I've got a post coming up in the 'Showing Off Your Content' series on how to format links, but before we get on to the how it's maybe worth spending a few minutes on the why.
I know a lot of people feel awkward about linking out when they first start to blog. And at first glance it does seem kind of counter-intuitive.
You want internet visitors to stick around on your site: to read about your business, learn more about what you do and what you're about.
You want to position yourself as the 'go to' expert in your niche. So surely the last thing you'd want to do is provide links that point away from your business blog, towards the work of other people? Right?
Wrong. Although it seems strange at first, the opposite is true. Linking out will help you attract and retain visitors to your blog. Here are 5 reasons why:
- Links demonstrate your authority and credibility as someone who's aware of good materials and interesting articles, someone who's not afraid to showcase the work of other professionals
- Links to credible sites are highly valued by your readers and site visitors. If you consistently point them towards good stuff they'll come back to you in order to find more. (Conversely if you link to irrelevant or poor quality sites it reflects badly on you as the person who sent them there.)
- Links lead to links: as you start to link out other people will repay the compliment and link back to you. This helps to boost the profile and authority of your blog and will bring your new readers. (This doesn't mean link exchanges though. Remember the point about credible links. Focus on providing quality resources for your readers and allow the links back to follow organically.)
- Links bring you readers. Most bloggers will check out who's linking to them and come by and visit. They might come back again, subscribe to your feed, or leave you a comment. That's how the conversation and connection begins.
- Links are the start of a conversation, a dialogue, a relationship with other business bloggers. Over time this can lead to friendships, business initiatives or business partnerships
The last one is probably the most important to me. It makes business blogging easier - really, a whole lot easier - as it turns into an interactive experience with comments, conversation and the fun of human connection and exchange. If you don't link you're less likely to get visitors, to have folk link to you, to get to know new bloggers and business friends. Your motivation is likely to dwindle and if you're not careful you might soon end up with a dusty, cobwebbed blog.
How does that fit with your experience? Does linking out make your blogging life easier? Or do you think it's more effort than it's worth?
Photo credit: Blunight72 on Flickr