I recently bought the domain name http://anke.sh for $72.80 per year. A .sh domain is 9 times more expensive than a .com domain. So why did I buy it?

  1. Because its a very short URL. 4 character .com domain names aren’t available anymore.
  2. The domain stands for my first name after all. So there is an inherent value to it.
  3. Which makes it a very valuable domain name to start my own private URL redirection service on.

But Why Start A URL Redirection Service?

Micro blogging is becoming popular. Service like Twitter have a 140 character limit for messages. So you can’t use long URLs. The longer the URL’s you share, the less text you can write promoting it – hence killing its virality.

I can use http://anke.sh as a URL shortening and redirecting domain for all the links that I share with folks via social media and micro-blogging networks!

But Why Not Just Use Free URL Shortening & Redirecting Services Like TinyURL.com or Bit.ly?

Two reasons for that:

  1. I’m promoting my own brand. Some of the folks who click through any of the redirected links – will be curious enough to visit http://anke.sh too (which is redirected to this post).
  2. But more importantly – I get to make a presence on the traffic logs and analytic tools of all the websites I promote!

Website analytics tools don’t show who is sending traffic to your website – if that traffic comes from social media sites. But by using my own URL redirection service, http://anke.sh will show up on the people’s analytics tools if I link to them.

And hopefully that will open up a few doors for me. It will mean folks opening my emails if I’ve promoted them before – because now they’ll know that I’ve promoted them before!

So… How Can You Start Your Own URL Shortening & Redirecting Service?

1. Find a short domain name using http://domai.nr/

2. Install WordPress on that domain
2a. Activate pretty permalinks.

3. Install the Redirection plugin
3a. Go to “Options”. In the auto-generate URL field, enter: http://doma.in/$hex$ (where doma.in is the short domain you’ve bought.)

Thats it. You’re all set. Now every time you come across a link you want to share, instead of using tinyurl or bit.ly – use your own domain name.

Tips While Creating Redirected URLs Using The Redirection Plugin

i. Leave the source empty and a random URL will be auto-generated. You could add an easy-to-remember keyword in the source field too – if you desire that.

ii. Once the redirected URL is made, click on it – and change its HTTP to “302 – Found” option. SEO experts tell me that only by having a 302 redirect will your domain name show up in their analytics logs.

May 29, 2009