Shortn.It for WordPress

Posted by: DOC of Media

It’s like having your own custom bit.ly service!

You’ve probably seen major corporations with short URLs utilizing a domain that’s shorter than their main domain, but still reflects their brand. Shortn.It allows you to achieve the same effect with your brand, no matter how large or small. All you need is Shortn.It, WordPress (2.5+), and if you want, a short domain configured as an alias. If you’re not sure how to configure an alias domain, a guide can be found below.

Shortn.It is a customizable, URL shortener that allows you to create shortened, unique, permalinks to any and every post imaginable. If you can post it, you can create a short link for it. Shortn.It automatically creates a short URL using a combination of lowercase, uppercase, and numeric characters (depending on the options you’ve set), but can be customized to be whatever URL safe string you wish.

Shortn.It adds the appropriate tags for shorturl auto discovery and rel=”shortlink” as desired.

Shortn.It provides easy functions for accessing it’s generated URLs outside of Shortn.It, in your themes, or other plugins. The the_full_shortn_url will output just the full URL, without any formatting, which can be used in various Twitter or other microblogging plugins.the_shortn_url_link will output an HTML link using the configuration from Shortn.It’s options page.

How to Setup and Use a Shorter Domain with Shortn.It

Step 1: Buy Your Domain

The first step we’ll be taking to set up a domain name for your Shortn.It links is the most important: Registering a domain name to use. It can be anything you like, but I’d personally follow these guidelines that I just made up:

  • It should be, at a glance, vaguely related to your “main” domain name. I’ve set up docofmedia.com to use docof.me and calvarysawgrass.org to use swgs.co. Be clever, but not too clever. A great tool to help you come up with a short domain and see what’s available is Domai.nr. I used it to help me with docof.me and swgs.co.
  • Stay away from weird TLDs, especially sketchy country ones. You don’t know when Turduckenstan is going to change the rules regarding their domain name registration, and then you’re out of luck with a bunch of broken links, which is the precise problem you’re using Shortn.It to combat.
  • Try to stay under 5 characters not including the extension. Every extra character is chipping away at the advantage of a “shorter” domain.
  • Once you nail down a name to use, register that domain with your favorite registrar. I use GoDaddy primarily because they’re usually the cheapest.

The above are not hard rules, they’re just suggestions. Do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Step 2: Configuring The New Domain

If you manually control your web hosting like some kind of nerd, you can simply set the new domain name (in my case docof.me) as an alias (sometimes referred to as parked) for your main domain name (in my case docofmedia.com). There are Instructions on how to do this in CPanel for an alias of your main domain or an alias of an add-on domainIf someone else is in charge of your hosting, this is exactly what you need to tell them:

Dear {Support Team For My Web Host},

I have purchased the domain name {your short URL domain name}, and would like it to be configured as an alias for my other domain {your main domain name}. In short, requests to {your short URL domain name} should be treated the same as requests to {your main domain name}.

Thank you,
{Your Name}

Maybe you should send them a present, too. At any rate, be kind to your support minions, for one day your life may depend on them. They will probably tell you that you need to configure the DNS of your new domain to point to their servers. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that if you registered with GoDaddy, which I had nothing to do with.

Step 3: Configure Shortn.It for Your New Domain

This one is easy as pie: Log in to your WordPress site, then go to Plugins, look for “Shortn.It”, then click “Settings” under it’s name. In the Shortn.It settings page, look under “Domain settings.” Click the “Custom domain” circle, and next to that enter in your new domain name, minus the http://. For me this would be “docof.me”. Once you’ve done that, click “Save Changes”, and wait for the changes to be applied. It’s only like a second. Don’t be so impatient. Ah, there it is.

You should be all set, now. If you have problems, concerns, or comments, please utilize the Support section of Shortn.It’s WordPress plugin page.