Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Today I want to talk about smarturls, but while I use this site, there are other similar sites out there. Many of the things I discuss here can be applied to other similar sites as well, but I specifically talk about the Smarturl site. A smarturl is a link that redirects people to a website depending on the country and/ or device they use when clicking on the link. They have some other functions as well that I will address in further detail. I think that for authors these smarturls can come in handy sometimes, which is why I thought about writing a post about them.
Why and when to use smarturls
Smarturls can be used for multiple purposes. The first use of a smarturl is when you need an url now, but the actual link you need isn’t live yet. For example think of wanting to include the link to book 2 in your back matter of book 1, but book 2 isn’t live yet. In that case you can sue a smarturl and direct it to a page on your website or goodreads for example and then once the buy link for book 2 is live, you only have to swap out the link in smarturl instead of having to upload a new edition of book 1 with updated back matter.
Another function of smarturls is that they track clicks, which can be handy if you’re interested in that. Ofcourse there are also other sites like most url shorteners out there that do this. But I still found it worth noting. It also makes most links shorter, in most cases it doesn’t really matter how long our link is, but I know some people prefer shorter links or find them look neater.
Another function is when you want to use one link, but direct people to the site appropriate for their country or device instead of listing different links for everyone. In these cases I would recommend using a smarturl.
How to use smarturls
To use smarturls, first you have to make an account on smarturl.it. You can also make smarturls without an account, but I recommend making an account so you can easily find all your smarturls again and I think some functions can’t be used unless you make an account. Once you have an account click the create button. You then go to the page to create a new smarturl. They explain most things on the page itself pretty well. Make sure to fill in the destination url at the part where it says default url. Depending on the url, smarturl will then populate the links to other countries. Sometimes there are multiple countries and smarturl won’t automatically load those, you’ll have to ad them manually then. To do this go country destinations section and using the pick a country function pick the country you want to redirect to another site/ page. Then paste the url you want this country to send to.
They also have a section for different devices, this can be handy when you want to sent mobile devices to the mobile site for example. I rarely use this function, but when linking to sites that have a mobile function, this can be handy. Then you come to the organize section, here you fill in how you want the smarturl to be named, keep in mind you only have 20 letters for this. Pick something that makes sense. In the description section you can add additional information about the link, for example to remember for which book it is wen you have to use a abbreviation. Beneath that they have the function for access, this way you can give someone else access to the link as well, which can be handy when you have a co-author or assistant that needs access to this link as well. One you have that filled out, you click save smarturl and you can start using your smarturl then. Under the heading my smarturls you can see all the smarturls you made.
Some tips about using smarturls
Below I listed a few tips about using smarturls.
- Make sure to update the link. If you’re using a temporary link until the link you actually want to redirect to is live, make sure to actually update it. It’s handy you don’t have to swap out the link, but make sure you don’t forget to update the link.
- Double check you have all Amazon stores. Smarturls doesn’t always automatically populate all the amazon stores, so it can be handy to double check if you have all the stores. There are 13 amazon stores at this moment, so there should be 13 links if you’re using an amazon link. I notice that it often doesn’t populate the Australia and Netherlands store for me.
- Have a system to organize your smarturls. If you’re using smarturls for many different things make sure to name them in a way that makes sense or have a system in place to keep everything organized. You can copy them all in a document, but as long as you use the smarturl name and description with the keywords you need that should work too as they do have a search function.
- Check for Smarturl affiliate tags. Sometimes smarturl ads their own affiliate tags to your links. Which isn’t a problem in most cases, but there are places were you aren’t allowed to use affiliate codes, like in your book when you upload it to Amazon. So if you use smarturls in your book, make sure they don’t add those affiliate tags. So far I haven’t seem they add their own tag very often. So far I’ve only seen it happen when linking to an Amazon author page, instead of a specific book, I would advice to link to your website or goodreads instead of an author page to prevent this. So it’s not really a big deal, but it’s good to be aware of it and check now and then.
My personal use and experience with smarturls
I mostly use smarturls when I want to sent out the media kits for a tour and don’t have the Amazon pre-order link yet, but I do know I’ll have it before the cover reveal date or the start of the tour. In this case I set up a smarturl and use that in the media and then once I have the pre-order link I put that in so the smarturl redirect to the right place..