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Link Posts – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 4

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. #3 and #4 are definitely exceptional. I definitely agree. Great article and series. Will be coming back for more and doing my homework now too haha ;).

  2. Great post Darren…Im on the job and will link up later!

  3. Eve says:

    Another great assignment! Would linking to several services count, like a list of plugin sites, or social sites, or does this apply only to other blogs? Or is that a silly question? :-)

  4. Danilo says:

    Excellent tip! I always like to link to others. Besides adding credibility to the post it also helps create a community so readers are more informed. But, always remember to add your own point to it or else you readers might just migrate to the other blog.

  5. Great advice, I definitely agree with this all the way. I think linked services is okay… because they’re helpful to others.

  6. Deb says:

    Darren, I thought you coined the phrase “speedlinking”? Is it a public domain?

    But I love this assignment because it works great with my weekly letter post so I don’t have to do 2 posts to be faithful to the readers who look for these letters.

    And I agree with everything about evaluating sources before linking. Good job.

  7. Mahala says:

    I wrote a post that integrated two of your suggestions, a list post and a link post, located here: http://hiddenmahala.blogspot.com/2007/07/boob-tube-obsessions.html

  8. I call Saturdays “Community Days” on my blog – OneJobTwoSalaries.com. This is the right time for contribution to community. So, this Saturday I will post my next Link Post.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Regards,
    William

  9. Brian Free says:

    I wrote a version of a link post:

    http://www.bfreedom.com/?p=241

  10. Kim says:

    I surf looking for information on what earmarks specific trends I see building up to significance over time. So, my posts are often links to posts that reflect the points I am trying to make over time. My last post was about a Youtube video that was an impressive piece of art in motion. I’ve posted art in motion several times now in the blog but the expressions are very different….one engages the reader in the process and is done for the sake of the process, another engages the reader in the process but is also concerned with the end product and one creates product out of it that is also functional, but all are indications of living creatively, peacefully, and meaningfully with technology. That is actually one of the themes running through the blog, and is stated as such in one of my postings. I generally pull from another blog or from something I’ve come across on Youtube that I think yields promise and will copy some of the wording, word for word, but in all cases I put my own spin to it such as this one: http://trendbites.com/interactive-branding-or-the-internet-of-all-things/
    and so more often than not, my posts are built around links that support a trend I see in the making and I will add to that over time in continuing posts to further support that….like I also have this crazy thing about t shirts and I keep getting fantastic info on t shirts about every other day and it will often create even more interesting subject matter in the process. So as a rule I try to keep my posting simple to not overwhelm anyone in the process. It can be alot to digest. Maybe. Let me know what you think.

  11. MajoTajo says:

    Darren,

    Great post I like it, I actually did my homework hope you are going to like it because I am helping other bloggers to make money too.

    Let me know what you think ?

    http://www.bontb.com/2007/07/how-to-begin-blogging/

  12. Bret says:

    I’m a little behind on today’s assignment but did finally manage to create a short post about the blogs that I read on a daily basis. Article includes links as required. :)

  13. Where did your blogging groove go Darren?

  14. Claudine says:

    I used to think that linking to others lured readers away from your post. I was wrong! Quality links establish you as the expert as long as you have something to say about the post. Blogging is so social; it’s wrong to be stingy.

  15. Bush Mackel says:

    I’ve been learning so much from coming here lately. I think I’m going to start a link post myself, but will probably keep it to the weekends. I figure that way, I can showcase some work by my friends on the web – I’ll get some content up, plus I won’t be slaving away the entire day on a post. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Jason says:

    Sweet. Those do seem like good strategies for creating link posts.

  17. I’m working on mine right now. I decided to write a link post instead of what I originally planned for today…I’m thoroughly enjoying this week of writing challenges. :)

  18. lucia says:

    Well.. I can offer a link to a post that used link technique #4. I reviewed the initial impact of the blogs ChrisG assigned. I found his post from our link post. Darren, I love your blog and have for years. But you might want to see how it looks loading on a slow browser.
    Blogs that Scare Me: Content Loads Last.

    Sorry. I hope this didn’t seem too trollish.

  19. CatherineL says:

    Great info. Personally I prefer doing number 4 – links in post, so I’ve done this one for this challenge: Virtual Living – Will it Improve our Lives or Suck the Life Out of Us?

  20. Darren Rowse says:

    lucia – we’re working on it and you’ll see a completely new and fast loading problogger in the coming month.

  21. John says:

    I am sooooooo digging this blogging groove series. I’m loving the entries that others have been posting, as well.

    Here’s mine for day four:

    Do You Relax in Your Kitchen?

  22. Deb says:
  23. jen says:

    Here’s my homework for the day – Bits and blog bobs – 20 July 2007. I’ve included a link to your post and made a suggestion for another way to get your blogging groove back.

    I too am enjoying this series and look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  24. Um, I did this on Wednesday.

    This is one of two styles of link posts I generally do: in this one, I provide news updates and a link to a current news item somewhere, along with a link back to the old news item in my archive.

    The other style of post I do is closer to your “Speedlinking” posts.

