Interlinking! Is it YOUR idea of fun?
Natasa describes interlinking archived posts as “a blogger’s day in hell!” Strong words but I can’t think of ANY blogging task that horrifies me more than working through old posts to add links to new posts.
It’s incredibly time consuming! And if your main reason for linking posts is to get readers viewing more pages of your blog I’m not convinced of its benefit unless you have a high traffic blog where readers often visit older posts.
BUT…if you want to be a better blogger… make the time to complete this task. Since it forces you to reflect — what you liked or didn’t like about posts you’ve written; your changing writing style; how easy your blog to navigate.
What the task involves
How it works is you look your posts and, where appropriate, link to posts you have written on the same or similar topics. As Ken Allan highlights use links cautiously as you can turn off readers by overlinking.
For example, Adding a RSS Feed From Feedburner To Your Blog post has been linked to the different ways you can set up a subscribe by email feed to your blog and how to redirect all your blog feed to Feedburner!. These feedburner posts could have also been linked to Google Analytics posts.
Where possible it is always better to insert links inside the body of a post rather than use ‘read more on this topic at…’ link at the bottom of your post.
Other Handy Tips
If you really want your readers to follow your links DON”T USE Snap shots on your blog! IMHO they don’t enhance a readers experience and are more likely to encourage readers NOT to check out your links! Read other people’s view here on John Connell’s blog.
I would also recommend switching off Possibly related posts: (automatically generated) on the bottom of your posts. For the same reason I DON”T recommend the use of technorati tags on blog posts — your main aim with links is to encourage readers to view your content!
Interlinking Posts is the Day 4 task as part of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. While some tasks are more fun than others; they all do help you become a better blogger. Plenty of time to join us in the challenge — as you can see I’m working through it at my own pace!
What are your tips for interlinking posts? What is your advice for speeding up this process?
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21 thoughts on “Interlinking! Is it YOUR idea of fun?”
Another great post and so now I must add this blog to my reader. One thing I’ve always noticed about your blog posts Sue, is that you are always linking to other posts. I have found this to be an amazing feat. It tells me that you are highly organized and making connections consciously while writing. Not just in the usual way either. It’s quite extraordinary. I forget where I hear and read things. Not you. You can pull them up from the history of blogging at the drop of a hat. It makes it so easy for us, the readers, to learn more about some things and skip the things that don’t apply in the moment. It’s sometimes difficult to add links though. Like when you can’t copy paste what you want into some blog comments boxes. Is there a trick for that?
Thanks Gail. I do find it challenging to have the right balance of links.
I am assume you are asking about how to add links to comments. You need to use HTML. MMMmm thought I had written a simple post on how to write HTML for linking in a comment but I haven’t so will follow up and write this as I know people often interested in how it is done.
When I search for old posts of mine to link to new ones I either congratulate myself for tagging sensibly or I blame myself for being a reckless “tagger”. The last option being the most frequent; especially when using wordpress, since I’m constantly mixing tags and categories. And I often link to a tag rather than a post, well, in fact, after adding new tags to old posts. Will I ever learn? I’ve been practising for quite a long time… should have learnt by now.
I’m not a very productive blogger, so it really doesn’t take long to search my archives. However, the reflections that arouse from reading old posts are usually long. It’s a pity to avoid them.
Hi Gabriela, while I’m reasonably good with tagging and using categories I often find I can’t locate a post I’m looking for or forget whether I have or haven’t written a post. Definitely worth working through old posts – just wish it wasn’t so time consuming.
Kia ora Sue
I have to come clean here (thanks for the link) – I have a lot of experience working with webs at the time of what Michael Hanley taught me was the ‘peak of inflated expectations’.
What I learnt from that work is there are some things that, once recognised, need to be started right away else they simply get left behind – and you’ll probably never catch up.
The trick (if there is a trick) is in recognising:
1 what’s to be started
2 when to start it
Usually the when to start occurs almost exactly at the time you should begin to use it. But you may not recognise the need and so don’t start.
Choosing appropriate post labels (tags?) is such a task.
Linking to archived posts is another. I now do this when I see the relevance on my own blog. It has become one of the usual things I do when I write a post. I also put the linked post title into my blog index all at the same time (okay, okay – time to sigh now. Thank you.) 🙂
BUT I started doing all these things when I first saw the need, having gone sufficiently down the track to see the pattern of ways that could be used. I also went back and changed a few things early on when I realised the need for consistency and a particular convention. All this teaking takes time, which is why I’d not start it if way-down-the-track.
I would never recommend that anyone starts this task if they are way-down-the-track with their blog. It would be a nightmare and not be worth the effort. Natasa’s ‘bloggers day in hell’ describes it to a T (or an H?).
The other thing I have figured is that links to archived posts are less obtrusive if they are at the base of a post. A ‘fan of links’ (I get good milage out of that phrase now, thanks Sue) is not really what a visitor wants to be confronted with at the top of a post.
