6 things to know if using Tracker.ly


Going back to the introduction of TinyURL in 2002, every link redirection system has used the same methods and inherited same problems. The way link redirects are done, at the basic level, are simply not designed for the world of marketing, no matter how many cool features you tack onto them.

At Tracker.ly, in addition to cool marketing features, one of our goals was to fix all of these big problems, so we took some very different approaches to how we did things than any other service you may have used before. Every one of the benefits on this list is unique to Tracker.ly, so if you’re new to Tracker.ly, this is a really important read!

1. Domains are not websites
Other redirect services talk about using your own brand with custom domains. This is somewhat deceiving as they are referring to secondary domains, not primary domains. A secondary domain is an extra domain, in addition to the one your website is on, which you purchase and use just for branding your tracking links. So, if your website is yoursite.com, you might get a secondary domain like, yoursitelinks.com. It still has your brand, but it isn’t your true brand, and it could be owned by anyone. Secondary domains are less trustworthy than website domains, so it can reduce clicks on your marketing links.

With Tracker.ly, can create links on secondary domains or on your websites, so it matches your true brand. Links on your websites increases clicks because your website in the link increases trust in the safety of the links, as they are clearly from you. It also enforces your brand, as your actual website address appears in every link you publish. Also notice that website is pluralized. You can create and report on links for multiple websites within Tracker.ly.

Descriptive links on websites is the best way to go. It works on nearly any website where you have FTP access to upload files. Our installer will set it all up for you in about two minutes per website. If your website doesn’t give you FTP access, you can still use a secondary domain.

Tutorial on adding websites
Tutorial on adding secondary domains

2. Links and Destinations are two different things.
In other redirect services, you create a link to a destination as a single unit. This unfortunately encourages you to use one redirect link across all your marketing messages, and it only gives you a count of how many clicks you sent to the destination.

In Tracker.ly, links and destinations are tracked separately. You can have as many redirect links going to each destination as you want, choosing from the best type of six different types of redirect links for each marketing message. This encourages you to track each marketing message through a dedicated link. Tracker.ly then combines all the clicks from each redirect link into a report for the destination, showing you a graph of the total traffic sent to the destination from all your unique tracking links for each unique marketing message.

Tutorial on adding destinations
Tutorial on adding redirect links

3. Instant links save you loads of time.
The ability to track each marketing message with its own tracking link would be a huge hassle if you had to go into Tracker.ly and create a unique link, every time you wanted to publish a new marketing message for a destination.

In Tracker.ly, you can create just one redirect link to a destination and then create instant links on-the-fly, when you’re writing your marketing message. For example, if your Tracker.ly link is yoursite.com/product, you can create instant links by just writing that link into your marketing like, yoursite.com/product-blogpost13. Just make sure you follow your original link with a dash and the end result follows the rules of normal links. The first time someone clicks on the new link, it will be create as a unique link going to the same destination as yoursite.com/product.

Tutorial on instant links

4. To change a destination, create a new one and move the links.
In other services, if you ever change where the destination points on a redirect link, all the clicks from before the move are incorrectly assigned to the new destination, because the link and destination are saved together as one unit.

In Tracker.ly, to point redirect links to a new destination, you create a new destination and tell the links to point to the new destination. The clicks previous to the move are still attributed to the old destination and the clicks after the move are attributed to the old destination. This is the only way to keep accurate stats when you change where a link points. Also, since you can have many links going to the old destination, when you move one, it will ask you if you want to move the rest.

Tutorial on changing destinations

5. Everything is tracked together
In other services, when you’re tracking clicks on links, each domain or website is separated or “sandboxed” away from each other in different reports. This makes it difficult to see trends across websites and makes it less likely that you’re going to actually track things, as you have to go into different reports.

In Tracker.ly, every type of link for all your websites and domains are in one report. You can then use tags (groups) and other filters to build and save sub-reports for individual websites or different types of marketing across multiple websites or domains. For example, if you tag all your destinations that are affiliate links with the tag, “Affiliate Links”, then you can tell Tracker.ly to give you a report of all your affiliate links across all your brands.

Tutorial on building reports
Tutorial on saving/loading reports

6. When tagging, remember, destinations and links are different
In other services, if you were to tag a link as an “Affiliate Link” for reports, it’s tagging the whole link, which only talks about the destination. In these services, tagging can’t tell you anything about your marketing.

In Tracker.ly, you tag destinations separately from your redirect links. This allows you to tag your destinations in Tracker.ly based on what type of destination it is or where you’re sending people, and to also tag your redirect links in Tracker.ly based on how you’re sending people to the destination or where you published the links. For example, if you consistently tag your redirect links with tags like “PPC”, “Blog posts”, and “Social Media”, then you can build reports that show you how these different marketing types are doing compared to each other. You can even combine redirect link tags and destination tags in one report to see how different marketing types are doing for specific types of destinations.

Tutorial on groups
Webinar replay on groups

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