Feed are changing how we write links in our blog posts. Have you noticed?
There are two types of links. Absolute links are the most commonly found links in web pages today. They go directly to the source such as:
A relative link is one that links relative to the page without the full address, such as a link within the blog’s site. A relative link to the same article from within this blog would be:
<a href="/2007/02/25/monetizing-wordpress-plugins/" title="Monetizing WordPress Plugins">Monetizing WordPress Plugins</a>
When your blog post is delivered via feed to a feed reader, relative links have no “relative” from which to determine a starting place. When clicked, they will link to nothing or return a 404 Page Not Found error. This is not a good link to include in a feed.
When I first developed the Tagging Bookmarklet for WordPress and WordPress.com users, I included relative links for the site search tags. At the time, my feeds were set to excerpt or summary, so the bottom of my posts with the site search tags was never in my feeds. I have recently changed to selective full content feeds and now the site search tags appear in the feeds – as relative links. Yikes! Time to change them to absolute direct links!
A common mistake I find in many blog posts is the use of the URL without the
http://. This turns a link in a blog post like:
<a href="www.blogherald.com/2007/05/03/if-you-see-this-the-content-is-stolen/" title="If you see this the content is stolen">If You See This The Content is Stolen</a>
to this from my blog:
<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/www.blogherald.com/2007/05/03/if-you-see-this-the-content-is-stolen/" title="If you see this the content is stolen">If You See This The Content is Stolen</a>
Do you think that link will go anywhere? The browser assumes that since the
http:// is missing, it’s a relative link. It’s not. It’s a link to nowhere that needs fixing.
Any time you link within your blog post to another post on your blog, you may be tempted to use relative links – but don’t. Use absolute links so the link will work from within your blog’s feeds. And get the
http:// part of the address in there so the browser knows the link goes to a web page.
Check Your WordPress Theme Template Files for Relative Links
While you are at it, check throughout your full version WordPress blog and Themes for any relative links that might be slipping into your feed. For example, if you use a WordPress Plugin for generating related posts or other post meta data, are the links full absolute links or relative? They are usually absolute, but look closer.
I’ve done a lot of custom work with my WordPress template files on other blogs which includes using a combination of template tags which generate absolute links and hand coding other links as relative links. Lost in the code confusion, I’ve often overlooked these relative links. When that information goes into a feed, those links lead nowhere.
Define Your Link Destinations
Whether viewing your blog post on your blog or via feed readers, if you link to a non-traditional type of link like a file, email, or ftp site, let your reader’s know before they click.
If you are linking to a file, call it a file and put the size of the file in parentheses:
get the file, How To Do It (1.5M), for more information
If you are linking to a PDF file, put (PDF) after the file name. If it’s an FTP site, use (FTP) in the parentheses after the link if the link anchor text isn’t clear. For an email link, make sure it’s clear that it is an email and not a link to a contact form.
There are times when the link you want to link to is only available for a short time, such as a newspaper article which requires registration or membership fees to access after a week or two. Explain this in the text around the link or add an explanation in or after the link in parentheses such as article on DNA research trends (requires registration).
Since your blog readers now have options for how they read their blogs, especially with the improvements in feed readers, help them understand what it is they are going to click on before they click.
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- Customizing Your Feed Titles
- Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Designing Blogs For Feeds, Search Engines and Audience
- Playing with WordPress.com New Sidebar Widgets
- WordPress.com Widgets – Customizing Your WordPress.com Theme Sidebar
- Customizing RSS Feed Links for WordPress.com and WordPress Sidebar Widgets
- Create RSS Feeds on Any Web Page
- Don’t You Know What a Feed Is Yet? Get To Know Your Feeds!
- WordPress Plugins for Feeds
- Creating Custom Feeds For Sites Without Feeds
- One Year Anniversary Review: What are Feeds?
- Content Theft from Feeds – It’s Time To Take Action
- Do You Need Permission to Use Feeds
- Feeding on Lorelle on WordPress
- Digital Fingerprints Help Track Blog Content Theft
- Blog Herald Feeds and Customizing Your WordPress Blog Feeds
Site Search Tags: feeds, wordpress feeds, writing links, wordpress links, how to write links, relative links, absolute links, link troubleshooting, links in feeds, feed links, troubles with links, blogging tips, wordpress tips, web wise, wordpress themes
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