If you are a regular content publisher or you’re looking to enhance your branded appearance online, it would make perfect sense for you to start using a custom branded short URL with Bitly.
In this post I will quickly explain step-by-step how to do so. (FYI, the process is much easier than you might imagine.)
Create a custom branded short URL (3 steps)
1. Research the short domain you want and purchase it. In my personal experience, this step definitely takes the longest. You want to find a domain that is closely relevant to the domain you are shortening with the fewest characters possible. (Bitly requires that your short URL is 15 characters or less.)
I suggest starting your search using the domain search tool Domainr. I recommend a top-level domain (TLD) with two characters. Common examples are .CO, .ME and .US. Refer to Domainr’s favorite TLDs list for additional ideas.
You might be tempted to choose a more unique TLD, which can be a great option for the sake of branding. However, most of these unique TLDs are associated with countries outside the U.S and will probably cost you a pretty penny—anywhere from $50-100 dollars a year. Whereas most .ME or .CO domains are available for less than $20.
Once you have obtained the perfect short URL you can move onto the next step.
2. Point your short domain to Bitly. This process may differ slightly depending on your domain registrar, but generally the process is the same.
It includes editing the existing A record for your domain so that it points to the Bitly IP address, 188.8.131.52. Make sure there is only one A record (the Bitly A record) listed for your domain. Remove all others. The host name for the A record should be the symbol “@” or your base domain, which are one in the same.
Once you’ve updated the A record of your short domain, all that’s left is logging into your Bitly account and telling Bitly about your new domain.
3. Configure your new branded short domain with Bitly.
Sign in to your Bitly account, go to ‘settings’ from the upper right pull-down menu and click on the ‘Advanced’ tab. Under ‘Branded Short Domain’ tell Bitly if you plan to use your Branded Short Domain for personal or business use. Then type your short domain in the text box provided.
Note: you will need to verify your email address to take this step.
If you use Google Chrome, I recommend you install the Bitly Chrome extension so you can quickly create shortlinks and share them from the webpage you’re on.