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Bit.ly is a web link shortening service. The website has not been long in existence but has already become a highly visited destination on the web. Alexa traffic research has calculated a 60% increase in popularity over the last three months. This popularity surge could partly be due to its prominence on microblogging sites such as Twitter.com. It sees most of it traffic from the United States but also receives a 7% user share from the United Kingdom.
My attention was first brought to Bit.ly through Twitter. As "tweets" are restricted to 140 characters per post, the sending of long web links is not only impractical but it can even be impossible. Google Maps is notorious for having lengthy missives for links which can span up to or beyond 186 characters. This sort of web link would not be allowed in a character sensitive space and must be delivered through other means or shortened. Bit.ly provides an easy to use service for situations such as this.
Bit.ly is very minimalistic in design. At the top of the page is a field for inputting the original link and clicking "Shorten" will execute the appropriate action. A new back door link is then created and presented to the user which can be substituted in place of the original web link. Any users who subsequently click on to the provided Bit.ly link will be redirected to the original link and its content. Upon testing, my former 186 character Google Map link was shortened to a web link which only required 20 characters. Needless to say this is much more convenient in a restricted space and I'm even able to include a short description regarding the link in my message.
As there is very little content to the website it is very quick to load. Independent testing suggests that 3.4 seconds are required to load 265 KB when using a broadband connection. I find this to be very fast and Bit.ly always meets my needs within moments. The speeds remain consistent throughout the website and I haven't experienced any sort of error or slowdown.
Overall, Bit.ly is my preferred web link shortener. The service offers even shorter links than its main competitor in TinyURL.com, and is very suitable for any savvy Twitter user or users of a similar character restricted environment. I would happily recommend this website without hesitation.
bit.ly is a URL-shortening website much like tinyurl.com or ow.ly. It enables you to create shorter, easier to remember website addresses and is very useful for people like myself who use Twitter a lot.
For instance, say I want to post a link to:
This is a pretty long URL (69 characters) and would take up a lot of my 140 Twitter characters.
Using but.ly, I can shorten the link to:
This bit.ly link is only 20 characters and is thus much better for using on space-concious sites like Twitter.
You'll also see bit.ly links used in magazines where space is also a premium.
I've been using bit.ly quite a lot lately and I must say that it's a very impressive tool. Users have the option to create their own account at the site which is free and easy to do.
Once signed-up, you'll see that bit.ly tracks all of the links you've created, telling you how many people have clicked on the link, which platform they came from (ie, the Twitter site, typed in or a Twitter client) and where in the world they're located. It even tracks the clicks down to the actual time they were accessed and displays it all on a lovely graph for you to analyse.
bit.ly is totally free to use and the site itself is beautifully designed - something which can't be said for tinyurl.com.