Bit.ly, one of the most popular link-shortening services, has undergone an overhaul, including some new functions and improved features that will prove very valuable to Web professionals. It's been dubbed the "fugu edition."
The bit.ly sidebar addition (can be added to your toolbar) allows publishers to quickly shorten links while on any website then post those links to Twitter, Facebook, and through e-mail. The sidebar also shows current conversations around bit.ly links.
New tracking features will give deeper insight into how your links are shared. Start by adding "+" to the end of any bit.ly link. Also, users can now see total bit.ly clicks for any given link. That is, how many times a Web page has been clicked through from a bit.ly link regardless of who created and posted the link, in addition to the clicks generated from your link. This might be a good way to test the effectiveness of your copy when sharing a bit.ly link -- if the link is popular on the Web, but your link is not getting clicks, the copy surrounding your link might need some work or perhaps your timing is off.
A public timeline is available, so users can see your bit.ly link history. This timeline is sharable as a URL, RSS feed or can be exported as a list and could prove very valuable as a way for users to filter content from their most trusted and valuable resources. For publishers, this is could be a nice promotional tool to achieve better branding with avid users.
A new management feature pulls together the most critical data on one page, showing some basic statistics of each link plus expandable links for quick access to more details.
For those seeking even more functionality, bitly.Pro offers custom short links, deeper and real-time analytics and easy integration with other Web tools. Those interested can apply for the bitly.Pro beta program.