It is day 7 in the 31 Day challenge and today’s task is to write a ‘link post‘ – a post that links up to at least one other blog.
Someone asked me recently to name a few ways that I built a readership on my first blog. One of the answers that I gave to their question was that I was generous with linking to other blogs.
I wasn’t alone – back then (we’re talking 7 years ago) blogging revolved around the link. One blogger would write something and it wasn’t unusual to have hundreds of others link to it with posts that built upon the ideas of the first post in some way.
The result was that
- ideas spread across the blogosphere quickly
- relationships between bloggers grew with each link
- and as a result everyone’s blog grew
While this still happens today on blogs to some degree much of the sharing of links has moved to other mediums (like Twitter and Social Bookmarking sites) and it’s commonplace for a blogger to rarely link to other blogs on their blog because they’re either doing it in other places or they feel they’d be building up a competitor.
Your Task Today is to Link Link Link
Today your task is to reclaim some of this practice of linking to other blogs and to write a post that highlights what another blogger (or bloggers) in your niche has written.
Reasons to link out on your blog
- Giving something of value to your readers – while your readers come to your blog to read what you have to say – I find that in almost every case that I link up to quality content that readers are appreciative.
- Builds Your Credibility – regularly highlighting what others are writing in your niche shows your readers that you’re abreast of developments in your field and that you’re ‘connected’ to the network.
- Builds Relationships with Other Bloggers – there’s nothing like sending another blogger traffic to make an impression and build connections. Not only that, when you link to others in a constructive way that actually builds upon their ideas and adds value to a conversation that they’ve started it can often lead to ongoing interactions.
- SEO – some SEOs argue that linking out to other relevant content in your niche with relevant keywords as anchor text can have an impact upon how the search engines see your own site. You don’t want to go over the top and link out too much – but a few links to quality content on your topic may well show a search engine that you’re worthy of authority. It’s certainly not the main factor in Google’s algorithm but many argue that it helps.
The key with this task is to link to something of value – something that your readers will find relevant and helpful to them.
Of course building this practice into your blogging means you need to be aware of what’s happening in your particular part of the web. To do this you’ll probably want to:
- Subscribe to other blogs and sites in your niche
- Watch social bookmarking sites that cover topics in your industry
- Subscribe to ‘news alerts’ with tools like Googles News alerts etc
6 Types of Link Posts to Consider
There are many ways to link up to another blog in a way that is valuable. Let me give you a few suggestions on ways to do it that go beyond just giving your readers and link and saying ‘go read it’:
1. Build Upon the Points of Others – take an article that someone has written and then add some points and perspectives that they might have missed or not considered. A classic way to do this is to take a list post that someone has written and add an extra couple of points. For example if someone writes a post ‘21 Ways to Write Posts that Are Guaranteed to Grow Your Blog‘ – write a post ‘3 more Ways to Write Posts that Are Guaranteed to Grow Your Blog’ that links to the first post – that might pick up a few of the points and then extends the article by suggesting 3 of your own points.
2. Take the Opposite Point of View – another way to bounce off someone else’s post is to explore the opposing point of view to their post. You might do this as ‘devils advocate’ or because you actually believe the opposite of what they’re saying is true. Keep in mind that this might not build a relationship with the other blogger if you do it in a way that offends!
3. Build a Resource on a Topic – pick a topic in your niche and then spend some time what other bloggers in your niche have written on that topic previously. What you’ll probably end up with is a list of posts from other blogs all on the one topic. You could present them simply as a list of links or could state the main points from each post or even use quotes from each one. These types of posts often do well in social media sites – particularly if you gather a large list of helpful resources on the topic.
Example: DIY Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers – this post was simply a collection of tutorials that others had written on a similar topic. I included a picture and short description of each one as a list. The post was passed around the web in many social media sites. Yesterdays post here at Problogger 27 Must Read Tips and Tutorials for Bloggers would be another example of this.
4. Speed Linking – I used to do this regularly on ProBlogger (example) (note: I’ve moved most of it over to my Twitter account). The idea was that on a given day I’d link to 5-6 posts that I came across in my daily reading for that day. The links generally didn’t relate strongly to one another but covered a broad range of topics that I felt were relevant to my readers.
Example: a while ago I wrote a post 25 Great Photography Tutorials and Links from Around the Web. It was simply a collection of a few great tutorials that others had written from the month or two before when I published the post (plus a few of my own links from our archives). This post made it to the front page of Digg and other social media sites simply because it contained some great tutorials.
5. One Question Interviews – this one takes a little co-ordination and advanced planning but is when you shoot a question out to another blogger (or bloggers) to get their perspective on a topic relevant to your readers. I find these most effective when you email the same question to 5 or so other bloggers in your niche and then compile all the answers into one post side by side so your readers can see different perspectives.
6. Suggest Further Reading and Give Examples – another common way to linking to others as well as creating value for readers and extra depth in your posts is to to add links to what others are saying on your topic in the day to day writing of posts. Your post might not be a ‘link post’ in and of itself as you cover a topic comprehensively from your own perspective – but this doesn’t stop you giving your readers some suggested reading at the end of your post on the topic at hand.
There are 6 suggestions for you but there are so many others that you could try. For more ideas check out a post I wrote called How to Add to Blogging Conversations… and Eliminate the Echo Chamber.
What others have said on this topic:
Your Task – Write a Link Post
OK – we’ve talked about why and how to do it – now it is time to go and write a link post. Once you’ve done it come back and tell us how you did it, what you learned, where the post is and what impact it has with readers and other bloggers.
PS: if you can find something relevant on another 31 Days participants blog it’d be great to share some link love to other bloggers in the community. I’ve seen quite a few 31DBBB participants starting to team up and support one another – why not reach out to someone today and see where it leads! There are loads of people over at the forum talking about this now: Day 7 – Write a Link Post
This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.
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