How to Create a Custom URL Shortener
If you're a Twitter addict like myself, then you probably see URL shorteners all the time. For those not aware, a URL shortener does exactly what it sounds like. It shortens a long URL into something that's much easier on the eyes. Some of the more popular shortener services are bit.ly, TinyURL and especially t.co, which is officially owned by Twitter. What if you want to take it a step further and use your own custom domain? Luckily, it's incredibly easy to do. Follow the two steps below and you'll be snipping URLs in no time.
1. Purchase a domain
Without a domain, this isn't going to work very well. I recommend Go Daddy for domain purchases. I've been using them for a few years now and I highly recommend their services. Not only are they great, but I'm also going to save you a few dollars. I encourage you to use any of my discount codes at checkout. When choosing a domain, try to use something that is short and simple to understand. I was fortunate enough to grab the domain difran.co, which is working perfectly.
2. Register a bit.ly Pro account
In order to map your custom domain, you need to first sign up for a bit.ly Pro account, which is completely free. After doing so, bit.ly will walk you through how to make the magic happen. Once the process is complete, try it out for yourself to make sure everything was configured correctly. Sometimes it may take a couple minutes to become active.
And just like that, you're up and running! Now that you have a bit.ly account, don't forget to check out the analytics tools in your Pro Dashboard. This allows you to monitor real-time traffic, including how many clicks your shortened URLs receive, as seen on the right. Monitoring traffic is a great way to gain an understanding of who is viewing your website and where they're coming from.
If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to ask. I realize mapping a domain may be new to some users, so I am always happy to help. Snip away!