So there I was, shrinking another URL in bit.ly and I saw a mention of bitly.pro. I had seen it a while back, but then it disappeared, and there it was again. It wasn’t an easy process as I am not yet a fully certified web geek, but with some help and that dreaded word ‘patience’ I made it through. Before I go into a step-by-step guide, you may be wondering why on earth I need a short URL. Well in short (sorry!) I don’t really, but I do like a challenge. The official reasons behind having one are:
- Every time you copy a URL, it will be shortened, but instead of bit.ly/xxx appearing it will be (in my case) chrisr.at/xxx
- You get a real-time view of how your links are being spread across twitter/facebook etc.
Here is the step-by-step guide…
1. Go to bitly.pro and sign up to get an account. If it is still there, it is by invitation, so you may require some patience (if you are holding a ‘patience’ sweep stake, this is number 2!).
2. In the mean time, there is nothing stopping you getting your own vanity, sorry I mean short URL. I used the extremely easy-to-use domainr. Head over, type in a keyword such as your web address and it will suggest available short URLs and even better, the places where you can go and register them with. My preferred web host is GoDaddy they are very reliable, and you can get 10% off with this link!
3. Once you have done that, and you have got our invite from Bitly.pro, you are ready to go. And here is where you need to have some patience. I didn’t do the above in the order I recommended. I got the invite, then registered, and one thing I have found is that online, nothing is quick! Next step is to head back into Bitly.pro. In there, you will be given instructions on how to verify your accounts. It looks a bit like this:
Now, here to the first of the warnings. Ensure you change the record of the short URL, not your own website URL – it is almost as if I don’t need to mention it(!).
Head into your short URL domain records and amend the A Record to 126.96.36.199. When you have finished, it should look something like this:
The important thing is that you need to make sure that you set the A Record to @ and then put the IP address in. Otherwise it just doesn’t work.
4. Next you will be asked to verify your tracking domain. For me that was chrisrat.com. To do this, you have three options. To put a chunk of html into your home page (difficult with a blog), download an html file and upload it so that it is available in your public directory, and the third was to do with the CNAME (although I can’t remember the last one as I did the html file…
So, download the html file to your hard drive. And this next bit is important. The file is in a zip…unpack the zip before you upload it again. Inside the zip file is the html that you need plus the readme. Once you have unpacked it, then upload it into your website/blog as part of the public_html section. It can’t be within a folder, it must be the html file on it’s own.
5. Go back into bitly.pro and click on ‘verify’. If you have done everything you need to (and have had the patience to wait between actions so that the interwebs catch up), it should verify pretty quickly.
6. Sorry, but you have to wait again. Once it has been verified, it looks as if you will be able to shorten the URL’s with your shortened URL at the beginning, but for the first 24 hours, the link will work for some, and not for others.
7. You should now be done. I have to say I got a tad frustrated, and it showed really how impatient I am (plus I have to say thank you to Rex at bitly.pro for his unerring patience with me – but we got there in the end!