This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

July 15, 2019

Why Instagram doesn't allow links on posts

Every once in a while I see someone try to do a link on an Instagram post. And it doesn't work because Instagram doesn't allow links on posts.

If this is confusing to you, it just has to do with how links have been abused on social media. A link, or "hypertext" was what the internet was designed to do - you would click on something and it would take you somewhere else. It was a way to explain more, like I'm doing here, if people cared to read more about it. In fact, the term HTML (which is what all web pages are based on) stands for Hyper Text Markup Language - the whole idea was to connect pages together with hypertext, or links.

Sadly, links became a problem just about right away. Instead of a link taking a person to read more about, it could take a person to some terrible place, or even take them to a scam page. And so links became something that people became suspicious of, and rightly so.

So when Instagram was created, links weren't allowed. You can only do one link, on your bio page, and that's it. If you try to post a link on an Instagram post, it just sits there, looking like a bunch of garbled text - it isn't clickable. That's why you'll often see on an Instagram post: "link in bio", which just means that you have to go to the "about" page for that particular Instagram poster, and look for their link. Of course there's no guarantee that it won't take you somewhere awful, but if you know the Instagram poster, me for example, you know that I don't do that. I'm a good guy, or what the web calls "White Hat" (you know, like cowboys who wore white hats).

Most people who use Instagram will go to a bio page to find out more about a particular Instagram poster. If there's a "dead link", or if the poster has been mistakenly trying to post hyperlinks in posts, you know that they've probably set up some kind of automatic system, which posts from somewhere else, and they're really not on Instagram. This doesn't mean that they're a bad guy, but it does mean that they'll never see your comments, or likes. Many businesses make this mistake, and while it doesn't necessarily mean that they're doing anything wrong, on Instagram doing robotic things always looks a little shady.

My advice has always been to avoid automatic "robot" stuff. If you don't have the time to post something unique on Instagram, then just don't use Instagram. If you like Instagram, use it. I like Instagram a lot, and I look at it, and post on it, every day.

I hope this helps.

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