What Makes Bloggers Want to Link to You?

Filed as Features on November 27, 2007 2:19 pm

The most critical factors in building relationships with your readers is getting them to read and getting them to link. So how do you make your blog posts linkable?

Spreading the Word

Personally, I don’t believe in “spreading the word” about a blog post I’ve written. I like them to be naturally found, discovered – if you will – as part of the magic of the peer-driven, social aspect of the web. I want people to find my blog posts and want to write about them because they meet a personal need. Not because they were thrown in people’s faces.

Unfortunately, most bloggers want that “thrown” effect.

So they add social bookmarking links and site submission icons to blog posts to encourage readers to submit and link to their blogs. Many email other bloggers requesting links to their blog posts, recommending themselves.

Personally, I don’t like all the clutter and hard work associated with forcing the spread of the word about your blog and blog post. I also am not a fan of begging for links, especially when the request is not inline with my blog’s purpose. I really like the natural effort that comes from writing the best content possible, putting all my energy into meeting the needs of my readers with quality information and resources, and they help me by spreading the word organically.

This doesn’t stop the blatant effort to spread the word, but remember, you are dealing with flighty humans. You can work your buns off to promote your blog and blog post and get no return on your investment unless you have done some homework first. You need to play nice in the blogosphere playground, and have content worth linking to before people link.

Participation Wins Links

Participation on the web to your blog comes from two sides.

First, from you. You need to participate in the blogosphere community, and in turn, you will receive.

Second, from your readership. It’s amazing what you can get from those who know a good thing when they see it, and recommend it to others.

Problogger’s “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Lots of Link Love” lists a lot of tips and techniques for encouraging link backs through participation.

Some examples include interviewing bloggers, breaking important stories, having a contest, publishing original research that impacts a great number of people within your industry, writing press releases, and contributing to your blogging community to establish your reputation within your network of bloggers. People like working and talking about people they know more than strangers.

It’s all about participation encouraging linking, which is critical to survival as a blogger. If you don’t give people a reason to visit your blog through your participation and theirs, then your blog won’t get traffic.

Personally, I like the idea of make them come to you. If you write something fascinating and intelligent in blog comments, even thought provoking, bloggers and readers will come check out your blog just to find out who is behind this brilliant comment. Such comments can even provoke blog posts, further promoting you as wise and worthy of attention.

Networking, online and off, is critical to attracting links and building the relationships that keep you and your blog in the public eye.

Link Back To Yourself

I’ve found that many people follow intra-site links within my blog posts, often finding even more value in the linked content. Links from within your blog posts and tags can lead readers away from your blog, or within, so why not encourage them to travel deeper.

There is nothing wrong with leaving a comment on another blog with a link to a similar or related blog post. I don’t mind “I wrote about this just a few days ago in X” in my blog’s comments, do you? I like connecting similar and related content together, making comments as content even more valuable to my readers. And when a link to one of my blog posts answers their blog post questions, even better. I’ve given them value, even if it links back to my blog.

Create comment “link-backs” with trackbacks. Write something fun or intelligent (or both) about a blog post and make sure the trackback speaks clearly about your blog post topic. Its appearance on the linked-to blog may invite others to check out what you have to say, and discover all the great content you have waiting on your blog. Who knows where a good trackback can lead to helping spread the word about you and your blog.

Include your blog’s URL in your email signature. Put your blog’s URL in comment forms, but avoid signing and adding links inside the comment as many bloggers see this as desperate and solicitious. Find creative but non-intrusive ways to spread links back to your blog naturally.

Create Linkable Content

I am impressed. I think I will link. Graphic designed and copyrighted by Lorelle VanFossenThe more value you add to your own blog’s content, the more valuable it may be to the reader. The more valuable the content to the reader, the more likely they are to write about it and link to it. You move from being someone with a linkable post to being a resource blogger with a linkable blog.

Without a doubt, if you don’t have content worth linking to, begging for links won’t help, no matter how many visitors you have, even a huge spike from a digg-effect, no one will link.

I wrote recently about a new blogger so excited about guest blogging, he didn’t realize that he had to have blog content on his own blog to greet the sudden influx of visitors. He had nothing that established himself as an expert on the subject. Nothing to encourage them to wander and look around. Nothing worthwhile that made them want to add the blog to their feed reader. Nothing at all. Just a few posts, and even those were iffy as worthwhile content since he admits he was still learning how to do this “blogging thing”.

Your content is your resume. A comment is a calling card, inviting visitors to check out the C.V. that is your blog. If you don’t have anything to show for your expertise and intelligence, they won’t return, and they definitely won’t link.

