Bit.ly has revamped its simple URL shortening service and the changes have made it one slick site. Dubbed the Fugu release, bit.ly is now a pretty seamless process with extra attention being paid to sharing via Twitter and link analytics. Having a bit.ly account and linking it to your Twitter account is starting to give some real advantages to websites and bloggers.
Instead of just bouncing over to bit.ly for your link shortening needs, you can also use it to tweet directly to Twitter. Just start typing your message in the big box and paste in your long link wherever you want it. Bit.ly will shorten any links for you automatically and you can continue typing. Once you have your message, just hit the Share button to send it off to Twitter.
You can still create custom links with bit.ly by hitting the ‘Customize’ button after you have a link shortened. One thing I noticed that is a minor problem is that once you paste in the long link the character counter will update to how many characters are remaining, say -32, but then when bit.ly automatically shortens the link it doesn’t update that count until you type or delete a character in the box.
If your company is trying to shift some of its marketing to the digital front, it can easily seem that you’re having no effect and you’re just shooting out messages into the darkness. Bit.ly’s analytics allow you to see how many clicks each link has received, if its been retweeted, and any other sources pointing to that same destination link. You can easily see this information by going to the info+ page for a link. Just put a + (plus) sign at the end of a link to get the detailed analytics for the link like so http://bit.ly/dxHiV4+ to get that extra information.
You can also get a general click summary of traffic for your links if you switch to the Manage tab at the top of the bit.ly site. Then click on the little pie chart to land on the click summary page. This tells you your clicks per day, referring domains, traffic origins, and some details about the last two.
For more info about the changes to bit.ly and the features I didn’t cover with the fugu release take the bit.ly tour.