Amid yesterday’s comments about my announcement of a domain I bought to shorten web addresses, Leo noticed http://hzg.bz redirected to http://bit.ly and wondered why I didn’t use a WordPress plugin instead.
What’s Leo babbling about, you ask?
Well, in May 2009, I wrote about using the WordTwit plugin — which I kept active for over a year. It allowed me to publish any blog post on this site and automatically create a short URL with this blog’s domain, e.g. http://ariherzog.com/blog/q3BY56.
But two issues arose for me. First, I wanted to get around having a plugin load everytime you brought up a blog post of mine. The more plugins a page loads, the slower it takes. Second, I wanted to use a domain with less characters than the 21 of http://ariherzog.com/blog/.
After shopping around different letter patterns and top level domain codes, I settled on the 14 of http://hzg.bz/. Seven characters saved allows you to add a word when retweeting me.
Enter Bit.ly Pro
I’d been using a Firefox bookmarklet for many months to share long website links on Twitter and in email messages.
After creating a bit.ly account, the bookmarklet enabled me to copy and paste a long URL, click a button, and see the resulting short URL with http://bit.ly/ at the beginning. Something like http://bit.ly/cTtcyF which points to http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com/2010/09/perspective.html. Make sense?
But until I learned about the launch of a second tier service that allowed web publishers to use short URLs as secondary domains to point people to their primary sites, I never considered anything other than bit.ly. I never considered branding myself and buying something like http://hzg.bz.
Jed Sundwall inspired me with his usage of http://jed.io when sharing links.
The requirements by bit.ly are simple:
The custom short domain necessary for use with bitly.Pro must be a dedicated domain that:
* you own
* where you can manage the DNS settings
* has 15 or fewer characters, including .’s (less is more, see our guidance)
* all traffic can be handled by bit.ly (ie. a domain not already for your website)
Done, done, done, and done.
I wasted no time and signed up for the pro service (it didn’t cost a penny) and waited to get approved. That took a few days, expedited with a tweet to one of their developers.
Following the resulting confirmatory email, I edited my new domain’s DNS settings and created an A-Record with a specific IP address that pointed to bit.ly’s server.
Now, the bookmarklet still works but instead of auto-populating shortened links with http://bit.ly/, it uses http://hzg.bz/ and my short URL is merely powered by bit.ly.
Tune into the next blog post in this series to learn how I combined the bit.ly pro service with a second service to create the Twitter box below.
Got any questions in the meantime?