The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Shortlinks

Websites aren’t for the faint of heart are they.

Between the hosting and the setup, you’ve been run ragged.

You eventually got past that and wrote your first post.  You crafted magnificent prose.  Gave it a killer title.  And now you want to share it.

But all the SEO gurus, and that whiny SEO plugin insist on a long URL with your title and keywords in it.

And now you’re trying to listen to the other gurus and share your content with the world.  But the URL is too long and looks ugly.

 

Been there.  Done that.

Fortunately, I have a solution for you.  Shortlinks.

 

What is a Shortlink?

Shortlinks are alternative URLs to your posts.  Their key feature is that they are… well… short.  Shortlinks are short links.  You’ve got to love descriptive names like that.

 

They serve two primary purposes.

  1. To obey character limits without sacrificing content (*cough Twitter cough*).
  2. To make it easy for someone to type or write down.

 

Those long URLs recommended by SEO pros are good for search engines and pleasant to read.  But they’re bad for usability.

Shortlinks are easy to use, and forward to the long URL.  Giving you the best of both worlds.

 

Where Can I Get a Shortlink?

There are a number of websites and services devoted to shortlink creation.

My favorites are:

  1. Bit.ly
  2. Goo.gl
  3. TinyURL

But there are a lot more than that.

Most of these sites simply require you to copy and paste your long URL in a text field and click a button.  They then return a shortened version of the link.  Like this:

http://tweetthis.jtmorris.net/posts/beginners-guide-to-wordpress-shortlinks

Run through the bit.ly website gives

http://bit.ly/1zlwCpv

 

Much shorter.  Much easier to type or write down if needed.

Following that short URL redirects you directly to the long URL.

Try it yourself.  Find a long URL and shorten it.

 

Can I Automate Shortlink Creation?

Absolutely!  In fact, WordPress already includes a mechanism for automatic shortlink creation.

If you go to the edit page on a published post and look right above the editor, you should see a “Get Shortlink” button.  Click it and a shortlink will display.

The problem is, by default, WordPress uses your normal domain name and simply shortens the rest of the URL (the permalink).

http://tweetthis.jtmorris.net/post/using-tweet-this/

becomes

http://tweetthis.jtmorris.net/?p=32

That is certainly shorter.  And if your domain name is short, that might work.  But if you have a long domain name, it’s not much better.

Fortunately, there are numerous plugins available that will customize the shortlink even more.

 

Shortlink Plugin #1: JetPack

JetPack is a fantastic WordPress plugin.  It packs a ton of functionality and improvements into one well-made package.

One of the improvements is automatic shortlink creation using the wp.me domain.  Simply install JetPack and activate the WP.me Shortlinks module under settings.

Your shortlinks will now use wp.me.

wp-me-shortlink

 

Shortlink Plugin #2: WP Bitly

I only recently discovered the WP Bitly plugin, but it is my new favorite shortlink plugin.

 

If you have a Bit.ly account (and you should because it’s awesome), this plugin integrates your WordPress install with your Bit.ly account.  All published posts will get a Bit.ly shortlink.

wp-bitly-shortlink

This plugin also works with custom shortlink domains, which I’ll discuss momentarily.

 

There’s a bit more setup required than JetPack’s shortlink module, and you’ll need a Bit.ly account, but the plugin and Bit.ly website have good instructions to guide you along.

 

Can I Use a Custom Shortlink Domain?

Yes.  You can purchase and use a custom domain name.

Usually shortlink domains are related to the personal or professional brand they are associated with.

tweetthis.jtmorris.net could become twths.ly for example.

If you’re lucky, you can make some clever word play with the top-level domain (top-level domains are the .com, .net, .me, .ly, et cetera).

The social media management service Hootsuite, whose mascot is an owl, creates shortlinks using the ow.ly domain.  The New York Times uses nyti.ms.  TechCrunch uses tcrn.ch.

A website like Domai.nr can help search for available shortlink domains.  Once you’ve found one, you can then purchase the domain through a reputable registrar.

 

Purchasing a Domain

You’re probably already familiar with domain names as you needed one to setup your website.  You can, and probably should, use a similar procedure to purchase your short domain.

