Jul 9 2010
Today I’d like to talk about obsession. The perfume. Launched by Calvin Klein in 1985, Obsession is, from my experience, a refreshing, Oriental fragrance. This feminine scent possesses a blend of vanilla, amber, orange blossom, oakmoss and other oriental spices.
OK, with that out of the way, I’d now like to talk about another kind of obsession – obsession in the context of continually monitoring who visits your Web site. My therapist says it’s an example of “unhealthy boundaries” – some Freudian mumbo-jumbo – but I say, hey, if you run a businesses and care about your customers, it’s important. Which is why Linktrack.info, a service that provides free link tracking is, to quote another unnamed, no-nothing psychologist, somewhat of an “enabler.”
Linktrack, in their own words, is a free service designed to shorten very long urls (links) to make them easier to read, remember, and send to other people. Every link you create lets you track when it’s been clicked on, and who clicked it. Seems obsess-i-licious.* So I took a spin. The home page is clean and crisp – again, I love me some sky blue – with an elegant summary of key features. There are six sections on the navigation bar, all of which effectively do their job: Support, Features, Pricing, Blog, Signup, and Login. However, rather than take a deep dive in each – again, it’s all self-explanatory in a great way – I decided to sign up and actually start tracking clicks related to one of my sites. (Yes, it’s true: despite my occasional Luddite rantings, I have a Web site. I dabble.)
I clicked the big lime-green “Sign Up Now” button on the home page and created my free link tracking account. The free account provides unlimited link tracking, real-time tracking, charts and graphs, and more. There are also the Personal ($6.95/month) and Professional ($24.95/month) plans. I activated my account. One navigation comment: after I activated my account via e-mail, I was taken to a “Manage Account” page. There, I was prompted to do many thing (e.g. Upgrade to Premium Account, Edit Profile.) However, I wasn’t immediately how to actually get started, namely, enter the url of the site I wanted to track. I’d suggest some direction or navigation to that extent is added on this page.
All that said, my minor confusion immediately ceased when I simply clicked on Links on the top of the page. I was reminded that I had yet to enter a link, and they prompted me to, so I did. Easy. I entered the url, a description of the site (which is publicly viewable), and private notes for my later reference. Upon entering the info, I received a new tracking link, which directs viewers to my original url. I was also alerted that the link – under the Free plan – expired within seven days or 100 links.
Linktrack continued to hold my hand throughout the process; on the same page, it read, “What do I do with this?” Great question. I wasn’t sure. I was told to “Copy and paste your tracking link into an email, post it on your web site, add it to your Facebook or Twitter account, or use it just about anywhere you link to stuff. Anytime someone clicks your link, we’ll track it for you and display the results here.” So, as a test, I clicked the link they gave me.
You’ll be pleased to know everything worked! I refreshed the Links page, and saw that, indeed, my link was clicked. It was all in real-time too. Check out the screen shot below. Better yet, there were nifty little icons so I could find out more about the specific link; the thing that intrigued me most was the visitor IP address; that’s where users can do some serious customer relationship-whatever-stuff.
The value of free link tracking speaks for itself. It can be wildly helpful, for, say, businesses launching a new service or promotion, in which the owner can see who clicks what, where they come from, and how long they’re on the site. Actually, the more I thought about it, the service is great for anyone who has a Web site, and wants to see who goes there. In other words: like, anyone interested in what their customers are doing. In other words, Linktrack, like a certain perfume, can make people a tad…obsessive. But in a good-obsessive kind of way.
* Unlike Obsession, the perfume “Obsess-i-licous” is disgusting.