Many bloggers publish weekly or monthly link roundups, highlights of some of the interesting sites they’ve found on the web. Most use a variety of automation techniques to generate this link list, bookmarking the web pages to a bookmarking program that helps them generate this list and release it once a week. It’s a lazy way of doing it, but link roundups can be fun and of value to your readers, too.
In this Blog Exercise, let’s look at the value and status of this long held blogging tradition.
If you are not familiar with link roundups or link lists, they are a list of links, usually no more than 10, with quotes or descriptive text recommending the article or resource to readers.
Some bloggers used link roundups for themselves, collecting links as they hunt through the web. The assumption is that if he or she likes the site, it might be of value to readers, but not necessarily. The resources are usually saved for their own purposes, like someone bookmarks a site or saves a clipping from the newspaper or a magazine.
Others focus on these link roundups as a fun way to share more than one resource with their readers and fans. Not all linked resources need an entire article written about them, and sometimes the collections can be fun, leading to a serendipitous experience for readers.
A blogging friend called link roundups as third-party treasure hunts. “I feel like a modern archaeologist and treasure hunter. I find the treasures and my audience gets the benefit of my hunt.”
Link lists can be the epitome of sharing on the web. However, the best link roundups are the ones that tie in directly with your subject matter, focused on what your audience wants and needs rather than random collections.
The format of a link roundup is as follows:
- Numbers or Bullets: Some bloggers set a goal for the number of recommendations. Ten a week. They like numbering their recommendations. Others just like numbers. In general, use bullets to structure your link recommendations.
- Lead with the Article or Resource Title: Much like this list, put the name of the site or article in a properly formed link and wrap it in bold to highlight it in the link list.
- Use Your Words: While it is acceptable to quote from the article, use your words to explain your recommendation. Tell your readers what you found of value and why they should click away from your site. Give them good reasons.
- Use Proper Quotes and Citations: When quoting from the recommended site, quote properly in compliance with copyright and standards for writing and reading. Use quote marks at the very least so the reader knows what is content from the source and what are your words.
- Link Roundup Post Title: Typical link roundup titles are “Links for Week 132,” “This Week’s Links,” “From Around the Web for the Week of Jan 4, 2013,” “Thursday’s Discoveries,” or just “Link Roundup This Week,” or variations on a Theme. If these are random links and resources, then it does not matter much what you call them. If they are on a specific topic, put that topic in the post title. If this is a weekly routine, title it as a series then add a colon followed by the date or subject matter.
Your exercise today is to create a link roundup.
Consider your audience. Would they appreciate just any random links or a specific collection of links? Run a photoblog or highly graphic and visual site? Consider making your links like a Pinterest gallery, each image linking to a site or article you recommend.
Experiment with this and have some fun. As always, once published, track the response to the post through your stats and audience response.
Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.