Track your progress with short links


Let me tell you a short story.


Once upon a time, there were two authors. Both authors had written amazing books and early review buzz was building up. Both were actively engaged in blogging, commenting on other blogs, and interacting with readers on social media.

Over time, however, one author appeared to be reacting faster to reader feedback, generating more consistently interesting content, and getting more and more people talking about her and her work. Ultimately, this author ended up building a network of more core fans and this trend continued with each successive book she published.

The other author spent a lot of time trying out different ways to engage readers but never seemed to have his pulse on what was happening in real-time. He struggled to build a network of core fans and it took him longer to achieve his publishing goals.

The difference between the two authors? You guessed it. One used url shortening (short links) and the other did not.

But what the heck is a short link?

From Wikipedia:

URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) may be made substantially shorter in length and still direct to the required page.

What are the benefits of url shortening?

From mashable:

1) They make links more manageable. (AD note: this comes in handy when publishing links to twitter when number of characters is a huge factor)

2)They can track and compile click data (AD note: this is how the first author knew in real-time what content was working and what was not, so she could save time and create more posts like the one’s that generated the greatest engagement)

3)They can be transformed into social media services – URL shorteners, in their own way, work as aggregates of information. This can lead to some useful mash-ups and innovations in how people share and digest content.

4) They can provide users useful features – URL shorteners can improve the browsing experience.

5) They promote sharing (AD note: People are more likely to copy and share a cute short url then some long unattractive cumbersome url)

Where do I find these url shortening services and how much do they cost? 

I personally use bitly and love it. Once I create a blog, pinterest pin, video, or any other type of content, I immediately go to bitly and create a short link. Then I attach that link to all my posts across the web (twitter, facebook, linkedin, youtube, goodreads, amazon, etc). And every few days I check the bitly site to see the level of engagement with my content. I make note of the content getting clicked, gather data on from where the clickers clicked and adjust my content generation strategy accordingly. And all of this data and service is amazingly, free!

Some of the other notable url shortening services are as follows:

The point here is that feedback can be garnered in a lot of ways online. It behooves us as authors to go beyond the book review and see the other ways readers are letting us know they like what we are doing. Pay attention to and track your likes, shares, comments, and yes clicks on your short links.

Now that you understand the various ways to increase and measure feedback, let’s move on to getting fans!





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