I'll admit I need to go through all the Twitter tools listed on Web Help Network.
But I was recently helping a friend quickly get up-to-speed on Twitter. Wanted to give her an easy way to do posts with links, without having to download anything. She'll only occasionally do Tweets.
So I gave her instructions for using bit.ly.
Not only is bit.ly a great URL shortener, it also is an easy tool for Tweeting. And with an added bonus: you get tracking. You see how many people actually clicked your links!
Here is my rundown on using bit.ly:
Often you'll want to have a link to a website in your posts (aka "Tweets"). Beyond doing short messages, you'll want to link to actual web pages.
I especially like to do this for my blog posts.
The challenge is that links often get long.
If you have something you really want to say in your post AND you have a long link – that's a problem.
And you only have 160 characters to work with (just like with text messages). So it's short enough, without having a link take up half of it!
So most people "shorten"their links.
I'd rather just be tweeting in a tool that I can shorten as I go.
But if you want to do your own posts, one easy way to do it it through bit.ly
First, create a free account on bit.ly
As part of that you put in your Twitter account details. You only have to do that once
And then here's how you do an actual post via bit.ly:
1) go to bit.ly
2) post the link in the top text box
3) click the "Shorten" button
4) It then gives you a "text box" to put in your post (with that shortened link), with the heading "Share"
Edit that to say what you want.
Example: "See my store on Google Maps (with reviews): http://bit.ly/cH4QGZ"
Just above that text box, on the right, it shows a number. That is the number of characters you have remaining. That's very handy when doing longer posts, that approach 160 characters.
5) If you're logged in it should show your twitter account below (on the left) and then a Post button on the bottom right.
Click the Post button
(if it doesn't show that, then you need to log in)
Congratulations, now you're really Tweeting!
This may seem a little laborious – but it's easy after you've done it once or twice.
You can then use http://bit.ly to do all your Twitter posts if you like. It's handy
Oh, and a cool bonus is that bit.ly tracks your links. So you can see how many clicks each post received (that you did bit.ly links for).
Not that you'd need to check that all the time.
But it's a bit of free market (and twitter) research, to see what posts get the most clicks.