With the widespread adoption of Twitter, has come the need for short URL’s. Unfortunately, the providers of those short URL’s are often not terribly financially stable. Recently, tr.im was in the news for going under, and then being miraculously saved shortly afterward. There was a lot of outcry, because people were unhappy to see those links “go dark”. Bit.ly and others have banded together to create a backup of their own links, in case something happens to them.
WordPress.com users now have a different solution available to them now. Automattic has launched an internal shortening feature:
WP.me is similar to what we’ve been using at Blueprint – we purchased the shorter domain name bpds.us so that we could build our own “retweet” button that linked to our own domain, and included our @blueprintds twitter as the source of the tweet. Besides being a shortcut around building a plugin just to interface with a shortening service’s API, it also guarantees that we won’t have to worry about a shortening service going under – the links will live as long as we do.
Shortening the url’s is pretty simple – it’s just a link to
http://bpds.us/?p=<?php the_id(); ?>, placed in the
single.php template. We could be more advanced and
base_encode the ID, and build a plugin to handle those URL’s, so that they looked more like Bit.ly or tinyurl.com links. It’s not really worth the effort, since it would at best save 2 characters, and the URL’s are for copy/pasting, not typing.
If you don’t want to build your own short URL’s, WP.me will be extended to all wordpress users in the near future.