I have to say though, that once in place, it is a help to the blogger who want’s to find things easily in their own blog. Listing post labels can provide some help with this, and can be done in the Dashboard, or equivalent, without any special archiving needed.
Relevant linking within posts is really another issue.
Hi Ken, no problem re-link. Are the old index page. During the original 31 Day Challenge I did create an index page – I’m still not convinced of it’s benefit for readers on most blogs although it is probably helpful to the blogger to make posts easy findable.
The theory is if you use good tags and categories you shouldn’t need an index page.
Shall keep pondering.
Is there any kind of overall or automated indexing system yet for blogs? I write daily through the working week, most of what I write is about research and I find readers access my blog because they’ve used a search term or tag. Once they get to my blog, finding related information is a nightmare (and I can’t even find my own stuff!). I know my use of tags and categories is part of the problem, but surely if there is a ‘possibly related links’ engine, that can be used to search amongst your own posts?
Hi Bronnie, would love to offer an easy solution but there isn’t one. Ideally if you use good categories and tags it should help – but to be honest I struggle to find posts on my own sites.
There was a plugin for related post that you can use. But you need to have a self hosted WordPress to use.
Could you tell me if there is a way that I can add “BLOGS I READ” so that all my classroom blogs are listed below this link rather than taking up my entire sidebar? Working on sidebar clutter for my 31 days. Any help you can provide would be fabulous! Theresa
Theresa, The way I did it was using Google Reader to create the blog rolls, inserting it into a page and then linking to the page. Would you like me to explain how to do this?
First of all, thanks for linking to my post.
Yes, it was hard work, but it was a really useful thing to do. It did make me reflect on my old posts and it made me see the patterns in what I was writing about. You are right – interlinking probably won’t make the readers go through your old posts (I rarely follow links when I am reading other people’s blogs). I absolutely agree with you on Snap Shots – I find them distracting.
I have to say that I feel like a child who has been allowed to stay up late and talk to grown-ups. I am a beginner blogger and, the way things look now, I might stay a beginner blogger for the rest of my blogging life. So, I am really flattered by your linking to my post. BTW, like Gail, I would like to know how to do it.
Hi Natasa, no problem linking to your blog. Excellent blog title and you are writing really well. I’m always learning new blogging things so perhaps we are all lifetime beginners – and isn’t that better?
Sounds like I need to write a post on how to add links to comments?
Thank you, Sue. You are right. We are all lifetime beginners.
If you could write that post, it would be great.
Good thoughts on interlinking. I actually have enjoyed the related posts plugin I see on blogs because it helps me browse the content on their website.
Interested Howard – Are we talking about the related plugin that only shows content on their website or the one that shows content on the blog platform e.g. as WordPress.com does?
Allow me to give it a try. attempt #1
writing links in comments
1- I also write posts containing links to Related Posts on important topics that don’t deserve it’s own category.
2- Each post included on one of the Related Posts that I wrote will include a link to the post on Related Posts in the same topic.
This is an easy way I found to interlink posts that are related.
As an example: I wrote many posts about Delicious. While Delicious is my favorite tool, it is not an important topic for my blog, so it doesn’t deserve its own category.
I wrote a post with all the links to my posts about Delicious, Related Posts: Using Del.icio.us in Education
If you visit any of my posts about Delicious, such as Del.icio.us Networking Features « Onlinesapiens Blog you will fin a link back to my post Related Posts: Using Del.icio.us in Education
Finally I added a page on my blog with the links to all the related posts I wrote
That is definitely an easy way of ensuring the interlinking. The main reason why I haven’t ever done this method is because Problogger said that links within posts are more effectively than having a category at the bottom that says Related posts.
One aspect I wonder when I look at your blog is would it be worth you using tags as well as categories on your post? This might help with the whole issue of topics like delicious?
I agree with Problogger, but the worse you can do is to do nothing: no interlinking at all, no best posts. Just all your old best posts buried into your blog. This is what if found on most blogs.
A post from Lorelle about tagging and related posts for WordPress.com users. As far as I know blogs hosted by Edublogs.org have the same limitations
Note that my Bests Posts and Popular posts are manually selected. No automatic widget
I do use tags in my posts. They link to WordPress.com tag directory. It’s a great source of traffic!! If I post frequently it is easy to find my blog on WordPress.com directory on my most important tags.
I come from a self hosted Worldpress.org blog. I was used to the Related Posts plugin. Sadly that blog was hacked. My first reaction was to move my posts to a Worpress.com hosted blog.
But I would also ask how often do readers take time to read through a bloggers old posts? It isn’t that common. Not because they don’t want to but because of time limitations. I’m fortunate that both my blogs people do go back to the older posts.
Edublogs is slightly different from WordPress.com. We allow almost any embed code. However I’ve never been a fan of Technorati tags because I believe your aim should be to keep readers on your site. Technorati tags encourage them to go to other blogs.
Technorati, touch wood since not working well, picks up key words in posts so even in you don’t use their tags your posts will be found.