Writing Challenge: Create a Link Post for Your Blog

link_icon_blackIt’s time for another writing challenge – today is all about creating a ‘link post’ for your blog.

Link posts used to be the bread and butter of bloggers but have become less popular over the last couple of years – but I think they still have real benefit for your blog – so I challenge you to create one today.

Once you’ve published it I’d love to see what you’ve created in the comments of these show notes below.

You can listen to todays episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment).

In this Episode

  • The way things were with link posts and why they were good for the blogosphere
  • Why link posts have become less popular
  • Reasons to consider using link posts on your blog
  • 6 types of link posts to try (choose one for todays challenge)

Examples of the 6 Types of Link Posts

Let me also give you some quick examples (all taken from the archives of ProBlogger) on the 6 types of ‘link posts’.

Other Tools/Links Briefly Mentioned in todays Episode

Also check out Feedly as a good RSS reading tool.

Share Your Link Post In Comments Below

On day 2 of this challenge I challenged you to write a ‘list post’ and many of you wrote and then shared links to the lists you wrote. You did so well and I enjoyed reading them.

Today I’d like you to share you newly published ‘link posts’ in comments below.

Please only share newly written posts and please also take a moment or two to surf around some of the links that others share so we can get to know other bloggers taking this challenge.

Can’t wait to see your posts!

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Welcome to the ProBlogger Podcast episode 7 and day 7 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Today, your challenge is to create a link post for your blog. It’s a little bit retro, something I used to do in the early days of my blog, that’s disappeared a little bit from the blogosphere, but we’re going to bring it back today and I look forward to seeing your posts. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/7. 

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to just draw your attention to our wonderful sponsor, 99designs, who make it easy for your next project to get off the ground with a quality, affordable design. To get your logo, business card, mobile app, blog template, or other blog creatives up and going, visit 99designs.com/problogger and get a $99 upgrade for your next design for free.

Hi, this is Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to day 7 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, where I’m giving you 31 different challenges to help improve your blog. Today, we’re going to write a blog post. It’s been a few days since we’ve done one. I think day two, we did a ‘write a list’ post and today we’re going to write a link post. A link post is a post where you are simply linking to another blog in some way. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? And it is. It’s actually something that I used to do a lot on my blogs, but over the years, things have changed a bit.

When I started blogging back in 2002, the link post was probably the most common type of post that I saw bloggers doing. A lot of blogging revolved around the sharing of links on the blog. One blogger would write a post, and then tens if not hundreds of other bloggers would link to that post. But they didn’t just link to it, they would build upon it, react with it, disagree with it, talk about what they liked about it in some way.

It was cool, it was a great thing. Ideas really spread quickly through the blogosphere as a result of these link posts. Relationships with other bloggers grew with every link that you gave. Ideas improve when you add to someone’s idea with a link post, when you disagree, when you react to it in some way, everyone seems to get a bit smarter. Of course, traffic flowed from one blog to another. We all grew as a result of it. It helped each other’s search engine optimization and the direct traffic was great, too.

But things have changed. Today, links are still being shared on the internet, but they’re being shared in other places, less so on blogs. More of it’s happening on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. This is fine, this is great, it’s actually a good thing to do. You can still get some of those benefits that I mentioned earlier, but sadly some of those deepening of ideas, I wonder whether that’s been lost a little. It’s hard to share a link on Twitter with someone and then add to the ideas or disagree with it or really say anything of great value in just 140 or so characters.

The other thing that’s happened over the last few years too is that some bloggers are becoming a little bit more competitive. “I don’t want to share links with competitors,” which is a bit sad. There are a few reasons why I think you should consider linking from your blog, not just social media, to other blogs. 

Firstly, it can be highly valuable to your readers. Good links, useful information, and then adding your own ideas to that, is actually really useful to your readers. Sure, seeing your links being shared on Twitter could be good, but if you can actually give some context of why you’re sharing the links, your readers are going to go and read that content better informed and better primed to benefit from it, and they’re going to thank you for that. It also builds your credibility to show that you’re well-read and that you’re not afraid to share links to people who might be considered to be a competitor. And it does build relationships with other bloggers. It breaks down some of that competitiveness that I was talking about earlier.

Today, I challenge you to reclaim the link post. Even if it’s just for one single post, just to see what happens. The links that you share today, I want them to be of high value, high relevance, and timely. Not too dated. Sometimes, content over time loses a bit of its value because it’s not as up to date, irrelevant for today.

Now, before you go away and write your post, I want to suggest six different types of link posts that you might try. It’s not simply about writing a title, putting the link, and then ending the post. You want to give it some context. Here are six different types of link posts.

The first one is to build upon the point of others. If someone else in your niche has written a post, maybe a list post—10 Ways To, 10 Reasons Why—build on it, share the link, highlight a few of the good things that the other bloggers touched on and then add your own 11th point, 12th point, 13th point. What would you add?

The second type of post that you might want to do is to take the opposite point of view of another blogger. This is where you put up a post and your link to someone else has stimulated your thinking, but then you show your own different experience, perspective, or opinion to what someone else has written. This might be a little bit threatening to some of us who don’t like to be confronted with our posts, but you don’t have to do it in an attacking or nasty way. Be thoughtful, be respectful, share your view, you might actually find that the other blogger appreciates your frankness.

