Create Your Own Custom URL Shortener for Free

Share

You probably heard of bit.ly as one of the most popular URL shorteners and you’ve probably used it some. But wouldn’t it be cool if you had your own custom URL shortener!?

Something like http://brankica.me/oisblog

Well that is easy and I will show  you how to do it in less than a minute!

First, you will need a domain name you will use as a shortener. I used the brankica.me I scored a few days ago. You can use anything, just make sure it is not some long domain name. For example, if I was a Canadian citizen, I would have bought branki.ca.

So think of variations you can use, your blog name shortened, etc. I decided to go with my name because I want to use it for all of my sites and social media and I thought it sounds cool (plus I could not think of something short and cool).

When you get the domain name, go to bit.ly and log in. Go to Settings and then Advanced.

setting up custom shortener

Once there, choose the link in this option at the top of the page:

bit.ly custom URL settings

It will be tiny bit different for you (mine is already set up). Click on the link and in the next window you will be able to add the URL you want to use as your custom shortener.

When you add it, hit the button and bit.ly will give you a number you need to put in your domain name DNS record, instead of the one you already have there. It won’t be hard, when  you look at your domain info, there is only one number that looks similar – replace it with the one bit.ly gave you. Save changes.

Go back to bit.ly and click Verify so they can see if it is working. It took me literally about a minute to set this all up!

When you are done, make sure your new URL is set up as a default like mine is in the image above.

Shorten your links now, you are done!

Why would you do this?

Well besides the links being pretty, they can help you in branding. People notice small things like these, I know I notice every time someone has a custom URL. So why not, it will only cost you the domain name, and if you have some, it may not cost you anything.

The bit.ly service is free for this so why not use it :)

Do you already have a custom URL shortener?

Extra tips and blog updates
Receive extra tips and updates straight to your inbox

Comments

  1. Hey Brankica,

    I don’t have my own URL shortener yet but man, you really motivated to create one NOW!

    As for the domain you mentioned “branki.ca” I think that would be totally cool!

    And oh crap… serg.io is already taken! :(

    Anyway, so cool you decided to publish this, I have been wanting to do this for a while now so I guess it is time.

    Thanks and great job with the simplistic yet very helpful article! ;-)

    Sergio
    Sergio Felix recently posted..Dean Holland’s Quick Start ChallengeMy Profile

    • Brankica says:

      Glad I can help, every amazing great marketer needs a special shortener so you better finish this fast ;)

  2. I never thought that I can customized url shortener using my own name.
    thanks for the tips. I will try it soon.
    Thanks again, I plan on reading, comprehending and wrapping my head around all of this.

    • Brankica says:

      You are welcome :) You don’t have to use your name though, you can use anything you like, it was just easiest for me to figure it out this way. Depending on the site and the goal of your shortener, you can come up with a lot of great ideas, like NY time is using nyti.ms if I am not mistaking :)

  3. That’s great advice. I have been using several url shorteners, like bit.ly and goo.gl but I haven’t created my own custom yet. I have thought about adding one (a script) to my domain (the one where my blog is, in order to drive traffic to the blog) – but using bit.ly is probably a lot better :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing it. I had no idea that it was possible to use bit.ly like this.
    Jens P. Berget recently posted..How Being Bored Helped Me Discover My True Purpose in LifeMy Profile

    • Brankica says:

      Yup, and the best part is that all you have to do is add the domain to bitty and change one little number. Doesn’t get easier than that :)

  4. That’s a great idea! I’m just curious – did you see if branki.ca was available? That would make it even shorter. :)
    Kristi Hines recently posted..A Look at the Changes from Google Places to Google+ LocalMy Profile

    • Brankica says:

      Actually it is, but it is asking for a Canadian citizen to register the domain, it is limited :(

  5. hey Pit!

    what do you think of Pretty Link? I use that plugin and has been working great so far

    • I don’t like plugins that do things like that cause I had one break and I had to go and manually change each affiliate link on my blog. We are talking hundreds.

      But this is a different story actually, I shorten my affiliate links with PHP and they have the same domain name as my blog. This shortening is for short links for social media mostly. I don’t use if for affiliate links.

  6. It might sound stupid but what are you going to do with that short domain? Are you going to redirect your visitors to your main site or you can use it for your WordPress site?
    Bob R recently posted..The best WordPress Theme for SEOMy Profile

  7. Personally I prefer the Pretty Links WP plugin which does the same job. The problem with bit.ly and others like it is that they are hosted on a third party site over which you have no control and furthermore visitors clicking on those links often get redirected to a warning page suggesting they might be unwise to go any further which is not helpful if you were shortening an affiliate link.
    Jon recently posted..Empower Network Affiliate’s SPAM Email MarketingMy Profile

    • They are actually two different things, Pretty Links shortens your affiliate links and has your domain name in them, right… like mydomain.com/go/affiliate

      As far as the warning, it happens when you link to Clickbank but why would you use this custom shortener to shorten affiliate links when you can do it with your own blog?

  8. Brankica,
    Thanks so much for this! I’ve often wondered how people have created their custom URL but I’ve never taken the time to research it. Thanks to you, I’m now using the keepupweb.com domain name that I reserved years ago. Since keepupweb is my Twitter ID I think that makes sense for building my brand. This was so quick and easy!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

  9. I love simple and easy! It took me a bit more than 5 minutes but less than 15 and I’ve got a brand new shortener!! Thanks so much for the info. All this little stuff is awesome from a branding standpoint.

  10. Mike Jones says:

    That’s great advice. I have been using several url shorteners, like bit.ly and goo.gl but I haven’t created my own custom yet. I have thought about adding one (a script) to my domain (the one where my blog is, in order to drive traffic to the blog) – but using bit.ly is probably a lot better :)

  11. Hey Pit,

    This was really helpful!! Thank you! I really had to think hard to find something short and cool to use (that wasn’t all ready taken). I followed your beautiful instructions and VOILA!! it worked in literally no-time!

    I settled on http://www.catwins.me (because I like to WIN)! lol It’s a little bit cheesy, I’m sure, but maybe I’m a bit cheesy come to think of it…

    Thanks for another super cool tip to make life easier and business more branded! You rock! :D

    Cat
    Cat Alexandra recently posted..Seacret Direct: Retail to MLM Dream Come True (A Seacret Direct Review)My Profile

  12. Thats very simple!
    I thought it might take long time so I left it.
    Now your post made it very simple.
    Thanks,
    :)
    khaja moin recently posted..4 Tips to Do While Writing a Blog PostMy Profile

  13. Hi Brankica,

    Thanks for this post, I didn’t even know this option existed. I have a question that I am hoping you could help me with. I am trying to make my custom short domain as the default, but I can’t seem to do it.

    I’ve looked all over bit.ly’s site and tried Googling the answer, but I can’t seem to find it.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hey TB, it is only a little dropdown menu, if it isn’t “taking” the changes maybe it is a glitch on their part and you should check with their support? I just added the domain and selected it from the drop down.

  14. Hey Brankica,

    I was looking for a URL shortener that is not considered spam and stumbled upon your blog!

    I had PLG on one of my sites and tried to get it installed on a different one and somehow I messed the entire site up, so now I need something else. This looks like it might do the trick.

    Thanks!
    Linda
    Linda recently posted..Using Pinterest To Generate Sales/Traffic To Your SiteMy Profile