A while ago, Linktr.ee came to my attention. There were talks of Twitter banning the popular service – which, if you don’t know, offers users the possibility to present their social and other links in an easy to use way. Although I am not much of a developer, the first thing I thought was ” I could easily program this myself!”
Today I added “Create own version of Linktree to my ever growing list of things I’ll likely never do. However, a reference on a page drew my attention, an option for people to “subscribe” to a profile. I couldn’t immediately figure out what that meant, so I decided to do some research first.
I opened the Linktree site, and at first glace it all looked really slick. However, it felt like they had way too much to say about a website that just lets you add some links. As I scrolled down, however, I started to realize they offered more features than I thought.
Once I started exploring their features, I realized I was way out of my league. My initial take of “it’s just a simple way to add some links” had been unfounded. Starting with the “subscribe” feature, visitors have the option to “subscribe” to a profile so they can get updates from a creator. On the other end, the creator can notify these subscribers when they add or edit something. This is done by simply clicking a bell icon.
It’s hard to measure the value of this feature, but I’m going to guess it’s “a lot”. It removes the burden of having to go to every social media platform and yell “Hey, I changed a link!” or “Hey, I added a link, please go to X to see my Y.” Instead people who care enough will be automatically notified, without having to update them over social media, e-mail, newsletter… yourself. This simple feature could be a huge time saver for people.
However, it was the other features that sold me on Linktr.ee being more than “just a place to add links”. It offers customization options I could only dream of adding to my own app, and on top of links it offers other options like embedding the last YouTube video, TikTok video and more. With a subscription, you can even start selling content directly through Linktr.ee without having to touch a piece of code.
Going through all the features that Linktr.ee offers would take too much time. It took me an hour or so to navigate through all of them and get a real understanding of what they are all do.
Some of Linktr.ee’s customer reviews mention that the page is replacing their website. I could see how Linktree could replace a lot of functionality of what most people use websites for. There are a lot of people out there who simply use their website to link to their socials. For those people, Linktree might be the perfect replacement. Personally, I feel like there’s a little more to a website than that. It offers you the option to write a proper “About me” page, for starters, something most “Bio” sections on social media are severely lacking in. Linktree is no different in that department. In fact, Linktree seems to think that everyone should already know you before they end up on your Linktree – which is probably true – because the room you’re given to write your bio is very restrictive. That’s why the first link I created was a link to my very own website (the one you are reading).
Linktree might not be a website killer, but it certainly is a feature-rich platform that it easy to use. It can be used as a central stop for people who don’t want to run a website. Content creators should have no problem paying the monthly fee to create a one-spot stop for all their socials.
Building my own seems futile
After taking a look at all the features Linktree offers, I decided to archive the idea of “I’ll build my own!” Would it be a good development exercise to build my own, limited version? It likely would be. However, I am not a hardcore developer. I don’t have the intention to spend my free time on “programming exercises” simply to “get better”. I’m not against the idea of learning through experience. It’s one of my favorite methods to learn.
In this case, I need to be honest with myself. The development projects I do feel excited about all offer something “new” or “cool” to learn. Alternatively, they are possible cool solutions to “problems” I wouldn’t mind working on.
The “your own link page” problem isn’t one of those things. There are either two ways I could imagine building this. One is a very simple approach where a view connects to a database, and you can add or remove links. I am not particularly excited about this concept because I already know exactly how to tackle this problem. On the other hand, there’s the option to create a multi-user platform. This option would be far more time-consuming and if I ask myself whether I know enough people that would be interested in using the platform, the answer is “no”. As with any solution that I mostly build for “other people” it would just end up in disappointment or pre-disappointment during development.
In the end, the conclusion is that spending my free time on building a “custom” Linktree app isn’t what I want to do right now. That could change as soon as next week when I’m truly bored, but where things currently stand I don’t see it happen.
So why dedicate an entire blog post to it? Because it’s not often that I want to “just build it myself” and get schooled in features and ease of use by a tool.
I made a Linktree, by the way. This is me => https://linktr.ee/torettox84.