Switchy Review & Tutorial – AppSumo Limited Time Offer 2019
There is a new link shortener on the block and it’s called Switchy. AppSumo’s lifetime deal for it is currently running, which only lasts as long as the website allows.
But do you need Switchy in your life? If you plan to share your websites’ content, using (credible-looking) shortened urls, and maybe even track them, there’s a good chance you do.
In this review, we’ll investigate how Switchy works and how it compares to the competition.
AppSumo’s Lifetime Offers for Switchy
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve had any link shortening platforms on AppSumo. I think the most recent one was RocketLink in 2018, so another platform showing up is well overdue.
Right out of the gates, Switchy is very similar to other link shortening tools. There’s not really a sleeper killer feature. (At least that’s my impression at first.) But it looks like it functions well for its purpose. Let’s see what we’ll get for our money.
The AppSumo page that has the Switchy deal shows $39 for its lowest offer (a single code). Some stacking options are also available.
The 39 bucks will give you 25,000 clicks per month and up to six custom domains. So the ante has been upped from the original deals, where you used to get maybe one custom domain, then get unlimited links, pixels and retargeting pixels.
As for Switchy, that limitation is just on the number of clicks and the number of custom domains. That scales with each additional code that you purchase. You can go all the way up to five codes giving you domains.
(Update: The recent offers increased as shown below. Now, the $39 package allows 30,000 clicks per month and eight custom domains (from six). These features also come more with higher packages. The price for the Multiple plan shown in the video was $195; now, it is down to $117 .)
The Monthly Limit of Clicks
FYI, what happens when you reach the limit of clicks is that you won’t be able to create new links for that month. However, the ones you’ve created so far will still work (all other functions included, like tracking).
Compare It to PixelMe
Now let’s compare this to PixelMe. PixelMe is probably the most popular link shortener, the one I see talked about most often, and the one that I use.
PixelMe has no limitation on custom domains. You’re simply limited by the number of clicks per month, so that is one little downside of Switchy. Otherwise, feature for feature, as we’re about to see, they’re almost identical.
Why Shorten Links?
With a tool like Switchy, we can take a big, unwieldy link and shorten it to be something snappy and easy to remember.
An example is what I do with the affiliate links on the That LTD Life channel. The AppSumo affiliate links that I send out are massive in length. They’re like 45 characters, so I shorten them up to be in a consistent format. It’s living.thatltd.life/[name of the tool]. So when you see a url in this form, you’d know it’s one of my affiliate links.
There are some other things we can do with the shortened links. We could add retargeting pixels. (I don’t do this, just so you know. I don’t capture any data of the people who click on the links.)
We could also add UTM parameters that let us capture information about where people are coming from when they click those links (to be discussed later).
Create a Custom Domain Name
I’ve already got my Switchy account set up before the demo. I haven’t done anything with it yet but I’m gonna walk you through the platform and show you how everything works.
Let’s go right over to Settings. The first tab here is “custom domain name”. You can find the instructions on how to add a domain name. That is the first thing we’d want to do.
Otherwise, we’d use links with the Switchy domain name and that would be tacky. So we’ll create our custom domain name/s, where we can use our own url.
Manage Your DNS Settings
You just need to log in to the one hosting your DNS setting. For most people, that’s something like InMotion or SiteGround. If you’re using your registrar as your domain name server, you could log in there as well. I’m actually using a third-party DNS system called DNS Made Easy.
It doesn’t really matter what platform you’re using for your DNS. The steps are pretty much identical.
So here I am at DNS Made Easy and I’m logged in to the thatltd.life domain.
For this demo, I typed “switchy.thatltd.life” in the Name field. This would become a subdomain of my shortened links. (Here, the subdomain is “switchy”, while the primary domain is my website “thatltd.life”. Also, remember that I can add more custom subdomains like this as allowed in my purchased plan.)
The Alias field is where Switchy (or any link shortener provider) comes in. That is why I’m entering “links.switchy.io” here (the url indicated in Switchy’s instructions).
Then you want to make sure (at least on my platform) to put a period in the Alias field. This might be different for others (check if this is true for GoDaddy or Hover). You might not need to include the period so play with it and see if it works. The period just indicates that I’m not going to be adding in the thatltd.life extension at the end.
The TTL stands for time to live. It tells you how long it takes for that setting to update. I set it to something short to be able to use it immediately in the demo.Then I clicked Submit.
That’s it, it’s all set up on the DNS side. Now I just need to go back to Switchy and tell it what I’ve done.
Return to Switchy
Back to Switchy’s settings page, I could now start adding my custom domain. To do that, I entered the subdomain “switchy.thatltd.life”, just like we set up in the DNS settings. I hit Add and waited for this section to refresh.
Updating it was successful:
But uh-oh! a slight bug. I’ll be honest, I clicked the Add button and it didn’t do anything for a good 15 seconds. So I clicked it again. Then I got two messages that popped up. One said it had gone through and the next one said the domain was already taken.
So it looks like it recorded both of those triggers. Just be patient the first time you add a new domain.
“Switch” Your Website’s Long URL
Now that I’ve set up a domain, I’m ready to start converting links in Switchy.
We’re using That LTD Life’s SocialBee article for our example. I’m really excited about this and I want to post the article’s link on social media.