The third type of post is to build a resource on a particular topic. You might want to pick a topic that’s relevant to your blog and then spend some time researching to see what other people have written on that topic previously. You could share your research simply as a simple list of links for further reading. You could say, “Here are 10 posts that I found on the topic of,” and that could be as simple as your post is. Or you might want to write a little bit more. You might take those 10 posts and write a short paragraph on why you like each one and then include a screenshot from it or include the main point or even a quote. That way your readers are getting a little bit more than just simply a list of 10 links.

The fourth type of post is what I used to call on ProBlogger speed linking or a wrap-up post. This is simply where you share a list of what you’ve been reading lately from around your niche. The links may not all relate to the same topic, but they all loosely do. What I used to do in Digital Photography School is once a month, I would do a wrap-up post. Trending great links on photography from around the web, I think it was what I used to call them. Those posts did really well. Our readers love them and the other sites love them too. They used to link up to those all the time on their social media account, so we’ve got a lot of traffic back from them.

The fifth type of post that you might want to try is the one-question interview. This is something I started doing back in 2005 on my first blog, but it’s become really popular over the years on many blogs. You’ve probably seen it many times. You simply email a number of other bloggers in your niche and you ask them all the same question. Just a single question to comment on. They need only respond with a sentence or two or longer if they want, and then you compile their responses into a post. You might want to add some of your thoughts, point out some of the common themes in the answers and then you’ve got a really interesting post.

And then the sixth type of link post is simply where you add some further reading to another normal post that you write. You might have written a tutorial on a particular topic and then at the end, instead of just having a further reading to other posts you’ve written that are relevant, add in a couple of links to someone else’s posts. Those types of simple extra links deepen your post, take it to the next level.

Another thing that you might want to do today is to set up some sort of a system for reading other blogs and collecting interesting links that you can share. Whether you end up sharing them in blog posts like we’re suggesting today, or whether it be for social media. The challenge is to subscribe to other blogs and then use an app like Flipboard or even BuzzSumo to find really interesting content and then have some sort of a collection tool. It may be simply having a text document where you put all the links or you might want to use a tool like Evernote or Flipboard to bookmark those interesting links so that you can come back for them and share them later.

Really, it’s about setting up a system that is going to help you to keep abreast of what’s being written in your niche and provide you with interesting and relevant links that you can then share with your readers. But the main challenge today is to write a post and publish it, a link post. I hope you find it a useful exercise. I know for me, there’s been different times where this type of post has actually become what I do one day a week. It might be Fridays, or it might be once a month, the last day of the month is links for the month. This type of post can be relatively easy to write, but really useful to your readers.

I really hope you enjoy today’s challenge. I love these types of posts and I’m looking forward to seeing the post that you create. Please go to problogger.com/podcast/7 and share the post that you create today. I would love to see what you come up with. When you’re there, also click around on some of the other posts that other people who are listening to this podcast have submitted as well.

One of the things I love about the 31-day challenge is you get to see other bloggers in action. I’ve seen all kinds of wonderful friendships, and collaboration and partnerships emerge from people checking out what other people are only. But not only that, sharing what other people are doing and commenting on what other people are doing, I really would encourage you to get around and see as many of the posts as you can today. You might just find a friend, you might just find a new reader for your blog, you might just find a new blog that you love to read as well. So, head to the show notes, problogger.com/podcast/7.

I’d also like to thank our sponsor today, 99designs, who have really helped us out in getting this podcast up and running. I’d encourage you to check them out. If you’re like many of our listeners and in the early stages of getting your blog off the ground or are thinking about starting a new project off the side of your blog, whether it be an ebook or a podcast, your to-do list is probably a mile long, but there’s one task you should tackle sooner than anything else and that’s your branding and the graphic design that you need to support those projects. 

You can get maximum creativity with 99designs. The online marketplace where dozens of designers compete to deliver the best design for your project. You get to choose from the ideas created just for you from awesome designers around the world. I’ve met some amazing designers on 99designs. 

When you’re just starting out, you want to get your logo designed, but 99designs also make it really easy to get other things round your visual identity sorted out with other designs like blog themes, banner ads, and social media creatives as well. Whatever your business needs, really. Your brand could very well be the best business investment that you make and get the help you need to do that at 99designs.

When you’re ready to do that, head over to 99designs.com/problogger and as a ProBlogger listener, you’ll get a free $99 upgrade to use on your first design. Check them out today. Thanks for listening today. I’ll talk to you tomorrow on day 8 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Check out this Offer from 99designs

Also check out the great offer our friends, and new podcast sponsor, 99designs have for you (worth $99). They’re a fantastic place to go if you’re looking for any help with graphic design in your blogging.

I use their services and have worked with some great designers to create graphic design creatives for my blogs.

Pick up the 31DBBB eBook at 50% Off

Don’t Forget You can also grab the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook with a 50% discount using the coupon code PODCAST50 during the checkout process here.


Enjoy this podcast? Subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS for free to get free blogging tutorials and podcasts in your inbox each week.