Of the many stories and memories I have about making money online and creating websites over the years, it’s quite funny to think about the internet back in the mid-to-late-90s. Specifically in reference to domain names and free web hosting sites. Back in the day, sites like Geocities, Tripod, and AOL all offered free web hosting to anyone wanting to create a site of their own. The only problem was, you were stuck with a very long site URL… but hey, it was free!
Then in 2001, I registered my first domain names for $70 through Network Solutions (for two years). Even back then, you were still limited by how many characters you can have in your domain name, it wasn’t til several years later that they increased this amount, allowing for a whole new world of opportunity when it comes to registering a domain name.
Jump forward to today and it’s all about creating the shortest URLs possible. This is pretty easy now thanks to all of the new domain name extensions and link shortening services out there.
Speaking of which, the world of link shortening is actually more in-depth, lucrative and competitive than you might think. Even if we don’t think about it, we are all likely using some form on link shortening on a daily basis, especially if you are using social media and social sharing buttons on your sites.
One platform that has made the process of link shortening not only simple but also quite lucrative for them and their site partners, is Shorte.st. The this has millions of active users and site partners using their redirects on a daily basis, while also generating revenue in the process — which we will dive into in the details below.
We should all have a pretty good understanding of how a link shortening platform works. At it’s most basic form, you simply provide a URL to any website, article or landing page, then the link shortening platform will provide you with a redirect URL that is much shorter — thus allowing you to easily share on social networks or anywhere you might be limited in characters, or don’t want to display an extremely long or complicated URL.
With all of that in mind, that’s exactly what you are going to find at https://shorte.st/.
One of the first things you might be thinking is that the URL of “shorte.st” isn’t actually the shortest domain name out there. That is true, but it’s also just the name of the company. When you visit their site, you can type in any URL you like, then you will be assigned a new shortened URL such as http://viid.me/qWVPb5. Previous users of the site can also log into their accounts and manually update their redirect URLs (http://viid.me/1oqg -> http://sh.st/1oqg) to the latest ‘shorter’ URL of viid.me and more security-based URLs recently added to the site. This also allows for the easy setup and redirection of URLs through Twitter.
However, to look at Shorte.st as just a redirection and link shortening service wouldn’t offer much value. Instead, what makes the site stand out from others in this space, is how they are earning revenue for site partners around the world.
Before we jump into how to make money with a link shortening service like Shorte.st, we need to first cover the many different reasons why you might want to start using redirects. As mentioned earlier, this is often to make link social easier, fitting within social media character limited and also to make money if you are pushing a lot of generic traffic through your site. A good example of the later would be if you had an entertainment site that was doing very well with viral traffic and wanted to try and make some extra money with it.
In the case of links created through shorte.st, each one is going to serve a short interstitial advertisement before passing the end user off to their final destination. You can see an example of this in the screenshot below. The user can view the advertisement, or click on the “Skip this Ad” option to move on to their original destination that was clicked. Each time such an advertisement is served, Shorte.st and their site partner would then generate a share of the revenue from the ad placement.
As mentioned, this type of traffic redirection is more for social audiences or sites with a lot of high-traffic general audience. You likely wouldn’t want to place such link redirection on your main website or within articles that have real purpose or value. This is something each site owner will have to consider before placing any type of advertising on their site, as on-site experience and value should always come as a first priority.
When it comes to the actual earnings that can be generated from such a campaign, all we need to do is look at the rate card featured on the Shorte.st website. In nearly all traffic scenarios, United States, UK, Canada and Australia traffic is usually going to earn more money than other third-world countries… but here’s where Shorte.st shines above the competition. While many other revenue sharing programs might shun against traffic from these ‘lesser quality’ countries, Shorte.st is still paying as much as they can for ALL traffic sources.
At the same time, it’s also important to factor in the quality of your traffic. If you are pushing a ton of visitors through your site and none of them are clicking or acting on the paid placement, you likely won’t see that great of earnings numbers. However, across the board, traffic from countries like Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Germany are still ending $1-$7+ per 1,000 views. Not bad for traffic sources that usually have a hard time getting monetized.
Shorte.st members can log into their accounts at any time to see their latest stats, URLs generated and how much they are earning by country. Payments are sent out through Shorte.st on a monthly basis (on the 10th of each month) through PayPal, WebMoney or Payoneer. The minimum threshold for payment is just $5 for Paypal and Webmoney, while Payoneer is set at $20. As a bonus, Shorte.st will send out payments twice per month to give a holiday bonus (usually during December).
To create a shortened URL with Shorte.st, all you need to do is visit the site and plug in any URL of your choice. However, if you want to get the most out their service and start earning money, it’s highly recommended you create a free members account. This will allow you to access to dashboard area and also the ability to track all of your links and earnings.
Once inside the dashboard area, you can easily access all areas of your account. This will allow you to view statistics, earnings reports, account and payment information and also some useful tool to earn even more with your site and link shortening. Such tools and features include:
The main dashboard is easy enough to follow and the URL shortening bar is always available near the top of the page. Browse around to get your statistics, across all income sources, enter your withdraw information and so on. It’s also through the dashboard that you gain access to some very useful tools.
To learn more about each of these features and to see them in action, simply refer to the How It Works section on the website. You can also visit the Shorte.st Forum to see what the latest trends and methods are for making money with redirection, and what’s working for other members.
Wherever there is web traffic, there is always going to be money to make. The question is… what’s the right method of monetization for you, your audience and your business?
If you are currently pushing a lot of generic traffic, working with viral content and social media, or even have a file sharing, image hosting or video site… link shortening and redirection through Shorte.st might be a great option for you.
In addition to making money with their site with link redirection and ad serving, users can also promote Shorte.st through their affiliate program and earn a 20% recurring commission on all revenue generated — for life! That means if you referred a user that was making $1,000 a month with Shorte.st, you would pocket a nice $200 a month just for making the initial referral.
The world of online traffic and link shortening is an exciting and interesting one. If you find value in everything mentioned here today, be sure to register for an account with Shorte.st now and see how their link shortening and monetization methods could start working for you.
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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