Part of personal branding is using a domain name that includes your personal name. This is key in ensuring that your knowledge and strength carries through from project to project, and isn’t harbored within the blog of a single company. In today’s limited world of 140 characters on Twitter, and other limits of microblogging, having a short URL is critical in making sure the URL you reference doesn’t take up your whole tweet — leaving room for commentary or a h/t. In light of the theory of personal branding, having a personal short URL is becoming just as critical as that long domain with your entire domain. Since 2009, bitly has powered short URLs that help maintain the brand of the Gates Foundation (gat.es), Diddy (diddy.it), and even South Park Studios (cart.mn).
These services were offered as part of the bitly Pro package, where the brand purchased the short URL and bought into the pro account package of bitly to power their unique short URLS. Now, anyone can use this service for free, as bitly Pro’s features are now a part of a normal bitly account. On the bitly blog, they explain to set this feature up, “Just register the short domain of your choosing, point it to our servers, and hook it up to your bitly account at http://bitly.com/a/account or by selecting “Settings” from the drop-down menu under your username.” bitly recommends looking to domai.nr and 101domain for ideas for short domains and information on where they can be purchased.
At bitly.com, you can log in in with your existing bitly account (or create one) and select the short domain you would like to use. You can also choose your default short domain here, which will affect not only links created on bitly.com but also links you create with third party clients you use with your bitly account. bitly will then track your links, as normal, at bitly.com for your analysis. The great part about this new feature is that the ability to use your own short URL with bitly is free — you just have to pay for your own domain, of course.
Will you use bitly to create your own short URL? Or will you stick with a more generic short domain when you need a shorter link? Let us know what you think of bitly’s new feature in the comments.