How To: Refresh Title, Image and Description of existing Bitly Link

While most of us use Bitly for casual URL shortening, some of those who have taken that extra step signed up accounts to take advantage of the more robust features Bitly offers have to deal with a rather annoying little issue where when adding in a URL that was previously submitted pulls in the title, description copy and thumbnail image from the previously used URL instance. Along with title, description and image come the click counts.

One example of this would be if you had a promotional landing page that maintained a single URL over time. If you made a change to the page or used different copy, but shortened that URL again, in the Bitly dashboard, you would have no context to this change or whether the new version performed better without having to deal with a bit of manual oversight and tracking yourself, what a pain.

Fortunately, there's a super easy workaround to allow Bitly to treat the same URL as individual links in the Bitly dashboard. Simply add an unused query string to the URL and it will treat it as a separate URL, tracking it individually. So take the url http://www.example.com and turn it into http://www.example.com/?bitlybreaker=1 and it will reparse that page and create an explicit entry for this URL (bitlybreaker and the 1 are arbitrary, just use entries that aren't already being used elsewhere as a hook, that could cause issues, lol).

If you'd like to A/B test verbiage being used to promote a link, you can use multiple query strings to split them up, http://www.example.com/?bitlybreaker=A for one link, http://www.example.com/?bitlybreaker=B for the next and so on. Each link will track the clicks explicitly and you will have a good understanding as to which copy used led to more traffic, and you can plan future campaign promotional copy using this information.

Wow, looks like bitly just got a whole lot more useful! If you have any questions or additional information regarding bitly links, please post them in the comments and let's discuss!