If you’re marketing anything online, it’s good practice to track the links you share so you can ultimately measure performance and see what’s driving the right kind of traffic, what visitors are looking for and what they do once they land on your site. Obviously, Google Analytics can help you understand much of this, but customizing your links on the front end is also a valuable practice to help you understand as much as possible about people engaging with your content no matter where it is online.
For example, if you embed a link in a PDF that folks can download from your site, it’s a good idea to use a service, such as Bitly.com to create a custom, trackable shortened link. Then, when anyone clicks on your link, you’ll know about it rather than be completely blind to the fact that people are using your content.
Another example is a link that you include in a book you publish to the Apple iBookstore. Trackable links let you know exactly which content people are clicking on.
The benefit is that you can learn from your users’ behavior and adjust your content delivery accordingly. If I discover that a lot of folks are interested in affiliate marketing based on their click behavior, I’ll probably post more content on that topic. Likewise, if no one has ever clicked on one of my sidebar banner ads, I might consider replacing that content with something more attractive or valuable to my readers.