When you are sharing anything online other than your thoughts, chances are you are ending up sharing a source, a link. That link can look pretty hideous and long.
Think of special characters like brackets or dashes and 50 or more characters in a single line!
So, in order for the link to seem more attractive AND you to be able to share it easier, you can use link shortening services.
A popular link shortening service is bit.ly and in fact, you can start using it for free right now.
How do these link shortening services work?
It’s really simple.
You select the long and ugly link you want to share to the world, you paste it in their online software and voila, you got yourself a shortened, snappy link.
However, the link still looks gibberish. It’s a random mix of letters and numbers, although a short one.
Some link shortening services offer custom made vanity links, which allows us to pick the name of the link.
For example, if I want to link to this book, I would probably pick bit.ly/toolsoftitans
The problem is that these custom URLs come at a price. At a very expensive price.
Don’t despair, there are alternatives.
Alternatives to Bit.ly
One of them is geni.us service, which I found out by a recent video of Kraig Adams.
Now, very recently he talked about why he switched from bit.ly. it’s the same reason why I have now an account with geni.us as well.
They help a lot in marketing and promoting Amazon products, by automatically redirecting people to their closest Amazon store.
So, let’s say I create a link for this Logitech mouse to the Amazon site in US. Then people from UK who click on it will be directed to the British Amazon site and should they buy it, I’ll still get the commission, despite linking to the American site originally.
I ran into the problem I talked earlier, though. I cannot pick my favorite custom link, even when signing up for the 99 dollar per month plus plan.
As you’ve probably seen, I have a dedicated domain for my shortened links. I wanted to keep using that with Geni.us. After lot of chatting with their customer service, it turns out that for the time being, I cannot choose a custom url that another user has already registered.
So, if I wanted to create that book link, I wouldn’t be able, unless I used a modified version, since the links are case sensitive.
Enter Yours URL shortener, an open source shortening software.
I have that installed on the server of my link shortening domain I mentioned earlier.
Given it runs on my server, I get to pick any url I want. For instance, I link to my YouTube channel by simply picking the YouTube word!
So now, I’ve set up my own link shortening service on my own domain and server and when I want to link to an Amazon product, I first create the link at genius and then link to that from my own domain, picking a relevant keyword.
The catch is that you need to have some programming skills…. Or acquire them in order to install the free source link shortener!
Since the shortener doesn’t require lots of resources, I manually built a server at Digitalocean.com and installed the software there.
The total annual cost of running my own personal link shortening service?
$100 for Geni.us Core plan, 60 bucks for the server and about 25 for the domain, since it’s the expensive .co extension.
Now, I can keep on creating links as I wish AND make the most of Amazon affiliate links by using the geni.us service.
I’ll link to all the services I mentioned in the video’s description and… Guess what, they are affiliate links that have been shortened as I described in this video!