Having your own branded domain shortener can be very beneficial because you have control over the links and it is better from a visitor perspective. Having a shorter URL that visitors remember it is better than using long ones. With WordPress, you can have your own URL shortener created where you can store your affiliate links.
There are also some free URL shorteners that exist like bit.ly or Google that can help you have shorter links but I prefer having my custom one to have more control. Also, some services can associate the bit.ly with spam and that’s why might be better to have your custom branded URL shortener.
One of the main advantages of having shorter links is increased CTR. In a report, it is showing that CTR is increased with 34%
One of the disadvantages is that you have all your links in one place and in case something happens with the domain or hosting your affiliate links will not work.
In these articles, I will show you step by step how WordPress and some tools can be used to create your own branded URL Shortener. What will be needed is below:
- Domain Name – you need a short domain name that will be used. This will cost around 10$
- Hosting – You already have websites so this should not generate any additional cost. You can take SiteGround GrowBig that is allowing multiple domains to be hosted. More details about SiteGround
- WordPress URL Shortening Plugins – you need a plugin that is shortening URLs. There are some free versions out there that can be used if you are on a tight budget or some premium ones with more features I will detail this below.
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WordPress URL Shortener Plugins
There are a couple of free or paid URL shortener plugins that can help you. In function of the features, you need you can choose one of them. Below is the list with them:
This is a plugin from MyThemeShop that has a free and paid version. The plugin is offering some default features like 301, 302, etc redirect. It makes easy to add the links, has advanced statistics. It only costs 19$ so it has a very good price. Below are more details:
This is another good one. It is having the same as the URL Shortener and it comes with some extra features like a link health check, GEO targeting and integration with Amazon API. It is more expensive it costs 49%. It is also having a free version that can be used. Below are the differences between free and paid:
This are the 2 plugins that you can use. There are other out there but any of this ones will help you have what you need.
Steps For Creating Your Own URL Shortener
1. Buy a Domain Name
First most important is the domain name. This will be the name under all your links will reside on. For my URL shortener I have chosen a 4 letter domain under .uk it is btdo.uk. The name is simple and easy to remember. Now you need to think about your own name and see it is available. To buy your domain you can use NameCheap. You just go there and search for it after you will have the option. For instance:
2.Add your domain to the hosting
The domain needs to be hosted somewhere, in case you have a hosting like SiteGround you will have a cPanel and you need to go into the interface to Addon Domains and add the new domain there. Before doing this you need to add your nameservers on the domain to the hosting company. To do this you enter in Namecheap and modify the below:
3. Install WordPress
The domain is configured, now what remains is to install WordPress. To do this you can go into cPanel and do the below:
- Once there, click on the blue “WordPress Installer” icon under WordPress Tools.
- Next, click on the blue “Install” tab.
You will have the following values to fill in on the screen:
- Version: Choose the latest
- Choose Protocol: HTTPS
- Choose Domain: Pick your domain name from the list.
- In Directory: Leave this blank.
- Site Name: Write the name of your site (can be changed later).
- Site Description: Write a description for your site (can be changed later).
- Admin Username: You will use this to log-in to your blog.
- Admin Password: You will use this to log-in to your blog.
- Admin Email: Enter your email address.
- Select Language: Choose your preferred language (English, Spanish, etc.)
- Select Plugin(s) – none as you can install them after.
4. Add a SSL Certificate
WordPress is installed, what needs to be done next is to secure your website with a SSL certificate
On SiteGround you can have free certificates from Let’s Encrypt with an easy step, you just need to go into cPanel and search in Security for Let’s Encrypt as below:
After you click Get Wildcard:
5. Install URL Shortener Plugin
You go under Plugins – Add New and search for the plugin or you upload it in case is the premium version:
6. Add your links to URL shortener
You need to navigate to URL shortener tab under your WordPress dashboard and add your first link:
in 1 you add the affiliate link.
in 2 you put the short link
in 3 you choose 301 header
You choose the category or a new category from right.
in 4 you add the links
At the end you have something like:
The interesting part is that the pro URL Shortener it is having also stats where you can see how many clicks and from where they are. In case you are running some campaigns, you will have the detailed stats.