December 14, 2005

Blog Basics 2: How to Code Links

published this at 1:42 pm

tied wire

I found myself this week, teaching someone how to build links for the fifth time in so many months. . . . Yeah, sometimes I’m a little slow at realizing what I should be writing about.

Even if you’re a pro who already knows how to code links, you’re going to meet someone who doesn’t know. Showing someone how can be the start of a relationship. This document explains the how to of building links.

Before I begin, many people know that the quick-and-easy way to make external sidebar links is to use Blogrolling. Fewer know that the javascript of Blogrolling causes a blog to load more slowly or that search engine spiders tend to trip on it.

The healthy blog uses external linking built by hand. It takes longer to build links individually, but it’s not hard. It’s simple formula, fill-in-the-blank. Here’s the code.

The Code

The Code Explained: The Link Itself

“http://URL”

If you want to link to the blog itself, put the blog’s home page URL.

“http://successful-blog.com”

If you want to link to a specific post, code a Permalink, the permanent address of the post.

“http://successful-blog.com/1/blog-basics-1-comments-and-comment-policies/”

Some blog software offers a link below each post marked Permalink to take you to a post’s permanent address. In some, you get to the permanent address by clicking the title of the post. In Blogger, go inside comments. Once there, go to the top and click the title of the post.

You know you have the Permalink when the address in your browser’s address bar includes words from the title of the post.

The Code Explained: The Anchor Text

The link anchor text is the name or description you give the link. It’s a good thing not to name the same link with the same words every time. Search engines realize that humans are not consistent. See the anchor text I used to link my blog Letting me be . . . in the side bar of this Successful (and Outstanding) Blog for an example.

The little bit of extra time it takes to hand code links is good. It could be just the nudge we need to consider whether a link we’re planning is quality. The Checklist for Linking to Quality Blogs is a great test for making sure the link you’re about to build will add value and serve your readers.

There I go again talking about readers. In the end everything comes down them.

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related articles:
Blog Review Checklist
Blog Basics 1: Comments and Comment Policies
Great Find: Tlog Blogging Tips Series

Filed under Links, SEO, Successful Blog | 17 Comments »


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17 Comments to “Blog Basics 2: How to Code Links”

  1. December 14th, 2005 at 3:16 pm
    Cas said

    Liz,

    I’d like to add something to your ‘how to’, and that is suggesting adding a title=” ” attribute to the link. It not only makes that little bit of explanitory text pop up so we know more about what lurks at the end of the link, but goes a great way toward improving access to your site for “Auditory users” — that is people who are blind, have difficulty seeing, or who are using devices with small or no displays and are therefore unable to scan the page quickly with their eyes.

    If you’re hand coding links anyway, why not go that little bit further and make your site even more accessible? After all, a happy reader = a reader who will return, right?

    Link anchor text

    (For the really accessibility conscious of you, the W3C has Accessibility Guidelines. They look scary, but when you break them down it is mostly common sense).

    Cas

    (And in case anyone is curious, it’s the same Cas, just with a new site and a new email :) )

  2. December 14th, 2005 at 3:19 pm
    Cas said

    Ack, and now I’ve posted I can see the example has been rendered wrongly despite my best efforts. Bother.

    I meant to say, the code looks as follows:

    Link Anchor Text

  3. December 14th, 2005 at 3:36 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Cas,
    Thanks for adding to the post. I actually do put anchor text in my image links, but I don’t put them there for the readers too. I’ve heard about these guidelines before. Maybe you’d like to write a post on them. You up for that?
    Smiles,
    Liz

  4. December 14th, 2005 at 4:07 pm
    Cas said

    They’ve got a whole chapter in my thesis, so why on earth not?

