com Swashata

    Thanks a lot for your help :)
    I have finally set up everything correctly! By default when we setup Google Apps using name.com service then it sets up the www alias for google site! Thats where I was having confusion! Now I have set up Google Apps manually and everything is working fine
    Thanks for your help buddy! I will now try to setup the url for my domain and sms service! Thanks again for your help :)

  • http://www.intechgrity.com Swashata

    Done everything smoothly! The short link service is available from Google Apps Labs :)

  • http://www.hellboundbloggers.com S.Pradeep Kumar

    Nice article mate ! ;)

    I thought of doing the same in my blog ! :P

  • http://teamnirvana.com/blog Team Nirvana

    Phew!

    Never knew this dude. Thanks for sharing. I would make use of this in creating a new site or using with my own site! Shud decide which would be better.

  • Jay Janardan Shukla

    Hey mate,
    Hi i am Health Care Management guy currently handling all internet marketing for my company and want to make it a brand online….in market we have catch many customer through our manual marketing but now we want to jump to Internet marketing….our website owner can take up the E-marketing work but i want to do it by myself…can u help me out in getting started with my Blog and ol i am just zzero in Internet things…
    Please do help in easier way.
    Awaiting your reply.
    Regards,
    Jay Janardan Shukla

  • http://www.techfreakstuff.com Rohit Sane

    @jay: you can start marketing using popular networks like Facebook and Twitter and then get in Pay-per-click advertising options.. try to create a communication between the company and the customers, which will be of use to both.. It will help you in marketing online..