Writing linkable content means covering subjects of interest to your readers. Providing quality over quantity. Linkable content is content that answers questions, provides needed information, and invokes thought. When a blogger is looking for an answer, they turn to other blogs. Is yours one worthy of the answer to their question?

In order to make a blogger link to your blog, it must:

  • Provide value
  • Provide insight
  • Teach
  • Tell them something worth sharing with your readers
  • Makes them think, sit up and GET the point

An inspirational post is wonderful. A tear jerker. Like a good soppy movie. Do fabulous soppy movies bring in the big box office results? Rarely. What’s the big box office attraction? Blood, gore, guts, and excitement make box office success. Dramatic eye openers.

The same applies to links and linkable content. If you want people to link to your blog post, make sure it’s a dramatic eye-opener, keeping them glued to their seats, so thrilled and chilled, they will rush off your blog to tell the whole world about you and your blog.

It also helps to have passion, conviction, clarity of speech and point.

The most popular form of linkable content is the sensational post. One packed with conspiracies, intrigues, titillations, or just clever, entertaining made-up stuff. A recent visit to and found these moving up the ranks of popularity:

Want to get some attention on your blog, why not go for the lowest denominator of sensationalized “news”? Go for posts which celebrate oddities, strange discoveries, and other people’s “15 minutes of fame”. Might not add to the integrity of blogs, but it certainly gets a lot of links.

Next in line for favorite linkable content is the how-to. The tutorial. The way to do it. The instructions and guide that takes you, step-by-step, through the process. If it is short and sweet, and gets the job done with the least amount of effort, usually defined by 3 steps, 7 tips, or 9 ways, bloggers love to link to a them.

Blog posts which invoke thought are next. Once a blogger has their questions answered, they turn philosophical, enjoying blog posts which get them thinking, thus changing thought processes and patterns of behavior. “Wow! I never thought about it that way!” Bloggers love sharing these thought-provokers with their readers, inviting them to join in the wonder of their discovery.

Back It Up and Follow Through

In order to remain a consistently linkable blog and blogger, you have to back it up with a continual flow of quality content and integrity of content. In other words, don’t give up. Keep blogging.

This means you better throughly enjoy your blogging subject matter because you may be blogging on the topic for a long time.

Blogging isn’t just about sharing your thoughts, opinions, or advice on the web. If you want to do that, without the rest of the work it takes to rise through the virtual ranks of online popularity, that’s fine. But don’t whine about having no traffic.

If you work hard to spread the word naturally, encourage linking through participation, link back naturally to your blog, create linkable content, then follow through on the network you create on your blog, then your blog traffic will naturally rise and fame may soon be yours.

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  1. By brian posted on November 27, 2007 at 7:12 pm
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    Hi,

    Excellent post! I am new to blogging (though I have been doing business on the web for a decade).

    I just decided to start a blog a week or two ago, simply to share what I have learned. In researching the marketing of a blog, I was confronted with so many sure-fire “tricks” and “secrets” for building links it was hilarious.

    I seriously was tired before I even started!

    Anyway, I decided to let my blog grow organically (much as you decribed here). I just think in the long run, it’s better for karma if I’m not begging everyone for a link. =)

    My goal is to read a lot of posts on other blogs, and comment when I actually have something to say.

    I think if I do that over an extended period of time, you build a bit of credibility and make some long-term friends. Not to mention, I’m bound to learn a thing or two.

    We shall see how it goes!

    Cheers,
    brian

    Reply

  2. By Dexter posted on November 28, 2007 at 12:21 am
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    It is indeed and excellent post. Another thing to say is if you blog first about a certain situation with good content some will definely link unto you

    Reply

  3. By Chip posted on November 28, 2007 at 4:03 am
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    Excellent article. And linkable, too. I am a fan of Lorelle, and I think I will quote her article on my blog. If it is so great, why not help my readers by guiding them here?

    Reply

  4. By Blog Angel Team (Joanna) posted on November 28, 2007 at 5:17 am
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    Wow – talk about a resource rich article! Thanks for putting so much into this Lorelle, I’m sure it’ll generate a link or two :-)

    And thanks for this phrase – “a resource blogger with a linkable blog” – definitely something to aspire to.

    Joanna

    Reply

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  8. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on November 28, 2007 at 12:24 pm
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    @Dexter:

    Good point, however not consistently true. If you are the first to blog well on a subject, you will get links. However, if you are the first to point and say little, you might get a hat tip, you might get ignored. Why take the risk. Make your “first” report be quality content and guarantee yourself the discovery links and credit.

    Take a look at the top Techmeme and similar blogs/aggregators. The ones with the most links are the ones who say something, not just point. They contribute their thoughts to the issue and people respond by saying “And Y had this to say about Z”.

    Reply

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