A lot of my current thinking is around how to help teachers know HOW to use the collaborative tools in GSuite, not just know ABOUT them. One area that I find doesn’t get a lot of attention is how to share a link. I personally like to do it while I am also setting the sharing permissions for the document as I know the recipient will get my message and a nice link to the document:
The downside to doing this is that there are not a lot of editing options available, and it is not very useful if I want to share the link in a reply to an email etc., or track the link analytics.
What I see a lot of people doing then they first start sharing links is they just cut and paste the entire URL into their email like this:
Which works, but is a) so very ugly and difficult to look at, and b) it takes up valuable space in a document/email that could be used for more important information.
For a while I was highlighting words in my communication and hyperlinking to them:
But I always suspected that people were not always aware that the underlined words were actually links, and that they would not click on it.
Then I started using Goo.gl and haven’t looked back. I had been using Bit.ly for a while to create customised links for presentations etc, but the simplicity of Goo.gl and the way it links to my GSuite accounts has won me over. Here are some of the things I love about it.
- It is easy to get to and log in. If you are already signed into your GSuite account you just have to type goo.gl into the browser bar and click login. You should be signed in automatically.
- It automatically saves your links in an easy to access list that includes the original url, the date you make the short url, the short url, and the number of times the link is clicked (this is were things start to get interesting).
- If you hover over a link the 3 magic dots appear and give you access to a submenu with the option to see Analytics and create a QR code (this has got to be the easiest way to create a QR code I have seen so far). The analytics data is fascinating. You can see where in the world your link was clicked, as well as what platform and browser they were using,
- The only downside to Goo.gl for me was that I started to lose track of which link went with each document. This was a deal breaker until I realised that each analytics page was just a website that I could bookmark. So I made a bookmarks folder called Link Tracking and for each link I want to keep an eye on I go to the analytics page and bookmark it. I can call the bookmark anything I like, which allows me to give it the document name. Now it is easy for me to track any link I share.
More and more I am choosing to share links using Goo.gl as it is easy for others to access, and I have so much more information on how the link is being used.