How to: Setup and use a short URL with your blog (updated)

This is a cross post from ryanerickson.com.

This is an update to my “how-to” for using a short URL (or any URL) with your favorite blogging platform and a multitude of social networks. In my last post on the subject I was making use of a the plugin ‘Shorten2Ping’ by Samuel Aguilera; well, I’m sorry to say that said plugin is no longer working (though in an adhoc mode yes) with the Ping.fm service as I touted before. So it was time to find another way.

My specific requirements for this to work can’t be that far from what most want:

1. Use the short domain/URL of my choice;
2. Have it push my site to the social networks that my friends use;
3. Be able to use my short URL to shorten other links; and
4. Not hard to use!

Never-fear as I’ve found a user friendly way of doing the deeds listed. You too can now push your posts from your WordPress (or Blogger, or anything with an RSS feed) blog to your favorite social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) all for free! Well nearly free; if you want to use a custom domain such as I (ryn.cc) then it’ll cost you the price of the domain.

You’ll recall in my last post I made use of the Bit.ly Pro service (which is FREE), dlvr.it, and Ping.fm. Well this one is similar to that but instead of using them individually I’m using them together- and dropping the use of the plugin.

We’ll keep this in some sort of order…

First you’ll need your domain (you can also use the default bit.ly or dlvr.it names). For me I’m now using the domain of ryn.cc (I still have 1790.us as well) for the short URL associated with my personal site at ryanerickson.com. There’s two ways of going about finding your shorty; 1) go to your favorite domain registering site (e.g. GoDaddy) and begin the hunt (it’s actually what I did this time); or 2) check out the site Domainr which is really just a short domain name search engine that works.

Second on the list is to get your Bit.ly Pro account set up. As mentioned before it’s actually free (sign up here) and only sounds expensive. After doing that you’ll have to wait about a week (I waited 4 days) to get approved; however, it might be a little faster now. Once that’s all done head on over to dlv.it.

Third on the list- we’ll set up our dlvr.it (deliver it) account. This too is free, just follow the link above, sign up, and you’re ready to set up.

Last thing to do is set up your Ping.fm account; add all the sites you want to send notices to. Oh and be sure to go into the setting and ensure you’re not using their short URL service (unless you want to) otherwise using your new short URL won’t make a difference as they’ll just change yours to theirs. Done? Now we wait…

And for a ‘lil FYI: I’m not going to get into all of the settings here, sorry. But if you need help don’t hesitate to ask.

Four, or so, days later…

Ok, now that we’ve patiently waited for bit.ly to get back to us it’s time to set it all up. First, head on over to bit.ly and go to your “setting” page. There you should see a new section that lets you add your new domain to their shortening services for free. There is some back-end tinkering to your domains servers that’ll have to be done so I hope you’ve got access. If not, well, you shouldn’t be doing this anyway.

Next we need to set up dlvr.it; again I’m not getting into the nitty gritty of this part but I’m here if you need help. So first set up your “route” as they call it. This will be the RSS feed of your site (or whatever) that’ll be pulled to send out your notifications. From here you need to set up a “destination.” This ideally will be the Ping.fm account you’ve already set up otherwise you can pick any number of destinations. Just remember if you choose to send it to FB (or others) and Ping.fm, and you’ve added FB (or others) to your Ping.fm account it’ll double post and that’s bad. Baby birds die every time you double post to Twitter you know.

Now under the “settings” link above (click it) you need to go to your “Short Links” settings. Leave the “Manage your short links” area alone for now. On the right-hand side of this page, halfway down, you’ll see a “Want to use bit.ly or bit.ly pro?” question. Of course we do, why else are we here?! Click the “Add your bit.ly account.” link and add your key (from your bit.ly setting page), username, and check the other options you want. Save it, and you should be now using dlv.it with your bit.ly domain! Make sure you click on the default radio button under the “Manage your short links” area to ensure you’re using your domain.

So now we’ve got both bit.ly and dlvr.it set up (you’ve already set up Ping.fm right?). The next thing is to publish something to your RSS feed that dlvr.it will use to publish. And that’s it!

Now just so you know you can skip the bit.ly Pro part and just set it all up using Ping.fm and dlvr.it; however, by using bit.ly you can use their shortening services with programs like Seesmic and a few WordPress plugins. Yes you can use dlvr.it to shorten but there aren’t many API apps out there yet that make use of dlvr.it. Nor do they allow you to see what your short URL will be until after your stuff is published.

Let me know if you have any Q’s as I’m more than happy to help where able. Cheers!

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