Evergreen Links: A Recap
In part one of this series, I talked about what evergreen links are and why you might want to use them. To recap, an evergreen link has two parts:
Part one is a link that is permanent and goes in the back of your ebook or on your marketing material. This is the link the reader clicks on.
Part two is the URL behind the permanent link that takes the reader to the place you want them to end up. This is the part you will change as necessary.
In the second part of this series, I talked about how to use the WordPress.org plugin Redirection to create your evergreen links. This plugin is simple to install and easy to use.
However, if you don’t have a WordPress.org site, then this option isn’t available to you.
Also, Redirection has a couple of disadvantages. Since Redirection uses your full website address when creating the link, this means the link might be very long. For example, my URL is: https://thewriterstechstop.com. At the end of all that, Redirection will tack on the custom name of my evergreen link. This is not ideal if I want to use my evergreen link in a place with minimal space, such as a bookmark. Plus, Redirection only provides minimal tracking.
As an alternative to Redirection, you can use a link shortening service such as Tiny.cc. I chose Tiny.cc as my example here because it allows you to edit your target URL. Not all link shorteners allow this, so if you decide to use another service, you should check that they allow you to change the target URL.
Getting Started with Tiny.cc
Tiny.cc is a free, web-based, link-shortening service. You can use the service to shorten links without creating an account. However, in order to edit a link you need to have your data stored by Tiny.cc, so you’ll need to create an account. Note: I had a bit of trouble setting up my account, as the verification email never came through. I had to email them to get my account activated. However, they responded quickly to my request and got me up and running right away.
When you log in to the site, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. This is where you will see all of the links you’ve created. You’ll also see some basic statistics, such as number of clicks, unique clicks, and an option to see a chart that shows clicks by date, a world map, and a list of referral sites. I can’t show you a working example of this because I don’t use Tiny for my evergreen links. The link shown below is just a test link I created while preparing to write this post and isn’t live. The two clicks are just from me trying things out.
Creating the Evergreen Link
To create a new link, click the big green circle in the upper left with URL inside it.
This will take you to a new screen.
In the long box, paste your TARGET URL. This is the current destination you want your link to point to. So, if you have a book that’s on preorder but not at all retailers, for the retailers where the book is not yet live you would put something like https://www.yourwebsite.com/newbook for the long link.
The evergreen link, the part that you’ll put in the back of your ebook or on your marketing material, is the part that starts www.tiny.cc/. You get to add a custom ending to this, so let's enter 'newbook' into the custom box.
Click Shorten after the long URL to create the link. Once it’s been created, you’ll see an information box appear. The evergreen link is in the upper left. There is a row of icons for: Copy, Share, Create QR Code, Preview, and Hide From Recent.
Below that is the Original Link, which is your target link.
You can now copy your Tiny.cc link and put it in the back of your ebook, on your marketing materials, in your social media posts, etc.
Updating the Evergreen Link
Once your book goes live, log back into Tiny.cc. If you’re not at your dashboard, click on My URLS to get to your dashboard.
To edit the target link, first click the box in front of the link’s row. Then click the first icon after Actions. This square with the pencil is the Edit icon.
You’ll get a pop-up window.
Change the Long link to the book’s page at the retailer, such as the book’s Amazon product page.
Leave the Tiny link alone, as that’s the permanent, aka evergreen, part.
Then click Update This Link.
On the main dashboard there are three icons in a vertical line to the left of the URL information.
Favorite: The star icon allows you to mark the URL as a favorite. Tiny.cc allows you to sort by Favorites First, so having a URL marked as a favorite could be helpful if you have a lot of URLs. If something has been marked as a favorite, the inside of the star will be colored in.
Note: See below.
Mark/Unmark as QR-Code: This is the icon of the four squares in a grid. Tiny.cc can generate a QR code for the URL, as well. See farther down this post for where to find this option.
ADDING A NOTE
The icon that looks like a piece of paper is the Add a label or note icon. This is a handy option. You can use it to set a reminder to go in and update a link for a book once it's live at Amazon. Or you could simply make a note as to where you used the link, Twitter, printed marketing materials, your blog, etc.
As of the time I'm writing this, there is a 25 character limit for the note's text. Including spaces.
Once you've added a note, the icon will be filled in.
Hover over the icon to read the note. Click on the icon to edit the note's text. NOTE: If you don't see the edit box appear when you click the icon, check your browser's pop-up window settings or switch to another browser.
With Tiny.cc you have a range of options for sorting, including Favorites First and Total Clicks.
Each link you create has a few statistics at the bottom of the link's box. In the below example, you can see the date the link was created, the total number of clicks, and the number of unique clicks.
To see charts of your statistics, click Chart. Since I don't use Tiny.cc for my links, here's a link to the full demo Chart page.
The top chart has the option to see a bar chart for clicks by Month or All Time.
Next you'll see two pie charts showing clicks by Systems (Windows, etc.) and Browsers.
Below that is a map showing the global distribution of your clicks.
Finally, at the bottom is a bar chart showing the distribution between direct and referred traffic.
You have the option to search for text in either URLs or notes.
In addition to the Edit button, there are other options on your dashboard that become active once you’ve checked the box in front of the row. These are:
Traffic filter - This is useful if you’re running a geospecific campaign and only want people in a certain location to be able to click the link.
Reset click stats to zero - This is helpful if you’ve been clicking on the links to test them.
Get QR Code - A QR code is useful on printed marketing material. Instead of typing your evergreen link into their browser, a reader can simply scan the code with their smartphone.
Export to CSV - This allows you to export your total clicks and clicks per month into a spreadsheet.
If you don’t have a WordPress.org site and so can’t use the Redirection plugin, if you want to create a shorter evergreen link, or if you want a more robust set of statistics for tracking the activity on your links, then try the online link shortener Tiny.cc.
In the Next Post in This Series
If you want even more control over your evergreen links, and/or you don’t want the data hosted on someone else’s server, then check out my next post in this series which will be about the self-hosted link shortening app YOURLS.
Using YOURLS requires more technical expertise, so I’ll also be writing a post on how to install YOURLS.
Until then, Happy Writing!