    I am so going to regret that comment, but email me :)

    And let’s try this a third time. If you want to add a title attribute to your link code, you need to do it like this (just replace any occurences of [] with the appropriate brackets)

    [a href="http://URL.com" title="title description text here"]Link Anchor Text[/a]

  5. December 14th, 2005 at 4:17 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Cas,
    You’re on. I’ll email you later.
    Meanwhile Gotcha.
    As my friend Nancy says to me, “Sometimes you are so fast and sometimes you are soooo slooooow.” :)

    Liz

  6. December 14th, 2005 at 5:50 pm
    Sabine said

    I’m one of those lazy ones, who uses the Bloglines javascript for my big ol’ blogroll. I’m a bit embarrassed now. I’ll have to think deep thoughts about this subject.

    It’s not that I don’t know how to do it, but just haven’t had the time and haven’t figured out how to make it look good.

    And WordPress makes it pretty easy to do, in the admin area. Heck, I just ain’t got no excuse.

  7. December 14th, 2005 at 6:30 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Hey Sabine,
    I know exactly what you mean. I finally just took a Sunday afternoon to do. It was such a good feeling the nextt ime that Blogrolling went down and it didn’t involve me. I have used Blogrolling inside my blog to set up fake categories where blogger doesn’t offer them, but that will be going soon too. When I move to Word Press. I can’t wait for one of those scroll menu things.
    Liz

  8. December 14th, 2005 at 7:16 pm
    Susan said

    O, thanks for posting that. I’m a newbie and the post is very useful.

  9. December 14th, 2005 at 7:50 pm
    ME Strauss said

    Susan,
    Tell me what else you need to know and I’ll post that too. That’s what I’m here for. :)
    Liz

  10. December 15th, 2005 at 2:14 am
    Martin said

    I’d like to comment and say something useful but heck, I can’t … this is all second nature to me. Ever since I’ve started using WordPress I’m more and more hardcoding links.

    But I can add that Cas is spot on – it’s a good idea to add a title tag within the link – it’s good for usability issues and adds some more potetnial keyword/phrases.

    Also, if you want the link to open up in a new page add the tag: target=”_blank”

    Finally use a good descriptive Anchor Text (I understand that Google rate it highly) – not “Click Here” as we’ve spoken about in a previous post. There’s not much search engine value from “click here”

  11. December 15th, 2005 at 2:17 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Martin,
    There you go saying something useful anyway.
    Well done. You can sleep well tonight. As I’m about to.

    I wanted to say something useful too. But I ended up writing that post instead. :)
    Liz

  12. January 16th, 2006 at 6:56 am
    Successful Blog — How to Code Accessible Links–Part 1 said

    [...] Liz has already written a great article on how to code hyperlinks. I’d like to take this one further and show you how to code accessible hyperlinks. If you are happy with how to manually code hyperlinks, then we can continue. If you aren’t, or feel like you need a bit of a refresher, I do recommend you read the article. We’ll wait. [...]

  13. December 21st, 2006 at 1:19 am
    Work At Homes said

    Great tip. Especially for the beginners. I remember it took me ages to try to find the code for it . Well done.

  14. December 21st, 2006 at 6:46 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Work at Homes!
    I wrote this post when I realized that I had taught someone every month for several months going and that like you I started wondering how to do it. :)

    Thanks for leaving a comment. You’re not a stranger anymore. You’re a friend now. :)

  15. May 3rd, 2007 at 9:02 am
    Cheryl said

    I’m learning about making a Webquest. I’m starting with ZERO knowledge and my first priority is to learn how to make those links. What do I need to have, or to do, to get started.
    Thanks large for the help.
    Cheryl :)

  16. May 3rd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    ME Strauss said

    Hi Cheryl,
    I remember when I had to learn the same thing. It won’t be long before you are teaching someone. I bet it will be less than six weeks. :)

  17. June 13th, 2012 at 9:59 am
    Great Find: Top 10 Successful Blogging Tips | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog said

    [...] Related articles: Blog Review Checklist Blog Basics 1: Comments and Comment Policies Great Find: Tlog Blogging Tips Series Blog Basics 2: How to Code Links [...]

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