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Think Before You Link from your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of October 2005 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

ME “Liz” Strauss has a good post over at Successful Blog called Think Before You Link which has five factors to consider before adding a link to your blog post:

  • Does this link clarify what I’m saying here?
  • Have my readers seen this link 10 times already?
  • Is this information they will care about?
  • If the link does belong, label the link and credit the writer.
  • Will this link take my readers away forever?

Nice list. I’d add a one more thing:

  • Have I read what I’m linking to? – I suspect that some bloggers fail to do this and feeling the pressure to post high levels of content link to almost anything they find without checking to see if it’s link worthy.
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 and LinkedIn.
  1. Thanks Darren for thinking of me and linking with me.

    I like the one you added. I always do that. Darn I wish I had though to add it to the list. Ah, but then that’s why you are the master and I am just the Liz. :)

  2. I try to link only at the end of a post. That way it doesn’t force them to make a decision half-way through. There are often times when I’ll break my rule, but usually only if I’m genuinely excited by the linked content.

  3. I just learned the hard way: triple-check all the links to make sure you’ve put in the correct url.

  4. “Will this link take my readers away forever?”

    Don’t we owe our readers the best information possible even if there is a chance that they may like the other site more?

    I like to believe that providing your readers with the best information should be the first priority before worrying about readers going away to the site that you just showed them. If the site that you are linking to is awesome enough that it will steal your users then it will happen eventually any way because your readers will end up finding that link sooner or later. I’d rather have them find it through me than someone else.

  5. *blush* Guilty as charged. I admit to not fully reading some of the things I post to. This is on my Portable Entertainment site (www.goplayav.com) which aims to collate news and reviews. I scan them but I should read them more thoroughly simply to become even more knowledgeable in my niche.

    I have to ponder the second one a bit more. 10 times is not many on the internet and if I don’t link to something because of that, am I not then fulfilling the objectives of my blog? Will my readers ask “You blog on this – why didn’t you link? Yours is the site I come to for this sorta stuff.”

  6. Another thing that may be needed to consider and where you link in regards to SEO. If the link is to a low pagerank site, this could possible hurt your site’s ranking.

  7. Robert says: 10/31/2005 at 3:06 am

    In response to: “Another thing that may be needed to consider and where you link in regards to SEO. If the link is to a low pagerank site, this could possible hurt your site’s ranking.”

    This is VERY misleading. Linking to a low PR site, that is relevant to your site’s topic won’t hurt you. The whole issue of “leaking” PR by linking to low PR sites is very overblown. The only thing that can really hurt you is linking to sites that Google has given a PR penalty to or FFA links pages.

    If you’re linking to quality, on topics sites, PR won’t matter.

  8. […] “Liz” Strauss from Successful Blog wrote about what you should consider before putting a link onpost. It’s all about doing the best for your (my) readers. So yes, this is especially a good reminderme who can put lots of links in a day (including this one). One particularly intriguing point is “Will this link take my readers away forever?” Right. You read something interesting,and put that link on your blog, readers will most likely visit your blog only to go to that link… forever? (Will you come back later?) Another good point came from Darren Rowse of Probloggeradd one point: “Have I read what I’m linking to?” A good point. And that has been the policy in my blog here. So, think (and read) before youlink.    #     […]

  9. I like to put links at the bottom of the post where possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. For example, if I’m quoting, I feel I have to put the link immediately before or immediately after. Another place is when I think someone may be unfamiliar with a term , so I link to a good explanation.

    One thing I never worry about is whether I’m sending them away. If my content is so boring that you don’t come back, well, that’s the way it is. I can’t entrance every human on the planet, and don’t need to either – a small subset of appreciative readers will do just fine, thanks.

    I’m also unconcerned if most readers have likely already seen it – I try to use title tags that would alert them to that so they needn’t bother if they have seen it, but I’d rather have the link there for the one person that has no idea what I’m blathering about.

    Finally, I never link just for linking’s sake, though I’m sometimes tempted by the same reason ChrisH gives – but if I don’t have anything to add or argue about, I don’t do it. I’ve sometimes thought of putting up a weekly page of “this is stuff I thought was interesting but had nothing to say about”.. but it just doesn’t seem to fit my personality.

  10. Another factor to consider is the future of the website you are link to. Will it be there a few years down the road? It really sucks to have a site you link to frequently be taken over by another industry (think not family friendly).

  11. What I hate worse than disappearing websites is webmasters who rearrange their pages and don’t do anything to help the person who came there from a stale link.

    I understand that sometimes it may be necessary to change the structure of a website. You may need to because you changed content generator tools or because a filename has an unfortunate name and can be read some other way, or because you screwed up and put the link in the wrong place to start with.

    But other people have linked to you – and you would think that anyone with a website or blog would understand that if someone clicked on a link and came to you, the last thing you want to give them is a 404 page. We get enough of that anyway from mistyped links, right? So if you had a page and have moved it, put in a redirect to the new page.

    If you don’t know how, search for “htaccess redirect” at the site under my nickname above. Or Google search for the same thing.

  12. I do fall into the trap of linking without looking sometimes. I really do give myself a credo that I live by with my blog -> “Look before Link”. I tell myself that I must look over what I am going to connect my blog. I feel that my links are a reflection of my insights to my readership.

  13. This is a transöation for our German readers:

    * Habe ich wirklich gelesen, wohin ich verlinke?
    * Interessiert meine Leser was sie dort vorfinden?
    * Kennen meine Leser die Seite nicht ohnehin?
    * Wie oft habe ich schon selbst diesen Link gesetzt?
    * Erklärt oder Erweitert der Link den verlinkten Text inhaltlich?
    * Erklärt der verlinkte Text was hinter dem Link zu finden ist?
    * Funktioniert der Link jetzt und auch dauerhaft?
    * Wenn ich glaube mit einem Link meine Leser zu verlieren, sollte ich über meine Inhalte nachdenken.
    * Wenn mir mein Pagerank wichtig ist, verlinke ich nicht auf gebannte PR “0”-Seiten. (Das sollte aber bei relevantem Inhalt auf der Zielseite nicht vorkommen)

  14. Hi Darren,

    nice list. I’m missing TrackBack here :-(
    I think we shouldn’t think to much about Google-PageRank-stuff.
    Remember: It’s-just-a-company! Think more about good content and produce more (new) content yourself then linking.

    To make it short: Fight meta-content…

  15. […] Reading Darrens newsfeed from his blog named problogger.net I found some nice tips about when to link from your blog. […]

  16. pcunix,

    the way I overcome the problem of changed links (rather than rely on someone else ;-), is by using a program like Web Trends to do a weekly check if all outbound links – from every single one of my webpages – are complete, and unbroken. ( Netmechanic, from memory, I believe gives you a free check).

  17. I make it a habit of posting a link to another blog in my topic community. For example I cover the Phillies (baseball), when they play an opposing team, I include a link to another blog that follows the opponent.

    Is this a good practice?

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