When promoting your books, of course you want to include links to your website, blog and various social media platforms. Sometimes – such as with a paperback – you have to write out those links. Often those links have really long addresses or you end up with a list of links that looks like alphabet and number soup.
The solution is to use a link shortener.
A link shortener creates a new, briefer URL for your page. Several link shortener services – including TinyURL, Ow.ly, Bit.ly – exist.
The link shortener page is a simple to use. Once you call up the web page for the link shortener service, simply past the long URL into a box that is given. It then will generate a shorter URL that you can copy and paste. For example, using Google’s service (now defunct but the links still work), an Amazon.com page for one of my books (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B51QJA8) became http://goo.gl/h0jQ0A.
Shortening an URL can serve a lot of other purposes than appearing on your paperbacks or business cards. They can be used at Twitter; indeed, they often are shorter than Twitter links generated at your book’s Amazon.com page (as the above example shows). Further, if using social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, your shortened link will show pictures from your book’s web page rather than a generic Amazon.com photo or page. Finally, many of the link shortener services provide analytics services so that you can see how many hits your link receives as well as where those hits comes from.
If you shorten a lot of links, be sure to create a file listing what those links are. This will save you the trouble of shortening links when you’ve previously done so, and having a single list of them will make copying and pasting them easier on future projects you do.