Google’s link shortening service, commonly known as goo.gl, is infamous on the internet for providing quick and easy link shortening and allows you to track your analytics for each individual link that you create. Unfortunately, it looks like Google’s doing away with this great tool completely by 2019. If you’re a current user of the service, a notification on goo.gl says that you’ll still be able to access your data and analytics until 2019, when all support will be revoked.
However, fear not, for bit.ly is your next best choice! Bit.ly’s got loads of helpful tools and analytics to help you understand and interpret your links’ data. Another huge advantage to migrating to bit.ly over another service is the fact that it’s completely free! I can’t think of a free shortening service that has all of the functionality and capability that bit.ly has to offer. I’ve created a helpful tool using the assistance of Google Sheets in order to make it easier to change your links to bit.ly format. First, however, we’ve got to export your links and their corresponding data in order to allow the spreadsheet to do its thing!
Navigate to goo.gl, and you’ll notice that in the top right of the table containing your links, there’s a button that reads “Download CSV”. All this really means is that you’ll be able to access the .csv file (CSV stands for comma separated values, and is a universal standard for raw data formatting) that contains all of the data that makes your goo.gl links work. This file can be opened and manipulated by almost any spreadsheet tool, but we’re going to use Google Sheets for this tutorial.
Assuming you’ve already got the migration tool that I’ve made on Google Sheets (at http://bit.ly/2H6KbD1), go ahead and open the CSV file in either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. In this tutorial, I’ve used Excel, but the steps can easily be repeated in Google Sheets with minimal issues. Upon opening the file, you’ll notice that the unshortened links do not fit within the cell that they’ve been placed in. Simply expand the cell (this is called text wrapping in Google Sheets) so that you can see the full URL.
Once you’ve expanded those cells, select all of the cells that contain the URLs by dragging over them and copy them. Be warned, however! The bit.ly tool in Google Sheets can only handle 100 URLs at a time, so be careful when selecting.
Now, let’s get to the Google Sheet! Upon opening the document, you’ll notice that you won’t be able to edit the spreadsheet. This is because Google allows the owners of documents to create a “view only” mode for viewers in order to eliminate the risk of some nasty person ruining the document. You’ll want to go to File>Make a copy in order to create an editable version. Please, make sure that you’re logged in to your Google account! If you’re not logged in, none of your work will be saved!
In order to utilize the spreadsheet, you need your bit.ly login and your bit.ly API key. You can create a free account with bit.ly by signing up on their website. In order to access your API key, sign in to your account on the website and navigate to the “Your Account” tab (go to the top right and click on the icon with 4 horizontal bars). From here go to Settings>Advanced Settings>API Support. You’ll be greeted by two main pieces of information: your login and your API key. Now you’re ready to get working!
At the top of the spreadsheet, there’s a section for your login and the API key. Go ahead and input this information (remember, you can find all of this in API support). Once you’ve done this, paste in those long-form URLs into the spreadsheet under the column labeled “URL to shorten” (pretty complicated, right?). The spreadsheet will work its magic for a few moments until it spits out your converted bit.ly shortened URLs in the third column. All of the shortened URLs will be imported into your bit.ly account (that’s why we’ve used the login and the API key), eliminating the need to manually copy the links into your account.
Well, if you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! You’ve done all of the hard work, and now all that’s left is to review your bit.ly account to make sure that everything’s imported well. I hope that this tutorial has helped you migrate your shortened URLs to bit.ly, and, as always, don’t forget to drop a comment below to let me know what you thought.