How to Use Bitly to Collect, Bookmark and Categorize Your Favorite Links
If you're an active social web user, chances are you've seen a hyperlink shared with Bitly -- on the of the web's most popular URL shorteners.
Although most people mainly use it to shorten long links and maybe even track the clicks they receive from sharing them, it can also be used as a powerful social bookmarking tool with a feature called Bitlinks.
Browse through the following slides to find out how you can get started with using Bitlinks and start tracking, collecting and organizing your favorite links.
Sign Up for a Free Bitly Account
If you're just using Bitly as a simple URL shortener, you can paste any long link into the shortening bar on the front page without signing up for an account.
But if you want to use Bitlinks and keep a collection of all your links, you're going to need to sign up. You can sign up for free through Facebook, Twitter or by email.
Bitly also has an iOS app you can use while on the go.
Paste a Link in the Top Bar to Save It
To start saving and collecting links, simply copy any link you want and paste it into the URL shortening bar at the top of the page while signed in to your account.
Bitly refers to any links shortened with its service as Bitlinks. Your Bitlinks are always automatically added to your account, which you should see in the center of the page any time you add a new link.
If you shorten or save a lot of links, you can use the search bar right beneath the shorteneing bar to find a link. You can also use the sorting option in the top right corner to sort your Bitlinks by the date they were created, by the number of clicks they received or by alphabetical order.
When you hover your mouse over any Bitlink, you'll be able todo a number of things like instantly copy the shortened link, share it on Facebook or Twitter, send it by email, set it as Public or Private in your network, add it to a bundle or add some extra notes.
Next, let's look at how Bundles can help you organize your Bitlinks.
Organize Your Bitmarks Using Bundles
You'll always have access to all of your saved Bitlinks in the center area of the page when you're logged in, and you can use the search bar and sorting option to find anything, but if you really want to take advantage of Bitly's powerful bookmarking feature, you should start organizing your Bitlinks using Bundles.
Bundles are simply just collections of Bitlinks, and you can access them any time by clicking on the "Bundles" link in the left sidebar.
Any time you add a new Bitlink, you can click the "Add to bundle" option on any to pull up a list of existing Bundles or to create a new one and add it there.
You can always share the shortened link by copying it from the main page, or by pressing the "Share" button on any of the Bitlinks, but you can also share entire Bundles as well. This may be useful if you have a collection of related stories, but don't want to share them one by one on social networking sites.
Click on "Bundles" in the left sidebar and then click on the Bundle you want to view and maybe share.
Simply choose "Email" or "Share" to share the entire Bundle.
You can also do a lot of other things with your Bundles from this page, like add more Bitlinks, change the order of them, see how many views the Bundle has received, hide the previews, make the Bundle private or even add a new curator so that they can add to it.
You always have full control over how you share your Bitlinks or Bundles. Since Bitly is a social tool, everything is share publicly by default, but you can change that any time from:
Individual Bitlinks listed on the front page: Simply switch the "Public" option to "Private" if you don't want to share it with your network.
Individual Bundle pages: In your Bundles, which you can access from "Bundles" listed in the sidebar, switch the option from "Public" to "Private" if you choose.
Public Bitlinks and Bundles you save or share through Bitly can be seen by the people in your network if they click on "Network" listed in the left sidebar. You can do the same by clicking on it to see what Bitlinks people in your network are sharing, including clicks and stats.