In “Why a Link Post Should Be Like Mingling at a Party,” my friend Jan of Circular Communication described it this way.
Imagine you are at a party. You mingle and meet someone you know. You do not know her well, but well enough to appreciate her. You also have an idea what interests her, but not in detail.
Across the room you spot someone else. You go talk to them. They seem like interesting people. You may even know some of them from previous parties. Since they are open and welcoming you quickly get to know them.
Since you like them, you want your acquaintance to meet them. Taking them by the hand you cross the room and introduce them. Simply saying their names, where they are from and suggesting they should talk to each other you leave them to themselves.
What do you think happens next? I think she is likely to chat with a couple of them, but having nothing to go on and no common denominator. Is it unlikely that she by herself are able to pick the one(s) she would appreciate talking to the most. As a consequence the meeting may not only be short lived, but also somewhat unsatisfying. Imagine that you instead had taken the time to introduce each of them properly…
…She represents your readers and the other people are the articles you link to in your link post. How to connect the two is the key to the strength and length of the connection…I am not against speed linking as such. I just think you can do so much more if you take the time trying to do it better and ask your readers to do the same.
Jan did a beautiful job of communicating the true joy of linking, summarized with this statement:
When you write a link post let people know what you are linking to, why you link to it and what’s in it for them. Make clear that it is relevant and why. Qualify what you link to and you will find that people appreciate that they are better able to pick what interests them. That they are not clicking away unprepared.
I’ve talked about linking before and how to improve your link recommendations, using words to describe the link destination to the reader to encourage them to leave their site.
The web is an amazingly powerful and influential place. If you walked into a store and asked for something the store didn’t carry, a good sales person will help you locate the item based upon goodwill. If they treat you right, the odds increase for your return. On the web, when someone recommends another place off their site, and the recommendation is solid, not only will they probably come back, they often bring their friends by complementing you through social media channels.
That’s the true power of the link.
Your blog exercise today is to look back at your past posts and how you link, and plan on linking better in the future.
Begin by checking your stats. Which “clicks” or external site links are your readers clicking the most?
Check out the blog posts with those links in them and make sure you are recommending these sites well.
Now check your assumptions. Think back across all the posts you’ve published with links in them to other sites. Why are those links not getting as much attention as your most popular clicks? If you think they should be getting more attention, more clicks, go back to those posts and check how you framed the recommendation to click the link. Edit the posts to make the recommendations more influential and clear.
The more you help your readers understand why they should click, the more likely they are to do so, whether it is to external sites or to your previously published content.
Articles on Linking
These are articles and blog exercises on linking and how to make your links count on your site.
- Blog Exercises: Backlinks
- Caring About the Little Links on Your Blog
- WordPress Tip: Finding Future Post Permalinks
- The Magic and Fun of Incoming Links
- Blog Exercises: Connecting All the Pieces of Your Site Together
- Blog Exercises: Sharing Without Context
- Blog Exercises: Building Blogger Relationships
- Blog Exercises: How to Link to Comments
- Blog Exercises: Increase Your Thank You Ratio
- Blog Exercises: What Are Your Reference Articles
- Blog Exercises: How to Respond to a Trackback
- Blog Exercises: When Will You Not Link?
- Blog Exercises: How Many Words in a Link?
- Blog Exercises: Blasts from the Past
- Blog Exercises: What is Your Posting Response Assessment?
- Blog Exercises: Trackbacks
- Blog Exercises: Weekly Link Roundups
- Blog Exercises: Quoting and Blockquotes