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In the never-ending quest to optimize the single link that you're able to share on Instagram (in my profile), I've been trying out a number of solutions. I would go in and paste my most recent permalink, but that only lets me feature a single post at a time, and I have to remember to go in every time I publish a new post, and update the link.
Then I tried out Linktree, which is a lovely free service, with a couple of issues for me: I didn't love any of the color schemes available with the free plan, I felt like it was missing a branding opportunity, to have someone else's domain in that valuable real estate of my Instagram profile.
I tried creating a category, Welcome from IG, and then using a category landing page (you can see the remnants of that experiment right here) This was an OK solution, but I didn't love the long URL using a category generated (http://morethanthursdays.com/category/see-more/) so it wasn't quite right. I had long ago set up my personal domain shortener with Bitly, so I could create shortlinks with morethur.com, but the free Bitly tool doesn't allow you to customize what comes after the slash unless you upgrade to the no-way-in-heck-can-I-afford-it Enterprise solution.
(I'm starting to feel a little like Goldilocks at this point)
So I decided I would have to do it on my own. Using a combination of plug-ins and little Google-fu, I managed to put together a customized landing page for my Instagram profile that I LOVE. Keeping it on my own site gives me the benefit of those clicks for my traffic, lets me control every aspect of how it looks, and lets me present a branded, professional package to potential clients and brands.
Build your own Instagram landing page
Step 1: Build the landing page
The plugin that I found was the perfect solution is called Beaver Builder and it's a WYSIWYG editor. It adds a functionality called Page Builder to your editing options. Create a new page and then launch the page builder.
Beaver Builder is super intuitive to use, and so easy. Set your number of columns in the “Rows” tab, and then you can choose Images or Text (or whatever) from the “Modules” tab.
When you add the image, be sure to scroll down and set up the clickthrough URL as well, at the bottom of the window. I chose to use all thumbnail images for consistency; you can easily keep the whole image visible, and change the height of your columns. But for me, I think squares are the best bet and my preferred layout.
Repeat until you have all of your images and posts locked in; I chose to do 8, and then added 3 evergreen links to my popular categories, Star Wars, Harry Potter and our teardrop trailer. (Here's my page link for quick reference)
(Optional) Step 2: Choosing a shortened URL
In an ideal world, I could have purchased morethu.rs, but the .rs domain extension was discontinued a few years back. I spent some time brainstorming, crowdsourcing my Facebook friends, and bugging my husband about what might work. We eventually settled on lizz.blog, which I was able to purchase from GoDaddy for $25. Easy peasy. There are lots of great resources around to help guide you in this shortening decision, and only you know what's right. When you buy this domain, you don't need hosting or anything to go with it, so don't get sucked in! It took about 5 minutes to log into my GoDaddy account, put the domain in my cart, and check out. DONE. The next part is what connects the URL to the ability to shorten…
Step 3: Connect URL Shortener
Like I mentioned above, I'd had a Bitly account set up with morethur.com for a while now. It's a great tool, but I was always bothered by my inability to customize what came at the end of the url. I mean, which looks nicer: morethur.com or lizz.blog/read-more? Because they both go to the same place.
I did some research and came across Rebrandly, and it turns out it's the perfect tool! It's free to use, I can customize my URL, and it lets me change the text that comes after the slash.
Connecting the new domain to Rebrandly was SO easy. There are just two fields that need editing in your DNS Manager, simple copy and paste, and then a couple of hours later everything was propagated and I got an email letting me know it was ready!
Step 4: Publish your page and shorten your link!
Once the new page that you made in Step 1 is published, copy and paste the URL into Rebrandly and customize your URL however you like! I went with /read-more, but may do some testing to see if different wording performs better.
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