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Linking suggestions

© November 2005 Anthony Lawrence

Liz at Successful-blog.com posted on thinking before you link. It's worth reading, though I disagree with some of it, and it reminds me of other linking concerns.

Liz suggests:

 Will this link take my readers away forever? You
 wrote a post filled with good information. Check
 the link to make sure that readers can get
 back. If it's near a key point, maybe you
 shouldn't interrupt things. The link might work
 better at the post's end.

I put links at the bottom where possible, but sometimes it just doesn't feel right. For example, if I'm quoting as I did here, I put the link immediately before or immediately after the quote. It could be done with footnotes, but I don't care for that style. I also link when I think someone may be unfamiliar with a term, even though 90% of my audience surely won't need the definition - unless I'm sure all readers will grok it or can find it easily with a search, I'll put in the reference link.

One thing I never worry about is whether I'm sending readers away. If my content is so uninteresting 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 a link I provide - I try to use title tags that would alert them 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.

Liz reminds us to credit the writer. I'm not sure that's always necessary - the link itself is credit, I think. However, mentioning the writer by name doesn't hurt if you want to do it, and I do toss it in now and then.

Finally, I never link just for linking's sake, though I'm sometimes tempted - 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.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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