Kevin at LexBlog has a post that has got me thinking. It’s called Best blogs send audience away. In it he refers to a post by Jeff Jarvis which talks about portals and how they try to lure you in to them and keep you there as opposed to what Google is doing (get you in and out as quickly as possible).
Kevin rightly points some examples of some great blogs that are great because they find great content elsewhere and point their readers to it. They are great because they find useful information and collate it in the one place – often adding their own insights, but also quite often just putting up links so that people can explore for themselves. They are successful because people know that they’ll point them to quality information on their topic of interest.
Does this mean that the best blogs should all do this?
I would argue no. There are other models in my experience also.
Another model is quite the opposite and is embodied over at Steve Pavlina’s blog.
In comparison to some of the blogs that Kevin points out Steve Pavlina rarely links to anyone but himself from his blog. Take a look at the front page of it and you’ll see that the only links in his posts (at present – and he might update and make a liar out of me) are internal links to other parts of his blog. The only outbound links on the page are sponsors links.
I know some people have critiqued Steve for this – someone told me once that he’s not a real blogger because he doesn’t link out – I disagree. While I enjoy blogs that have lots of outbound links I also enjoy blogs that don’t .
The key if you’re not going to link out is that you’ll need to have high quality content that people find useful and unique. It will be what you write that draws people to your blog and keeps them coming back for more rather than what you link to.
Of course these are two extremes of blogging and many (if not most) bloggers fall somewhere in between – with some link type posts and some longer original content type posts.
Is one method more legitimate than others? I guess that’s something each person will have their own opinion on, however my own opinion is that they are just different and both can work.
Each method will have its challenges:
No outbound linking blogs have the challenge of building relationships with other bloggers. One way to get on the radar of other bloggers is to link to them and without this you’ll need to find other ways of getting the attention of others.
Blogs that link out ALOT can be more challenging to monetize (if that’s what you’re into). Having short posts without much actual content and lots of links can make it difficult to use AdSense (which likes lots of content) and if people are always clicking on your links they are less likely (perhaps) to click your ads.