Alternatives to UTM: Do Shortened Links Bring New Possibilities?

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Internet Business: Analytics and SEO/SEM - Season 2

In the previous article, “Tracking traffic sources for analytics: Introducing UTM tags,” we discussed how you can customize links in the footer of your website by adding UTM tags to them to accurately track traffic sources. Now we will look at another practical situation where link shorteners are a valuable tool.

Our Example

As part of this series, in the articles written by me, we focus on modifications to the OneYearChallengeProject blog. In the previous article about UTM Tags, we updated the footer of the page with links that are important from our point of view, and we supplemented these links with so-called UTM Tags.

However, UTM tags will not always be the best solution. Sometimes we need (or want to) use another simpler solution. Today we will use the so-called link shorteners to track interest in a given menu item and make a friendly link at the same time.

You can use one of the many link shortening services for this. However, based on one of our previous articles from another series, we will add this link from our own site.

First, we choose a specific link from the menu that we want to shorten, adapt to the analysis and make it more friendly. We choose the item from the “SHOP” menu, it leads to an external store with a catalog of products dedicated to this blog. The link is unfriendly enough and there is no Google Analytics in that place, so it will be most efficient to use a shortened link.

We use our link shortener (or any free tool) to prepare our new link.

At the top, we describe the link so that we know why we generated it. In “Target URL” we paste the link where it should lead, in Pretty Link we enter our shortened link. (If not entered, it will be generated automatically.)

Other tools work very similarly.

We’re making changes to the menu, replacing the original link with a new shortened link:

The language and method of updating will look like depending on how your pages are built. We have updated the website and if you are reading this article you will visit it. You will see a new link.

Analysis of the results

Now that we have a modified link in the menu, we will be able to (also) track clicks on it. This will also help us to assess how many people use the opportunity. Of course, we can also create a link simply to make the site easier to use. Since the link created in this article is new, here are the results for another link, which is supposed to be easier to remember and use:


Modifying the link in the menu using link shorteners or adding UTM tags is an effective way to track website traffic and analyze user behavior. It’s a hands-on approach to using marketing tools to optimize your site and improve its effectiveness.

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This series is cross-published in SOWER Blog. It is created as non-paid cooperation as workload exchange. In this season, you can read half articles written by a Blogelist representative and the second half by SOWER.

The Polish version of this article is published in SOWER Blog here.

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