Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to write a Link Post.
How has blogging grown from something that a relatively small number of people do into the massive medium that it has become? There are many reasons for the growth of blogging but one of them is that they are traditionally a very outward looking and linking type of website.
When I first got into blogging many blogging blog platforms didn’t even have a comments feature built into them and the linking was even more prolific than it is today. One blogger would see something written on another blog and would add to the conversation by linking up. Another blogger would spot the conversation and would link to both the previous blogs and the web of links would mount up until the story went quite viral. Including outbound links in your posts were seen as normal and a healthy way of blogging with numerous benefits.
These days the link is still an important part of blogging, but with on site comments and with some bloggers quite purposely avoiding outgoing links as a strategy to keep readers onsite I sometimes wonder if the outbound link is less a feature of modern day blogs than it used to be.
Of course there are plenty of blogs out there that do nothing but ‘link posts’ and that simply regurgitate what everyone else is writing (saying nothing original) – but perhaps somewhere between the blog that never links and the one that does nothing but link is probably a happy medium.
Tips for Writing Link Posts
So how do you get the balance right between healthy outbound link posts and poor ones? Here are a few thoughts on how to write a good link post:
- Keep it relevant - the key is to keep the posts that you do relevant to your blog’s overall topic.
- Link to quality – in the same way that you do your best to write quality original content, ensure that the posts that you link to are of a good standard also. Step one for this is to actually read them! Before linking up ask yourself – will this link be useful to my reader or not?
- Add something of value – purely linking without adding anything of your own can do your readers a service (in that it helps them find good stories else where) but adding something of yourself (an opinion, comment, review, suggestion etc) will help your reader to know how to interpret and apply what’s been written in the other site that you link to. I find that readers appreciate even just the smallest comment to help them decide whether to visit the link and how to interpret it when they get there.
Types of link posts:
I tend to write a number of different types of link posts on my blogs:
1. Speedlinking – I’m still not sure who came up with this term but it’s something I obviously do every few days here at ProBlogger. For me it’s simply a collection of a handful of good posts on my topic from my day’s surfing. Sometimes I theme them around one topic, but generally they are from the wider spectrum of ProBlogger type topics. These posts are a list of links with a very brief comment on each one.
2. Quote and Link - these posts are predominantly a quote (or two) from another blog/site, with a link back to the source. Some bloggers simply make the post the quote and link – but they become more valuable to your readers if you add a few of your own thoughts and comments.
3. Compilation Link and Quote Posts - I’ve not done many of these for a while but another technique that some bloggers use quite successfully is to pick a topic and then go hunting for a variety of quotes on that topic. In a sense this is a combination of ‘Speedlinking’ and ‘Quote and Link’ strategies but the quotes are often a little less recent in terms of when they were written.
4. Links in Posts – I guess the other type of link post is when links are used within posts as a way of giving an illustration or example of what you’re talking about. In these posts the links become a little secondary or supportive in their nature while the content takes the primary focus.
Homework – Write a Link Post
Your homework today is to write a link post on your blog. Go surfing through other blogs and sites in your niche and find something that you’d like to highlight to your readers. Link up!
Feel free to head back to this post to show us how you did it so we can all learn from what you’re doing. Please only include links to new posts when you do this.