After editing a book review recently, I returned the piece to the writer with a note asking about links. He replied,
I don’t always think about it when I’m writing a review, but have done that kind of thing in several reviews in the past.
The thing about using links is that they are multi-use and multi-faceted little pieces of code that can really bring your online articles to life. Here’s just a few ways how:
The Plug – If you are writing about a specific organization, company or project, you always want to be sure to link them on the first instance of their name in your article and once again at the end. A link that is simply part of the sentence, such as “for more information visit their website,” be sure you are putting the link on the most logical word. Also take the time to link the exact location within a site that you are referring to. That extra attention to detail will be appreciated all around.
Subtext – For many bloggers, this one included, links can often be subtext to what the writer is writing about. Let’s face it. We have a limited amount of time to catch a reader’s attention. There’s not a lot of space for lengthy descriptions about what you are writing about. Often much of that back story can be achieved by using links to direct readers to what you had in mind when you wrote the phrase, “recent disappointments.”
The Inside Joke – Using funny links can add a measure of humor to your writing that also helps create a connection with the reader. It’s a way to invite the reader into your head, giving them insight to what motivates your writing. Making that connection with readers is what will bring them back to your site over and over again.
Reference – If you are writing a blog or news, the use of links are a good way to reference things you have written before. If you are quoting an article, obviously link to the entire article that you are quoting from. If you are writing as part of a group project, links are a good way to create continuity between contributing members.
When writing for the internet, it’s always a good idea to think in terms of where you are taking your reader. The internet, and especially social media facilitate multiple ongoing conversations. And just as is if you were in a room floating from person to person to hear what they have to say, you would be more likely to return to those with whom you connect with, make you laugh, or give you something really interesting to think about. By missing an opportunity for a link, you may just miss that opportunity to connect.