Why I Ditched LinkTree & the Simple Solution I Use Instead

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OK friends.  I'm here to tell you that you do NOT need to do all the things.  Or jump on the bandwagon of every new app or tool out there.

For those of my fellow creative business owners who use Instagram for business purposes, many of you have probably heard of a tool called LinkTree.

For those of you who haven't, LinkTree allows you to create button styled links that can be changed up on a moments notice.  Sure it is convenient, and especially useful for any of you who don't yet have a website.  {For the purpose of our conversation, I am going to assume most of you already have websites.} The free version also shows you very basic analytics on how many folks clicked on your buttons.

But if you truly want to customize your color scheme, remove the LinkTree logo and/or receive advanced analytics about your link engagement, you are going to have to sign up for their pro plan at $6/month.  Now that doesn't sound like much.  BUT so many other apps and services are going to subscription based models, and these "little" monthly costs can add up quickly.  Am I right? 

Besides $6 is an extra fancy coffee drink.

And if you have a website, you want to use those precious link clicks to drive traffic THERE, not a third party app or service.  So we are going to dive in and I'm going to show you how to do just that.  I'll showing you how to set this up on SquareSpace, but the broad concepts should translate to other website platforms as well.  Are you ready get started?

 DISCLAIMER: What I am sharing here is what worked for me.  If you choose to give it a try, great.  But you take full responsibility for the results and any repercussions on your site.  This also assumes you have a basic understanding of how to navigate your web platform.

DISCLAIMER: What I am sharing here is what worked for me.  If you choose to give it a try, great.  But you take full responsibility for the results and any repercussions on your site.  This also assumes you have a basic understanding of how to navigate your web platform.

STEP 1: SET UP A NEW PAGE

Log in to your Squarespace site and pull up the Pages sidebar.  Create a brand new page under the Not Linked section.  This means your new page will not show up in any of your navigation menus. Choose a blank page template and hit save.  I recommend you title your page something like "social", "social links", "hello" or something else that's short and friendly.

You will notice your page will still have your site header and footer showing.  We are going to hide these in Step 2.  Most lead type pages do not show your website header and footer information because you want folks to focus on what your page is offering.  {Incidentally, this is the exact same strategy I use to set up my own lead pages on SquareSpace!}

STEP 2: HIDE YOUR HEADER & FOOTER

This part requires a little CSS know how.  I am no coder and have completely bumbled around until I figured out the right set up that works for me.  If I can do it, so can you!

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Pull up your page settings (the little gear icon when you hover over the page link on the left hand menu bar) and click on the advanced tab.  Now the exact CSS coding may vary slightly by theme.  The fastest way to find out the right #element name is to right click on that element and choose the "Inspect Element" option.  Simply switch out the # if need be.

In your Page Header Code Injection copy and paste this:

<style>#header { display: none; } #header-controls {display:none;} #footer { display: none !important; }
  #preFooter {display:none;}
</style>

If you want to customize the color of your link buttons to something other than you site's default options, use the following code instead.  Change out the color hex codes ( i.e. the #9bbec5) to your preferred color.  You can find out your color code using a color finder like this free online tool here: http://hslpicker.com/

<style>#header { display: none; } #header-controls {display:none;} #footer { display: none !important; }
  #preFooter {display:none;}
.sqs-block-button .sqs-block-button-element--small {    background-color: #9bbec5 !important; border-color: #9bbec5 !important;}
</style>

Save your new settings and the header and footer should magically disappear from your social page.

STEP 3: ORGANIZE YOUR LINKS + SET-UP LINK TRACKING

Using a spreadsheet, gather and organize your links.  It takes a few minutes but will make your life SO much easier, you will thank me later- I promise!  I recommend a setup like this... this tracks the link purpose, link text, link itself and the link we will be using so we can see the analytics.  You could also add more colums to keep track of those analytics and progress.  This is a screen shot of my actual file in Google Sheets.  Fill in the first 3 columns with links and information you will want to feature. You may not want to feature them all at one time, but having them organized in a central setting makes it easy to swap out and stay organized so you can track your numbers over the long haul.

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Once your spreadsheet is set up, open a new browser window and head over to https://bitly.com/.  Snag yourself a free account if you don't already use the service.  Use the information on your spreadsheet to create bit links that mirror the name and link destination so you can easily track your engagement. 

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Copy the bit.ly link and paste into the 4th column.  Now we are ready to create the actual page!

STEP 4: DESIGN YOUR SOCIAL LINK LANDING PAGE

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Start by adding your logo as a photo.  It will be huge, but no worries.  Add a content block spacer to either side and then adjust until the logo is centered and a reasonable size.  Click the bottom dot of the spacer content block and drag until they are acting like long vertical margins.

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Under the logo, start inserting button blocks.  I recommend using the small button as it is more phone friendly.  Center the text.  Keep adding buttons until you have all your links loaded. Make sure you use the bit.ly link so you can track your engagement.  What you can measure, you can grow and perfect.

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Finish it off with a Social Links content block to make all your contact details relevant. And don't forget to save your hard work.  When you want to update this page simply pull out your spreadsheet and delete or add buttons as necessary.

STEP 5: ADD THIS PAGE ADDRESS AS THE LINK IN YOUR INSTAGRAM BIO

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And there you have it friends!  Your very own FREE branded version of LinkTree. 

If you aren't yet, follow me over on Instagram @dmicheleperry for inspiration, brand education and wholehearted encouragement.