Stop Using Linktree and Build Your Own Splash Page Instead
Linktree swept Instagram by storm when it arrived in 2016 from a team of Melbourne brothers, Alex and Anthony Zaccaria, and their co-founder Nick Humphreys.
Their motivation was to overcome the frustration experienced when sharing information with followers on the Instagram app. “We got really sick of having to change the Instagram bio link,” Alex Zaccaria told StartupSmart’s Stephanie Palmer-Derrien in 2019.
They weren’t alone.
Worldwide, bitter Instagram users who had yet to reach 10,000 followers or a desired account verification, both of which would allow them to use the “Swipe Up” function in their Instagram stories, also shared this frustration.
Not only was having to rely on typing “Link In Bio” into every post, or story, annoying, only sharing one link at a time was a brand limitation.
What Linktrees do is allow users to push more than one link at a time so that users can optimize their social media presence by collecting all pieces of content, external URLs, or social profiles, and listing them in a menu for followers to discover and engage with.
For the past three years, I’ve used Linktrees.
But, about two months ago, I stopped.
My hesitation began when I realized how popular these had become. Even if I upgraded to the paid version, there were only so many templates and styles offered that my brand wasn’t going to stand out. What I thought was optimizing my social media presence, was merely directing follower traffic, and providing marketing for Linktree.
Then I received a notification from Instagram:
“Link not allowed. It looks like your profile contains a link that is not allowed. We restrict certain content and actions to protect our community. Tell us if you think we made a mistake.”
This was not what I wanted to be seeing. Now how was I going to share a new video, a new writing, and a new Spotify playlist, all at once on Instagram?
I did think they made a mistake, but I didn’t have the energy to tell them. I needed a new solution — now — so, I created one.
I made my own splash page.
I had my own website and was embarrassed that I had never thought of this before.
A splash page, or a landing page, is a website page that hosts information, usually, a collection or menu of all one person or one brand does. Consider it a table of contents. I have one that accompanies my writings and is in my email signature for my newsletter, and now I have one for everything I do.
Let’s return to why we do this. Is this simply to avoid the occasional blocked link from Instagram?
Well, that’s one of the benefits, but there are way more significant reasons to do this.
On Linktree, there are a limited number of templates and color schemes for both the free and paid versions. With millions of users, your Linktree simply isn’t original anymore. There’s a high chance that someone discovering your page has “seen this before.”
Each Linktree URL also shares an identical first ten characters, before you can add your name. As a creator, you don’t want that. You’ve worked so hard to carve out your place in this world, with your name or your brand, why would you compromise it for a Linktree when you have this new option?
On my splash page, the branding is simple but consistent with the RICKiRICKi brand and color scheme, and the URL is my own.
I’ve beaten the drum about contact information, and how your contact page is probably costing you business for quite some time now. On Linktree, no button can call or send an email directly to you. At best, a button would send a visitor to your contact page, where they’d click again to contact you.
Creating your own splash page, hosted on your website, allows you to share direct contact information with visitors and reduce the number of clicks in the user experience.
My Linktree dashboard tells me that 2,870 unique people have viewed my link. That’s 2,870 people that could be added to my website’s visitor tally, which would also be added to my custom Facebook audience pulling from my website traffic ever since installing my Facebook Pixel.
Today, my custom audience size for website traffic is just shy of 2,000. Had I been using my RICKiRICKi splash page, I’d have nearly 5,000 visitors to my website, and a custom audience size of 5,000. All of which would mean my brand had been introduced to 5,000 people, and increase the chances of…
Within two clicks from my splash page, a visitor could discover all about me, what I do, and be in direct conversation with me. Hosting your splash page on your website will increase your inbound inquiries. Hosting your splash page on your website is lead gen. Even if they don’t become customers, my splash page is consistently introducing the RICKiRICKi brand to friends and strangers on the Internet. This is a good thing. To show you this in action, I have two diagrams.
The branding is decent, the menu is there. This isn’t a horrible compromise. But a compromise is what using Linktree is when you have the knowledge now to host your own. Using my custom splash page
Here, the URL is branded, the webpage is not brilliant but gets the job done, my contact information is directly available, and there is a portal to explore all that I do.
Building Your Own Splash Page
You’re ready to amplify your brand and own more of your links by building your own splash page, but don’t know where to start. These are the steps I recommend taking.
Purchase a domain name, for example via Godaddy.
Decide on a website builder, and build your site. I use Wix.
Add a page that will be used to replace your Linktree, and title it Splash.
Include only critical information on this page so as not to overwhelm visitors. I suggest having three sections: the latest, your profiles, and contact info.
In section one, where a visitor's eyes will land first, include copy along the lines of “read my most recent article!” and then link your most recent article. This can be adapted for the type of content you’re sharing — video, photos, music, etc.
In section two, include all of your social profiles, including your newsletter. I suggest using icons. You can find icons using Flaticon.com or Google searches.
In section three, be sure to include your exposed contact information, not one of those cold “contact me” forms.
Test your page. Do all the links work?
Once all the links are live, copy and paste this URL into your Instagram bio, and other places that you’ve been using your Linktree.
Your splash page is live. Now you need to keep it up to date. Get in the habit of updating this page every time you release new content.
A bonus of using your own splash page is analytics. Most website building platforms will have an admin page that shows you the number of visitors to your site and the pages they visited.
Medium also will show you how many people arrived at your story from your splash page when you view stats for a given story in your dashboard. These insights are great feedback.
Linktree is advertised as the only link you’ll ever need. That used to be true. Now, the only link you’ll ever need now is your own. It took me way too long to do this — I hope you don’t wait.
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