How to track link referral clicks + an ad sale!

I originally wrote this post for the Passionfruit Ads blog because they are currently undergoing a complete stats system rebuild from the ground up.  This post is not only for Passionfruit users who are looking for a way to track their clicks in the meantime, but also for website/blog owners who just want a simple method to check on referring sites!


If you advertise on other blogs, one question you always want to know is this: how many clicks has the site provided you with?  If you aren't familiar with Google Analytics, I'll show you a super easy way to track your clicks that requires very little setup.

We're going to use bit.ly. I'm sure you've seen bit.ly URLs in the past as they have been used to automatically shorten Twitter links and many others. But did you know that shortened links also provide you with valuable information? Here's how we can track incoming traffic from bit.ly:

First, you'll want to sign up for a bit.ly account. It's super simple to do if you have a Facebook or Twitter account (seriously, you just click a button!). Once in your dashboard, you'll see a text box that allows you to paste a URL to shorten:

If you want to track your own blog clicks, enter your blog URL in the "Paste a link here" box and hit Enter. You will be alerted that your link was saved and shortened. The copy/paste link is shown for you and this link is saved in your dashboard for future use.
To keep track of my shortened links, I like to customize the shortened URL. This will help you keep track of which blog you're using a particular shortened URL on. If you roll your mouse over the copy/paste link that has just been given to you, you will see a "Customize" link appear below. Click this. 

Here is where you can enter the name of the blog you're using this URL on, or a unique identifier that will easily tell you what that particular link, or "bitmark" is for.

Save this and it will update your shortened URL. Now, when you advertise your shop/blog on another blog or website, be sure to use this URL as your site URL. Create a different custom URL for each blog you advertise on. For example, if I were to advertise on a blog named "CANDY SHOPPE", I would enter CANDYSHOPPE as the custom short name shown above. Using Passionfruit's signup form, here is how it would look when I submit my ad:

Using these customized links is a great way to see exactly where your traffic is coming from. From the bit.ly dashboard, you can now visit your Stats page to view the number of clicks each link has generated.

That was easy, wasn't it!? You didn't have to install any special codes and you can clearly see your traffic accurately.

I hope this little tutorial helps some of you who have been concerned about stat tracking!

If you want to give it a try, I'm currently offering 30% off any size ad spot for a limited time only! Book a spot today, just in time for Christmas! Visit my Advertising page and enter promo code "WINTER" at the checkout.

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  1. would this still work fine if you used it to track the pageviews of those advertising on your blog? i'd like to see how much my advertisers are benefiting from my blog.

    1. Yes, you could if you set up an account, and then change all of your advertiser links to your own unique links that redirect to their websites. This is how I track outgoing clicks on some sponsor's ads/links too!

  2. Thank you for posting this! I've been having issues with Google Analytics lately. So this will help immensely with tracking who came from what!

  3. Thank you very much for this tutorial! You inspired me to finally set up a Passionfruit account to organize swaps :)

  4. Such a helpful post! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing.

  5. Thank you for this very informative post! :) As a blogger who sponsors other blogs, I find this very helpful.

    Gia @ Lovely Serendipity

  6. Really helpful How To!
    Would love you to check out my latest outfit post :)
    Have a fab weekend Hun xoxo

  7. This is brilliant! Thanks so much for posting! I just have one question... I tried to do this, but can you save the same link (like my blog) as different shortened link names?
    Because I tried to do it again for someone else's blog Im sponsoring and it just comes up as the same name as the one I already put in.
    Does that make sense?
    So will it let me save the same link twice (but customized as a different name) or will it change the one I already have saved?

  8. check mine. I've join the short link and get paid. You can paste it in facebook. They approve this link and provide thumbnail. Just suggesting link shortner

  9. Great post xxx



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