  25. lucia says:

    Darren– great! If you give tips on how to do that, I’d love to read them. The reason I was so attentive to Chris G’s homework is I’m planning to get around to actually designing a template for my new blog. When I started the “money” blog, I just went and found an “out of the box” template. But to make a reall good new one, I need to come up with my criteria myself.

    I really do love your blog and have read it a long time. In fact, when knitting bloggers get together, different once grouse about how little adsense returns. Then I mention I make $200 a month in summer and $400-$500 in winter and they say things like “Geeh. I make $10 a year!”

    I used tips I learned here, applying in a way that makes some sense for a knitting blog!

  26. Hi there everyone! Have just read a gazillion posts from problogger, and as such I am swamped with information right now. I’m new to blogging, and had high hopes when I started out last week. I didn’t know it was this difficult! I started by making quite a plan, but now I really don’t if it’s gonna work. Am I doing something wrong? Please feel free to leave a comment on my site:

    My blog project:
    http://newbiechronicle.blogspot.com

    Thanks for any help you can give. I’d really appreciate it.

  27. ciken says:

    i agree on term #3 and #4…he he thanks for the technique..

  28. Ramkarthik says:

    I wrote a blog post in my blog which is actually a question asked by a member in Chris G’s forum. But I have linked t the reader and the question. So I thought it would make to Link Posts. Here is the article I wrote:
    Right Time To Show Your Blog’s Stats

    Thanks

  29. I’m a bit out of order on my homework but here is my link post anyway .. my cat ate the last two, i’ll do them tomorrow, promise!

    One of my most popular styles is the editorial style link post, usually about arts news and particularly about the nude.

    Scrubbing Sexist Nudity

  30. m-hawk says:

    yeah, some external links here and there can add flavour to a blog


    http://m-hawk.blogspot.com

  31. Tom Hanna says:

    The Barter Blog really needed its groove back. There wasn’t much to say information wise on the subect and following the news on the topic got to the point of posting every press release by one company in the industry everytime they bought out a smaller competitor until most of the posts were just that. This site is on a topic I’m really interested in, but getting it back in the groove is going to be a challenge because there is only so much to say.

    I checked out a few of the Google Adsense advertisers from the site. (No, I didn’t click on their ads. I typed the URL from the ad text into the browser.) I wrote up a Speedlinking style post on 8 of them.

    http://www.barter-blog.com/?p=195

    We’ll see how this experiment impacts ad clickthroughs since I’m giving all 8 a free link in the body of the post and only left out about 1/4 of the advertisers that really didn’t fit the theme with the rest of them.

  32. MRA says:

    Excellent tips!
    I always like to link to others.

  33. Every Friday I post my Better Blogging Link Blast, which I build up throughout the week as I surf and stay on top of my feeds. By the time Friday rolls around, I’ve got nice cache of high-quality links.

  34. Jonathan says:

    Don’t groan at the title: http://jonathandeamer.com/2007/07/20/everyone-loves-a-slinky/

    ;-)

    Some great tips regarding not just dumping links in a post, but adding value with your own comments.

  35. Tim says:

    I don’t know if this way counts but I have taken to using del.icio.us as posting for those links. Rather than using the site as a collection of random bookmarks, I use it as a easy way to collect the sites I think readers would enjoy and then allow it to post daily from within del.icio.us.

    I just plugin in my blog info and the account I created for it and bam, it posts what ever I collect for the day. There is a comment section when you post to delicious. I use that as the conversation to the reader on why this site is nifty, useful or something they should read.

    The second thing is that my del.icio.us account and site become an easy repository for that info as well as a second community that may check out what I have on my site by looking at my profile. I also blog from within digg and flickr as well for more outgoing links.

    I dig the outgoing clicks because that means the readers actually invested in what I worte and wanted to see for themselves. Makes a better connection and possibly a back and forth conversation.

    Any rate, here it is:
    http://www.funkeemunkeeland.com/category/daily-links/

  36. Jan says:

    I would say that this is “almost” a typical link post from my blog (only just posted). I spend a lot of time finding and evaluating articles on a particular topic or theme and then list them with quotes and comments. This time I left the comments out because there are more links than usual (I do NOT believe in 101 links about this or that, but in fewer links pointing to actual quality) and a longer introduction and conclusion where I offer my opinion on the subject.

    How Blog Carnivals Boost Communities and Make Dreams Come True

    Because of the purpose and philosophy behind the Blog, which is reflected in it’s name are link post an integral part of my content.

  37. I do a lot of link posts on both of my blogs so today’s assignment was easy! Thanks, Darren
    http://summerwithgrandmotherwren.blogspot.com/2007/07/five-for-friday-great-old-summer-songs.html

  38. gameguy says:

    I really hadn’t considered doing this, but as I put it together it felt right. Here’s the post from my first “Surf Party!”

    http://play2relax.secretundergroundlair.com/?p=45

    Thanks Darren!

  39. David Mackey says:

    I mainly utilize the fourth method. I write reviews of the best websites I can find and include links to all the sites/companies mentioned therein as often as possible. But I like the other ideas as well, especially the speedlinking.