Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is a URL shortener and why should you use one?

When I am speaking to groups about easy ways that analytics can be used within social media posts I notice that I get the deer in the headlight look when I talk about URL shorteners. I would like to take a few minutes and explain what a URL shortener is and why you should be using them when you are sharing URL's on your social media sites.

A URL shortener service takes your very long URL ( and creates a shorter clickable link ( that takes the reader to the original longer link without them knowing the difference. There are many benefits to using a URL shortener including giving you the ability to track how many people are actually clicking on the links that you are providing to your audience. Have you ever posted something on your Facebook profile and nobody has clicked like? You are not alone. When I learned about shorteners a few years ago I began to use them on my Facebook profile page and was amazed at how many people were not necessarily engaging with a post but they were clicking on it. When I found out my audience was reading but not commenting on my posts I was able to determine how to re-word them to facilitate more engagement.

Another benefit of using a shortener is that mobile users can easily cut and paste your link to their notes applications or into an email. Studies show that if you make things super easy for people they are more apt to complete an action. Additionally, when you use a URL shortener you won't have any problems on Twitter if you want to Tweet out your link. Since you only have 140 characters to work with it's imperative that you have as much room as you can to get your message out and if you don't shorten a link you won't be able to talk about it much.

Now that I have your interest in using URL shorteners, the next logical step is to figure out how to shorten your links, right? is my favorite resource to accomplish shortening and tracking your URL for free. Snoop around their site and play with all of the features. It's very easy to paste your long link and copy the new shortened link to any social media platform. They also have a mobile app so that you can see analytics for your links on your phone.

Now that you've had a crash course in URL shorteners, you should have enough information to be slightly dangerous. It really doesn't take but a few minutes to shorten your links and the benefits of doing so are measurable and worth your time. Try using a shortener. At the very least you won't feel so bad when it seems like nobody is reading your posts - I think you'll be surprised when you find out that they actually are!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get started now with Google+ to build your platform

Let's just be honest. Google will eventually run the world, if it isn't close to doing so already. Since we are all probably in agreement with this, then why aren't you actively working on your Google+ profile and building your Google+ community?

Maybe you think that building your Facebook page is sufficient. Or getting 100k followers on Twitter is the key to building a successful platform. Think again. About 82% of people searching for information are using Google to find what they are looking for. If you are actively working your Google+ page and community, who do you think is going to pop up if you are presenting yourself and your information consistently on Google+? Let me answer that question if you haven't already: YOU!

It's really hard to discover new people or businesses on Facebook unless their page is promoted by an ad or suggested by a friend. Why pay to increase discoverability when you can get it for free on Google+? A quarter of my followers are from every corner of the world and they would have never found me on Facebook. We can chat, share, and video conference for free. You may be thinking, "What about the language barrier?" There isn't one! When they post on my page, Google asks me if I want it translated. Why of course I do!

If you have integrated Google+ Authorship on your blog or website a picture of you will come up you when people are searching for a topic you have written about. This increases trust and like ability on the subconscious level. If you are a business and using Google maps then customers will see you before they see your competitors. Google+ is linked to YouTube, so if you have videos uploaded regarding your book, business, or whatever you are trying to sell then you will have increased visibility with the Google+ and YouTube integration.

There are so many things that are beneficial about being on Google+. Don't get overwhelmed with all of the social networks. Take the time to learn about each one and what the benefits are to using them. Trust me when I tell you that you must get on Google+ now. I promise you will thank me later when you have a large community and your platform has grown exponentially. Then maybe you can rule the world. Just like Google.

Check out this cool info graphic for Google+ beginners used with permission from:

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