However, what if I’d like to keep track of where the url’s clicks are coming from? Or just want to shorten it using the custom domain I’ve created? For these, I’d copy the article’s url and paste it in the “switch it” box.
Edit the Link’s Appearance in Social Shares
That then opens me up into a new link builder, which already has the pasted SocialBee link. The page lets you change the image, headline, description, and more.
Now, one thing that I really like here, which I haven’t seen in something like PixelMe, is the ability to change the image. So if I didn’t want to use the image that it pulls in, I could upload a new graphic right here. I could also change the headline and the description.
There are times that when sharing a link from a site, the Open Graph image or information that automatically pops up is not properly set up. It could show an irrelevant photo or description. So that’s really nice that you can tweak these here.
Insert Tracking Pixels
The next sections will be about adding the pixel ID and the UTM tag. Again, both are completely optional.
You can opt to just shorten the links and make them a bit prettier and easier to use. But if you’re eyeing to improve your conversions, adding the pixel ID lets you retarget visitors later via ad campaigns.
Meanwhile, the UTM tags allow you to see where people clicked from. So that requires setting up a different link for each source.
I won’t show you the entire process of adding a tracking pixel, but it’s really simple to do.
You’d choose your platform from the available options, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Tag Manager, and more. You’d also name the pixel, as well as enter the pixel ID.
There is a guide to finding pixel IDs for each platform if you click through. Yet, most people don’t really start off with tracking pixels through a link shortener. So if you’re already tracking visits to your sites and have a pixel set up, you can use that same one right here.
Put UTM Tags
If you like, you can also set up your UTM tags.
Let’s say I was going to put this link into my Twitter feed. I could choose the UTM source “Twitter”, as well as fill in the UTM Medium and UTM Campaign fields. These are all completely customizable, so I could enter anything in these fields.
Still, they’re going to show up inside of Google Analytics as sources, so make sure you’re consistent with your naming conventions. That’s really the number one thing with UTM parameters – you need to be consistent as you name things, so as to track them reliably.
If you maybe do social slash Facebook as your UTM source one time, and then you do Facebook slash Instagram as your UTM source the next time, you’re not gonna get any sort of usable data. So make sure you’re using the same sources and consistent mediums.
In my example, I finally decided to type “promoted” in the medium field, and “social_post_name” in the campaign name field.
The final step before I actually get my link is to choose the domain that I want. I could use one of their built-in shortened domain names, but I’d choose the “switchy.thatltd.life” domain, while adding “socialbee” at the end.
The resulting link is “switchy.thatltd.life/sociabee”.
I copied this link and pasted it to my address bar. In turn, it redirected to the proper website. (And the DNS settings did switch over fast, something to do with the TTL I’ve established earlier.)
Other Parts of the Platform
With the rest of the platform, there’s really not gonna be a whole lot more to see. Essentially, we’re here to shorten links, as well as insert UTM parameters and tracking pixels. So if those aren’t things you need to do, you can definitely let this deal go.
We’ve been to the settings page, where we saw the custom domain name tab. Meanwhile, there is also a tab for the referral program. Here, you can refer other people and get a 30% commission.
Another tab is for your existing plan. I’ve got 1/25,000 clicks utilized, so I’d be able to share that link a lot of times and get a ton of clicks. (Update: As you see below, that updated to 30,000 clicks probably since when they increased their offers.)
I think people really underestimate how hard it is to get even, say, a thousand or 2,000 clicks online. So 25,000 is a pretty generous allotment. I say that hesitantly because, certainly, big brands are going to get tens of thousands of clicks. But the average blogger who is just starting out or even has a decent-sized audience won’t probably get 25,000 clicks per month on social shares. I could be wrong about that but from my experience, that goes a long way.
The following is the billing page where you could add codes if you want to stack.
Use Switchy on Mobile
Another important consideration for me is the mobile view. The platform that I’m currently using is PixelMe and I really like the platform. However, they’ve recently done some screwy things with the interface.
Whenever I log in, it pops up some kind of error code. It’s been like that for probably a month or so. I contacted their support but they didn’t really do anything to get rid of it and on mobile it looks terrible. So I am seriously considering switching over to Switchy.
On mobile, Switchy looks like the one below. (In the review video, I just used the chrome inspector and the Pixel 2 view.) It looks pretty good and is quite responsive.
As for PixelMe’s site, it does look good on the front end. However, the trouble happens once you log in to the site. Shown below is the site’s iPhone X view:
It’s difficult to read the text here. Trying to shorten a link can be a hassle too because of the disproportion. It’s one of those pinch and zoom things where the interface is not optimized for mobile.
In my case, many times I need to grab links on the go while on my phone because I’m not always at my desktop. So mobile responsiveness could be very handy for users like me out there.
Switchy Final Thoughts & Rating
So this is a big win for Switchy. I said at the beginning there wasn’t really a killer feature. But then the standout features are mobile responsiveness and the ability to modify the Open Graph information, the image, the title and the description.
These seem to be a given in 2019, although as we’ve seen, Switchy has them, but not PixelMe (and maybe other platforms too). The slick features make me think hard about stacking the heck out of Switchy.
Rating: I’m gonna give this one a solid 9.3 out of 10.
I think every digital marketer should have some form of link shortening in their LTD portfolio. Switchy is a really solid option. Which link shortener are you currently using? Tell us in the comments below.