If you bought it through your hosting provider, look to add another domain to your account.

If you used a different registrar, use the same one.

 

If don’t already have one, and need a domain name provider, I currently use Namecheap.com.  I couldn’t be happier.  Their prices are reasonable, their selection is superb, and domain purchasing and management is simple.  I highly recommend them.

F.Y.I:  If you purchase a domain or other product from Namecheap using the link I provided, I will receive a small commission.  However, my endorsement of their service would still stand without affiliate benefits.

 

So purchase a clever domain name that is short, and reflects your brand.

 

Once you’ve found and purchased your domain, you’ll need to configure WordPress to use it.

 

Custom Shortlink Domain Configuration

There are several plugins available that address this need.  I used to use a plugin called Custom Shortlink Domain.  It was very simple and worked perfectly.  There are several similar plugins available.

However, I’ve since moved to using the previously mentioned WP Bitly plugin, and it can use custom domain names.

 

The custom domain gets configured on the Bit.ly website in your account settings.  Their website explains the procedure nicely.  Once your settings are configured, the WP Bitly plugin will generate shortlinks using your custom domain name.

wp-bitly-custom-shortlink

 

Using Shortlinks With the Tweet This Plugin

Once you have configured WordPress’ shortlink, telling Tweet This to use it is a cinch.  Simply visit the Tweet This settings page and choose “Yes” next to “Use Shortlink?” and save the settings.

Tweet This Settings - URL Settings

And that’s all there is to it.  From that point forward, all automatically generated Tweet This URLs will use your shortlink format.

However, be aware that most shortlink customization plugins do not create shortlinks until your post is published.  If you’re using one of them, Tweet This will insert placeholder shortlinks until the post is published.

 

If you have any questions about shortlinks or how Tweet This uses them, let me know.  I’ll be happy to help.

6 Comments


  1. Great article although am having one problem.
    I’m using Jetpack for the shortlinks wp.me. They are created above each post in the editor, however I have publicize turned on using Jetpack for some social networks. The shortlinks being created using Jetpack are not automatically used when each post is published to the different connected social streams. The long permalinks are still be used. Obviously, this defeats the point of creating the shortlinks in the first place. How can I fix this so that the shortlinks are automatically used in the publicizing of posts?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Doug

    Reply

    1. I have the same problem. Both Jetpack Publicize and the Social Media Auto Publish plugin use the long permalink. Did you find a solution?

      Reply

  2. Nice article . Thenk s for the links:)

    Reply

  3. RE:The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Shortlinks – Tweet This НПП Валок Крановые и трамвайные колёса

    Reply

  4. http://www.bus-kudowa.pl/transport-zwierzat-w-samochodzie
    Shopping for a new or used vehicle can be quite a hard approach unless you know what you are actually carrying out. By teaching yourself about automobile shopping prior to deciding to visit the car dealership, you can make stuff less difficult yourself. The following tips might help your following buying trip be pleasurable.

    Constantly take a mechanic along when looking for a brand new vehicle. Car retailers are notorious for marketing lemons and you do not want to be their next victim. Whenever you can not obtain a auto mechanic to check out vehicles along, at least make sure that you have him evaluate your final choice before you purchase it.

    Know your limitations. Before you start shopping for your next auto or pickup truck, make a decision how much you can manage to pay out, and stay with it. Don’t neglect to add fascination with your calculations. You are likely to pay out all around 20 % as a payment in advance also, so be prepared.

    Before seeing a dealer, know what kind of automobile you would like. Investigation all you choices before store shopping in order to figure out what works for your financial budget and family members requires. Seek information to learn exactly how much you should pay for any probable vehicle.

    Before signing any commitment take time to study each series, for example the small print. If there is nearly anything listed that you do not recognize, do not indicator before you purchase an respond to that you simply comprehend. Unsavory salesmen can make use of a legal contract to put many costs which were not mentioned.

    When you keep your preceding suggestions at heart the next time that you go looking for a auto, you will certainly be very likely to get a full offer. Investing in a auto does not have to become a headaches. Use the ideas from this post and you will get the vehicle you would like with a great cost.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*