Cadu de Castro Alves, and has company Blast Marketing, have built a WordPress plugin aimed at social media users and influencers on popular platforms such as Instagram. The plugin, WP Link Bio, let’s website owners build mobile optimized landing pages, with a user defined list of content, to be used as the sole link available to users on social media for to attach to their profile.
Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself and your company’s history with WordPress development?
My name is Cadu, I’m CTO and co-founder of Blast Marketing, a digital marketing agency based in Lisbon, Portugal. We’re specialized in WordPress, digital strategy, SEO, metrics, and online ads.
I’m a digital nomad and while I answer this interview I’m in Barcelona, Spain. But I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
I started my journey building websites almost 20 years ago. Back in 2000, my father had web design classes at work. I borrowed all his books and CDs and started learning HTML, CSS, Photoshop, and Flash by myself.
In 2003, I started the Electrical Engineering course where I had my first programming classes. I failed terribly in the first class and got reproved.
Almost at the same time, I also failed in a job interview because I didn’t have programming skills. I was interviewed by the owner of the company and Cold Fusion was a requirement for the position.
He kindly told me that if I learn any programming language I would be a better professional. He was totally right and I’m so grateful for the advice!
Back home, I started learning Cold Fusion but very soon I discovered that hosting was very expensive. Then, a friend from college recommended me the book “PHP: The Bible” and I started learning PHP.
Late 2004, I launched a blog powered by WordPress. It was version 1.2 and I fell in love with it!
I started blogging about my life, web design and development tutorials, including WordPress. I quickly became an authority in the Brazilian community because I helped a lot of people to launch their own WordPress blogs.
I worked as a web developer from 2003 to 2010. I built hundreds of websites and apps powered by WordPress. Almost all of the projects I was involved in I developed custom themes and plugins for.
In 2011, I was running a coworking space in Rio de Janeiro and got involved in the local WordPress community by organizing and supporting meetups. I had talks at WordCamp São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Rio de Janeiro. I co-organized WordCamp Rio de Janeiro in 2014 and 2015 and was the lead organizer in 2016.
What’s the best way to explain to people who aren’t familiar with how Instagram bio links work just exactly what WP Link Bio does?
There is only one place to add a link on Instagram: your profile bio. And you can add only one. It means that you can’t add clickable links on posts.
WP Link Bio is a plugin that creates a mobile-optimized landing page with unlimited links. You can add links to blog posts, products or services, WhatsApp, your Facebook profile, your YouTube channel… anywhere you want to take your followers.
Once you create this page, you can add the link to your profile and you don’t need to change this again. Ever.
Let’s say you want to promote a new product on your Instagram. The first step is to add the link to the product page via WP Link Bio. Then you publish a post on your Instagram and ask people to visit the link in your bio.
What gave you and your team the idea to start developing WP Link Bio in the first place?
My agency manages a lot of Instagram profiles for clients. We needed to add multiple links to their bio and tried other tools available in the market.
But some clients wanted to use their own domains and we also needed to integrate with Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and Google Tag Manager to monitor and track all clicks and traffic coming from Instagram.
We didn’t find any free solution on the market at the time.
Once we also manage their websites, and they were all powered by WordPress, building the plugin was a logical decision.
Was there any specific part of developing WP Link Bio that proved to be especially difficult? If so, why was that particular feature complicated for you to put together?
The first version of WP Link Bio took about four hours of code. Since I installed and setup the plugin I built it as simple as possible.
When I decided to launch to the public I knew it needed to be polished and easier to use by anyone.
For example, you can set the page background color using a hexadecimal code. In the first version, I used a simple text input. In the public version, I used the jQuery color picker plugin included in the WordPress core.
When you create something for internal use only you don’t need to worry about those things. Therefore, my target audience is not technical so it must be as simple as possible to use.
How are you going about marketing WP Link Bio to Instagram users. There are several products similar to yours in this space so it must be difficult to set yourself apart from the competition.
People and business that have WordPress powered websites are my target audiences. One of my strategies is to find competitors’ users that run their websites on WordPress.
The free version of WP Link Bio has the same features as other tools, but it’s the only one you can use your domain for free. In other tools, it’s a paid feature.
Do you have any specific advice for other WordPress developers who may be considering building plugins that target the social media/influencer space?
Talk to people about their problems and challenges before building anything. A lot of people try to create something without validating the market. I made this mistake a lot of times in the past and it cost me time and money.
I built WP Link Bio because of what my clients needed and because it fills some gaps that other tools don’t.
Discover the needs and the gaps and fill them.
What can your users look forward to in future updates for WP Link Bio?
WP Link Bio is a freemium plugin. The Pro version includes advanced features like a template to display the latest posts and integration with WooCommerce to display and sell your products right into Instagram. We’re always open for requests of new features.