« Shape of the Future? | Main | End the War (on Drugs) »

July 24, 2008

Blogging 101 – The Importance of Links

An old friend recently started blogging and was kind enough to ask my advice.

Bonus hint #1: whenever you are about to write something that isn't a secret and isn't boring, turn it into a post on your blog. I'm taking my own advice.

The world wide web is all about links. Blogging differs from offline writing mainly in its use of links. Every two weeks I select one of my posts to run offline in some Vermont newspapers. Many of them simply can't be considered because they crucially depend on live links in them. Spelling out URLs on paper for people to type in is not at all the same thing. Blogger Galeal Zino posted a good rant on how dumb it is that his first grade son is only being taught to write on paper.

Links both help a blog attract readers and help a blog's readers find and access information and entertainment. Links are much more than just live footnotes but they are that as well.

The ethic of blogging is that you are always welcome to quote excerpts from another public blog provided that:

  1. you quote accurately (copy and paste preferred);
  2. you give proper attribution;
  3. you link back to the source blog.

The link serves multiple purposes: it lets your readers verify that you quoted accurately and in context; it helps your readers find more information if they want it; it is your thank you to the blogger you quoted and helps him or her attract new readers; it may get the blogger you quoted to read your blog; it may even get him or her to link back to you and help you get more readers.

Bloggers have many ways to know what sites sent traffic to their site including tools built into most blog hosts. If I see any substantial amount of traffic coming to my site from another site, I almost always take a look at that site to see why. If the site's interesting, there's a good chance I'll link to it at some point. Linking to other bloggers gets you their attention.

It IS bad manners to quote 100% of someone else's post without explicit permission. If you think your readers should read all of someone else's post, link them over to that blogger's site.

There is a mechanism called "trackback links" that is meant to allow one blogger to put a link on another blogger's post as a sort of comment saying "I blogged about this post here". Unfortunately, phony trackbacks are used as spam to increase traffic and google juice for sites so many blogs don't allow trackbacks. Fractals of Change does allow trackbacks; but, unlike comments, they don't go live until I OK them. Most ARE spam.

However, if you have posted something which significantly continues a discussion which began on another site, it is perfectly good manners to post a substantive comment on that site and include a link back to your post.

End of today's lesson. BTW, you can read Al's first post on why 3% down payments are a bad idea here.


| Comments (View)

Recent Posts

Defund Teachers During the Pandemic

Forward To a New Normal - The Scratch Version

Forward to a New Normal

We Need Massive Turnout and Unambiguous Results from the November Election

Should K-12 Schools Reopen?


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Blogging 101 – The Importance of Links:


blog comments powered by Disqus
Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 01/2005