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Is Linktree Free? Hidden Costs Exposed!

By Matthew Vultaggio

November 23, 2020

Whether you want to use Linktree for music or to simply up your Instagram game, it can be hard to tell if Linktree is actually free. I researched this further and wrote my findings here.

Linktree is not free to use because its key features are locked behind a paid subscription. Although there is a “free” version, it is extremely limited and is clearly only there to persuade you to access the full version by paying them every single month.

A quick look at their pricing (more detail below) will show you a laundry list of great features that you can’t use if you choose to use the “free” plan.

So… is the free version usable? Are there any decent Linktree alternatives that don’t lock you into monthly payments?

Let’s dive into this topic further and help you make the right decision, my friend. 🙂

The Danger of Linktree Being “Freemium” Exposed

Okay, a little bit dramatic with the title there, I know, but what I discovered when researching this topic was actually kind of scary. Particularly, what I found out about a marketing tactic called “Freemium”.

To start, I analyzed what you get with the “free” version of Linktree and compared it to what you get when you pay them your hard-earned cash. The results were annoying, to say the least.

This is what you get with the “free” version of Linktree:

  • Unlimited links
  • QR codes
  • Limited analytics
  • Pre-designed themes
  • Support
  • Sensitive Content Warnings

Now, compare that list to what you get with the paid version of Linktree:

  • Unlimited links
  • QR codes
  • Social icons
  • Leap links
  • Link scheduling
  • Priority links
  • Video links
  • Video link customization
  • Link thumbnails
  • Email list signup
  • SMS links
  • In-depth analytics
  • Premium and pre-designed themes
  • Button styles
  • Font styles
  • Change the header image
  • Change the background
  • Integrations with other services like Mailchimp, Facebook, Amazon Influencer Program, YouTube and Twitch
  • Extra marketing powers like UTM tracking and Facebook pixel tracking
  • Priority support

And, most importantly… you can remove the dang Linktree logo from your page!

Now you may be thinking: sure that is a long list but I don’t need those extra features anyway!

However, Linktree is using a marketing tactic called Freemium. With this tactic, the free plan is a trap, and the fact that it is initially “free” is the bait.

How the free version of Linktree is actually a trap

To get a better understanding of this, let’s look to the experts. There are actually several super long guides and articles on how companies can use “Freemium” to make more money off of people, and they’ve created the perfect definition of what Freemium actually is.

Freemium is a two-tiered user acquisition model that splits users into either a free tier or a premium tier depending on whether or not they pay for an account. Free users have limited access to product features while premium users gain greater access to features.

From Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Freemium

That definition comes from a very long guide and I don’t blame you if you don’t want to read it (link just above it you do!).

Essentially, a “free” plan is meant to do these 3 things:

  1. Get you on their system.
  2. Covertly show you all the great reasons you should actually upgrade and why the “free” version is not enough.
  3. Get you so used to their system so that you feel like it would be too much hassle to go anywhere else.

And what happens after the 3rd step?

You start paying them every single month and lose everything you’ve built if you stop paying them.

EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.

In other words:

So… what can YOU do about this then?

Great question!

Let’s have a look at the options you have available to you, my friend. 🙂

The Best Free Alternative To Linktree

As long as you can resist temptation, I want to start off by saying that starting with the free version of Linktree can be a great way to get your feet wet and get a feel for things.

However, if you ever want to get serious, it is important that you don’t get locked into paying anyone any monthly fees.

Giving up that kind of control is a great way to end up being stuck and wasting a whole lot of money.

You might be thinking $6 per month isn’t a lot of money, but that money can really add up. Not to mention that at any time Linktree can decide to raise their prices or announce new features that are only available on the new Super Duper Ultra Premium Plan for just $50 per month (note: the name of the plan and price are purely made up by me hehe).

On top of this, almost all of the direct Linktree alternatives follow this same marketing tactic. Ultimately, the issue with all of these is that you do not own the pages, you are simply renting them.

In fact, the pages they are provided are actually very, very simple to the point where I can’t believe how much they are charging. It is actually extremely easy to create your very own customizable Linktree-style page.

If you already have your own website, then you can actually do this for free. If not, then don’t worry it’s cheap, easy, and will end up saving you some serious cash.

