Linking with intention

“Link with intention, not copycat habit” was one of the most powerful response to my recent piece exploring how to write a link post.

Other valuable pieces of advice included:

“writing posts that aren’t laden with a bazillion links, and yet have enough relevant ones to take the conversation in a couple different directions”, avoiding the overwhelm that comes with links to 20-30 sites, and “writing posts with just a few links, clearly described, in hopes the reader will have the time and desire to explore them.

We also got the (heartfelt) reminder that speed linking posts are anything but: writing link posts can be extremely time consuming. Which is another good reason to think hard about your intention before you start to write.

Dawud Miracle writing at Lorelle at Word Press identifies two main reasons that he chooses to link out. First, to provide something of value to his readers, additional resources that they can check out and learn from. Second, to build relationships with the person he’s linking to. This requires a different sort of writing - linking a few times and make sure to “write great content surrounding those links, and you’ll have the foundation for building a relationship.”

Other positive reasons to link out might be to express gratitude, to give credit, or to link and think and tell a story. (Less than positive reasons would be generate inbound traffic, because it’s what other people do, because it seems like an easy way to write a post, because it’s Friday, Saturday or Sunday and there’s nothing better to do.)

Inspired by Liz’s ‘dear emperor’ test here are five questions to ask yourself before writing a link post:

  • What’s your intention? Is it positive - or in line with your values?
  • Who are you writing for?
  • Are you adding value - for your readers, the people you’re linking to, or your own understanding - or adding to the overwhelm?
  • Are you sure the links are valuable? Have you visited them all?
  • Does the time it will take you to write match your intention?

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post and helped to develop my understanding of link posts: Liz, Dawud, Rosa, Jeanne, Adam, Adam (the Monk at Work), Brad, Andrea and Yvonne


This linking-thinking post is a contribution to Liz’s thematic links writing challenge, inspired (blushes) by my thoughts on how to write a links post.

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  1. Jeanne Dininni · · Reply


    Linking is a very important issue to us as bloggers. Thanks for getting us thinking about doing it more purposefully! (And thanks for the link!)


  2. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Hi Joanna, I sure learned a lot from your original post and the ensuing conversation. PS-the Word Nerd badge looks good-you earned it!

  3. Jeanne, thanks. I think knowing your link intention is key - it makes it worth the time, and enjoyable to write. For example, enjoying the feeling of gratitude when you link to someone who is generous and thoughtful with their comments :-)


  4. Hi Brad, well thanks for sharing in the learning (and your own contribution to Liz’s writing challenge)


    PS I’m wearing the badge with pride!

  5. Yvonne Russell · · Reply

    I’ve let Liz know about my contribution. It was inspired in part by your reminder about telling a story when linking as one approach, so I have to thank you too. It was fun.

  6. Hi Yvonne

    Well you certainly went for it big style by weaving a story through all your group writing entries - good on you. I’m glad it was fun.


  7. Dawud Miracle · · Reply

    What I find so interesting about linking out is how it goes against the traditional web-based marketing mentality of ‘gotta keep ‘em on your site.’ What I’ve found in the blogosphere is that my readers do come back from links I’ve offered - and often commented. So, I guess we need to reevaluate marketing a bit, huh?

    Thanks for the link love. I’m writing for Lorelle for the next little stretch while she celebrates her two years on WordPress.

  8. Dawud, thanks for stopping by. Your comment on marketing is very interesting - I saw Lorelle saying something similar on the back of your post there. I’m wondering if it has something to do with changes in the way customers look for signs of authority, credibility, integrity? Maybe willingness to connect (and be open) is one of those check points.

    Your comment has reminded me to update the link to your own site - it wasn’t working last week, and I see now that it was due to massive popularity! The problems some people have to live with :-)

    Best wishes


  9. [...] learning this week is the importance focus, and intention, and purpose.  I’ve learned about linking with positive intention, reading feeds without going mad in the process, and writing blogs with a purpose.  I’ve [...]

  10. [...] on writing link posts I remembered that I’d written some questions, some tests for myself, on writing slow links with intention.  I remembered, with a smile, the lesson that links posts take time – but are worth it when they [...]

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