Twitter Shorten – Your Guide to Squeezing Tweets

Files under HTML, Internet Marketing, twitter | Posted by Brian
Squeezing Twitter

Squeezing Twitter

One-hundred forty characters.  That’s all you get, 140.  Well, maybe that’s all Twitter will give you, but we can definitely fit more than 140 in there.  The main trick is to use URL shortening services, but that’s rookie stuff.  There are ways to get a lot more into your Twitter posts than just shortening a URL.  Let’s discuss at least two other ways you can use to get more into your Twitter posts… but first, let’s cover the rookie stuff.

Before you can really get the most out of your SEO on Twitter, you have to at least understand URL shorteners.  These are friendly little web applications that allow you to take a really long URL and turn it into a very short one.  For example, I recently used a service called bit.ly to turn this “http://www.christianfinancialblog.com/2009/06/the-value-of-money/” into this “http://bit.ly/3t3qjB“.  Much shorter, right?  This allows you to fit very long URLs into your 140 characters of Twitter.  We’ll write an article on this soon, but for now you can check out a service like bit.ly and see how it works.

Now for the more interesting secrets.

The first involves making shortened URLs even shorter.  Twitter recognizes the “http://” and turns the following text into a link.  However, we’re loosing 7 characters to do that!  That’s 5% of my total real estate!  Instead, we’re just going to put “www.” in front of any URL we shorten.  Twitter doesn’t care that it doesn’t end in .com, so you can just use www.bit.ly and twitter will turn that into a link.  Bam!  Even Shorter URLs!

Next is another way to shorten URLs and I’ll only mention this one briefly.  If you have a URL that you expect to update all the time, think about registering your own domain name for it.  For example, I frequently advertise my DVD Catalog website, DVDCorral.com.  To compromise between URLs that don’t convey information (bit.ly/#$@!^) and long URLs (www.DVDCorral.com), I bought an extra domain name.  I can now make posts with www.dvdc.at.  It’s short and to the point and still gives folks an idea of where they are going.  This cost me $15 / year and seemed worth it.  For odd domain extensions you may need to find a unique domain provider who sells domains from that country.

Finally, use special characters where appropriate.  For example, I often use ellipsis (…) as I did in the beginning of this article.  They represent 3 periods and a space usually.  On Twitter that means you’ve given up 4 characters to convey some amount of emotion or suspense.  Well, it turns out there is a character just for the ellipsis.  Just copy and paste that character into your Twitter message and you have turned 4 characters into one!  The extra space is actually included in the ellipsis special-character.

For your reference, here are some of the characters you can use on Twitter.  Use the “Share” button below to bookmark this page (with Digg, Flurl, StumbleUpon, etc.) so you can find it again later when you want to copy and paste these characters into your Twitter messages.

Name Symbol
Elipses (… )
Trademark (™)
Copyright (©)
Hyphen (—)
>> (»)
<< («)
Registered ™ (®)
Bullet (·)
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