Oh! If you end up creating your own website, there are several awesome hidden benefits you should know about (but more on this later).

How To Create Your Own Custom Linktree-Style Pages

There are two main ways that you can easily get started with creating your very own, fully customizable, better-in-every-way Linktree-style webpages.

The two ways are by creating a Squarespace-based website or a WordPress-based website. They are both great, but I personally use and would recommend WordPress for these reasons:

  • No monthly fees
  • More customization and flexibility
  • The option to use pre-made templates already in the style of Linktree, Toneden, Hypeddit, etc.

For a free step-by-step course on how to get started with this, check out my free course on smart links for music.

Here are the steps you need to follow to get set up:

#1 Get WordPress installed

The first thing you need to do is get web hosting, a domain, and install WordPress installed.

Sounds like a pain in the butt, right?

Wrong.

All you need to do is use a web hosting service like Bluehost that gives you a website domain and puts WordPress on it for you.

For a free step-by-step course on how to get started with this, check out my free course on smart links for music.

It is a bit of an investment, but you end up with a website that is good to use for literally the next 3 years.

On top of that, if you were to break down the costs per month, it would end up being $3 per month which is crazy considering what you will be capable of doing with your own website.

#2 Install a drag-and-drop Theme

This next step is optional, but I think it is crucial to easily create webpages that look great and do what you want them to.

Installing a drag-and-drop theme or WordPress plugin like Thrive Architect will allow you to visually create beautiful webpages without having to learn how to code or become a total nerd.

I personally use and recommend Thrive Architect because it’s amazing what you can create and they are constantly adding new features for you to use (seriously it feels like every week they add something awesome).

Alternatively, you can simply use the free WordPress page editor which will definitely do the trick. It just might be a bit bare-bones and not look as nice as it could.

However, a great option would be to get started with WordPress ASAP and use the free built-in editor. Then, when you are ready, you can always upgrade to a drag-and-drop editor! There is no pressure with this method and you won’t be stuck paying a monthly bill when you do upgrade. 🙂

For a free step-by-step course on how to get started with this, check out my free course on smart links for music.

#3 Find a template or create your own

At this point, you have everything you need to get started!

You can look for templates so that you barely have to lift a finger or you can open up other Linktree pages and simply start copying how they look using the drag-and-drop editor in WordPress.

I’ve even created a few free templates for you to get started, click here to grab ’em.

Best of all, you can customize these pages to your heart’s content and you’ve picked up an invaluable skill, you brilliant little website designer and developer you. 🙂

The Hidden Benefits of Having Your Own Website

Once you have your own website all set up, there are actually a crazy amount of extra things that you can do with it. I really wasn’t lying when I said that there are several awesome hidden benefits you should know about.

In addition to being able to create a Linktree-style page you can:

  • Build your own fully functioning website with a homepage, contact page, about me page, etc
  • Add in a Store page where you can start selling digital and physical products
  • Start your own blog so that you can drive organic traffic from SEO
  • Create dedicated sales landing pages to effectively sell a product or service

In addition to all of that, a website is a great way to start having people take you more seriously and to simply start taking things to the next level. Basic Linktree-style webpages are just the beginning, my friend. 🙂

Companies Like Linkfire To Check Out

Companies that similar to LinkTree include LinkFire, ToneDen, and Hypeedit. However, the best LinkTree alternative is to create your own fully customizable WordPress website because it is cheaper and more flexible when designing web pages.

If you do not want to go the DIY approach, and instead want to look up some other smart link competitors, here is a list of companies like LinkTree that are worth checking out:

Speaking of DistroKid…

Looking For The Best Music Distributor?

Although my top suggestion for a music distributor is definitely DistroKid, I’ve gone ahead and compared DK to other popular services in case you are in the market for a new digital distributor or are simply just curious.

Popular alternatives to a music distribution service like DistroKid include TuneCore, CdBaby, Ditto, and Amuse.

If you would like to see how DistroKid compares to these services, more closely check out this articles:

Or, if you would like a more detailed look into what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review. 🙂

P.S. If you also want to learn about music publishing and make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table with your music distribution setup, I’d recommend checking out these 2 articles:

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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