Thursday, August 12, 2021

Create a FREE "Linktree"-Style Landing Page Using Google Slides!

I’ve noticed that several accounts I follow on Instagram use tools like to create these mobile-friendly landing pages with links to other relevant personal sites, shops, social media profiles, and YouTube channels. Linktree solves the problem of having limited hyperlinks in a bio by having one link that takes a viewer to any/all other relevant links.

So, I was thinking about making a Linktree account of my own, and started researching what’s out there. Most of these tools are “freemium,” which means that you can use the service with limited functionality for free, but if you want to use certain features (like advanced customization and removing branding) you’ll have to pay. Monthly. If it was a one-time thing, I may have actually considered it, but I already have too many monthly subscriptions, with services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney +, Paramount +, WOW Network, HBO Max, and Google storage plans... Oof. 

I devised a way to create an incredibly similar type of page - fully customizable - but without some of the fancy analytics and tracking, which I honestly don’t need, using Google Slides! Here’s how I made it happen:

First, I opened a new Google Slides file, and set the “Page Setup” size to 9”x16” - this creates a vertical slide that is good for viewing on most mobile devices. 

I found an image that I liked to set as a background. You can use a number of free stock photo websites for this, like
Pixabay, Unsplash, or Pexels. You can also use a tool like Canva to create an interesting background graphic or pattern yourself and then download it. 

Then, I used Flaticon (You can also use a site like the Noun Project) to find some social media icons that I can link out to my associated social media channels. 

I also inserted a profile pic and my name (I like to use “Insert-Word Art” to do this because I have greater control over the size and placement.)

I then used the “Insert Shape” tool and chose a rounded rectangle shape and filled it with a color that complimented my design. If you’re having trouble choosing colors, or want suggestions, try a site like Coolors to find some great color palette suggestions. 

The trick to getting your linked buttons all even and symmetrical is to create ONE button just how you like it, then copy/paste it to create additional buttons the same size. If you select all of your shapes at once, you can line them up perfectly by using “Arrange - Align - Center” command. “Arrange - Distribute - Vertically” will take your shapes and spread them out evenly with the same spacing! Try it out, it’s amazing! You can have as many or as few buttons as you want because it's YOUR custom page!

If you haven’t already, double-click on the button shapes to add text, indicating where the button will link out to. I have a number of different websites, so I had one that went to my professional development site, and one that went to the book I illustrated, among other things. Then, link the shapes to the corresponding sites. 

At the very bottom of my page, I added attribution for my icons via Flaticon. Be sure to do that if you use those sites! 

NOW… You will PUBLISH your slide to the web by going to “File - Publish to the Web” and click the yellow “Publish” button. I don't even mess with any of the other settings. Just copy the published URL!

Go to a URL shortener (I use and paste your URL to create a shortened/custom address. I chose for mine!

Your URL can now be used in your bios on websites like Instagram and Twitter, so that if someone checks your bio, they’ll now have access to ALL of your relevant links! Be sure to test all of your links out first before sharing it with the world.

I’m so proud of my custom landing page! It cost me ZERO dollars to make, no recurring subscription fees, and it’s 100% my own custom design. And because it was made with Google Slides, I can go back in and change/update it at any time and it automatically syncs - no editing of links in bio necessary. #Winning! 

- Jen

Google Certified Badges: Level 1, 2, Trainer, and Innovator

Monday, June 21, 2021

Digital Business Cards and Visual Resumes

Hey all, long time no see. Like many of you, I've been really overwhelmed with... everything. We don't need to go into it. But I'm finally feeling a little more inspired lately to create new things and have more fun. Well, slowly but surely. It comes and goes in waves. I think you know the feeling. 

In any case, I'd like to share something fun I've been working on, inspired by a mini-assignment in my Google Certified Coach cohort through the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (aka IDEA). We were tasked with creating a Google Slide to introduce ourselves, and it dawned on me how useful this could be for things like Twitter chats or email signatures as a sort of digital version of your business card... I mean, it's not like I've been giving away too many of my paper ones lately... !!!

This is pretty simple and fun to do... just lay out your design on a Google Slide by inserting a pic (or Bitmoji), your contact info/social links, any pertinent badges, logos, or professional affiliations... and then File -> download as -> your preferred image file type! 

PRO TIP: I like to use Insert -> Word Art for my name, as it gives me greater control over the color, outline, and sizing. 

Now, if you really wanna level up your game, you could save this slide as a .pdf so that any/all links are functional - making your digital business card a landing page out to all of your other related work and contact channels! My friend Beth did this on hers and it was pretty dang impressive. 

Yet ANOTHER option would be to add and save your final digital business card as a .gif! Then you could add a fun animation or other attention-grabbing element to your design. 

So, this assignment got me thinking about other opportunities to represent yourself visually... I decided to try out something similar with my Twitter banner/header. My goal was to create a visual resume of sorts, highlighting the things I would typically include in a written resume:

(Haha I just realized that at the time, I was only ONE person away from 6000! Help me out, y'all!) 

I was thinking, if someone had no idea who I was, and they were to click on my profile, what would my profile say about me? Twitter bios are quite limiting in size, so how could I get a whole bunch of info out there quickly? Using my iPad and my favorite app, Procreate, I created this collage of images:

You could create something just like this using free tools, like Google Slides/Draw, too!

My previous banner was our group photo from the Google Innovator cohort, so it was important to me to keep that as a prominent item, but I wanted to add information about being a presenter and PD provider, too. So, I added a series of pics of me highlighting these experiences, along with a photo from the Illinois State Teacher of the Year banquet where all of the finalists got to meet the Governor. I then layered ambassador badges, credentials, and other professional affiliations related to the pictured roles near each photo. I even snuck in the Coding to Kindness book cover on the screen of the last photo! 

I've been thinking a lot about re-designing my digital presence lately... this is just a start. I also am playing around with a new blog header, and possibly re-vamping some YouTube channel art and things like that. 

Do you get the urge to re-design your profiles and webpages every so often? Got any tips or tricks on what's worked for you?

- Mrs L.
Google Certified Badges: Level 1, 2, Trainer, and Innovator