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How to: Use your OWN short URL like the pros (and me)

This post originated from ryanerickson.com.

There have recently been some major changes in my online world but one of the biggest was my adventure of trying to find the best short URL service for me. There are, without a doubt, a plethora of choices (well over 100) in the space but for me I had a specific want: I wanted to be able to use my own. This is where I thought it was going to get hard… instead I found it to be rather easy.

First thing you’ll need, of course, is a URL of your very own. For me I’m now using my 1790.us domain as my short URL… what better way to show support for the Coast Guard (confused? Google it!). However, if you’re stuck trying to figure out what the best domain to use is might I suggest the services of Domainr; a service touted by both dlvr.it and bit.ly of which I’ll discuss below. In short Domainr is a suggestion engine designed to give you examples of short URL’s based on the word you choose. For example I put USCG in the engine and indeed I can purchase the rockin’ domain of us.cg… if I wanted to pay $450 a year. I don’t. But it’s a great example of what you can do. So if you don’t have one go there first! (And let me know if you’d like to fork over the money for me to use said domain.)

Next is how to use that domain as your short URL. There are several avenues you can take but I’m only showing the two I’ve successfully used here. Even with these two it’ll all depend on what you’re using your URL for.

If you’re looking to primarily push a blog or two out into the world using your new URL then might I suggest using the dead simple services of dlvr.it. All you need is an RSS feed and a social network or two to send your url’s to and you’re on your way.

After setting up your account click on the ‘Setting’ in the top-middle of the page and click on ‘Short Links.’ In there you can set up one free URL (click on the question-mark for the how to or write me). For your routing I’d also suggest that you use ping.fm to spread the posts which works well with dlvr.it. Really it’s a lot like using twitterfeed (my previous post on that) only better.

Now if you’re looking for more control and versatility in using your new URL I’d suggest using the services of bit.ly. bit.ly is already one of the most used services in the space and it’s easy to see why. But did you know that they have a Pro and Enterprise version? I’ll let you in on a little secret though- the “Pro” version is free (go here to sign up). This is the service I’m now using; as it’s bit.ly it’s already integrated into many products we all use. For example I use Seesmic (desktop and Android) which will automatically convert my links to 1790.us/xxxxx. In fact my friend Christiaan Conover just set his up as well using the clever domain of cnvr.cc.

And if your a WordPress user this gets even better. Using a mix of the bit.ly API and a (rockin’) plugin called Shorten2Ping by Samuel Aguilera you can have your new posts automatically posted through ping.fm using your personal (and I’m sure clever) short URL. So now instead of people trying to read:

New Coast Guard PSA comes under fire… for being the truth? [Opinion]: http://ryanerickson.com/2010/10/01/new-coast-guard-psa-comes-under-fire-for-being-the-truth-opinion/

They’d see-

New Coast Guard PSA comes under fire… for being the truth? [Opinion]: http://1790.us/aMnJcA

Pretty sweet ‘eh? And the best part of this is- it’s all free (minus the cost of the domain name of course). So start hunting- the short ones go quick!

If you’ve got something to add- please do.

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