Recently a client contacted me to request some blog posts. It was an urgent request, they didn’t have much time and needed a post ready to post in just 60 minutes time. They signed off their request with “Don’t research something just put together one of those link posts, they’re quick and easy”.
Okay, I’m always honest with you when I share my thoughts and I’ll tell you exactly what I told my client:
An effective link post is never quick and easy.
A link post is not lazy blogging, for when you are pushed for time. It’s a resource article that when done well, will become one of the main traffic drivers to your blog or website.
It’s a post that helps forge relationships with others in your niche or industry and it’s the type of post that should be done on a regular basis. You will see people do weekly round-ups of weekly wrap-ups and others curating great big lists as a driver of traffic. Here are three list posts that I read on a regular a basis.
Links for the post can be a selection of links from your own site, or links surrounding a particular topic but wherever you chose your links from, you’ll need to curate your content carefully to see that the post flows together and is useful to your reader.
Planning your link post
Start at the beginning.
Like I’ve done with this post, an effective link post starts with an introduction and perhaps some back story and what you can expect to learn from this link post. An introduction doesn’t have to be long, perhaps just a sentence or two explaining how and why the links were chosen.
A list of links on their own with no introduction puts your reader off, and they have no idea what to expect, so they won’t click through and read.
Subheadings make your post easier to skim-read. The subheadings also are hooks to pull the reader back into reading the post. Subheadings are also an indication to the search engines what the post is about as generally they are H2 and H3 tags. You can easily add subheadings by using the Kitchen Sink Button. Just highlight the subheading on a line of it’s own and then chose the size. If you can’t see the paragraph option as seen in label three on the image below, then you need to locate the Kitchen sink button on the post dashboard – see step one.
The title and the link
Add the title of the link, then the link and then 2 or 3 sentences about the link. What you write should make the reader want to click through and read the original post. Sometimes you can take a quote from the post you are linking to and that will be okay for your reader to get the gist of what the link is about.
An opinion about the link content is acceptable and so is a quick summary of the content presented in the post. Indicate if the links are ranked in a particular order -
- Most popular
- Most effective
- Most comments
- Most shares
- Or whatever ranking indicator you are using
If I’m writing a post with a lot of links then I tend to mix it up a little, and have the links in varying places. As you write more link posts, you will start to see what your readers like and respond to. This means that you can adapt your introduction to the link in the manner that your audience prefers.
Then move onto link two.
Add similar information about link 2, as you did with link 1. If you are creating a link post that ranks the links, you might need to expand a bit more in this information section and indicate why this link is in second place. You can vary the description if you think your readers will like that or you can keep to the same format for each link.
And continue your link post
Adding the additional links and the information describing them until you have included all your links.
Over on Birds on the Blog I always do a list of 100 female bloggers at the start of the year. The bigger the list the more likely it is to drive traffic except (yes, there’s always an exception to the rule) when it’s sloppily put together or curate for the wrong reasons. For us on Birds on the Blog, the list is big because there are a lot of women in our arena that we need to pay tribute to and acknowledge.
We recently did a series of list posts celebrating women in various niches, almost all of them were a success. the one that “failed” and was only shared a few hundred times was a post that was particularly self-serving. When something like this happens in your list post your readers will be reluctant to share it and that means all your hard work curating the post has been for nothing. Have honourable intentions when you create your list post.
Smaller resources are equally useful when they reach their intended audience – it doesn’t have to be a huge post to work, it just has to be well thought out.
Finish with your conclusion or post summary
A popular way to end your links post is by asking your readers to add any additional links on the same topic and to say why they love that link. It’s a great conversation starter on your blog. You could end the post with a brief summary and a call to action to share the post. By doing one of these style posts on a weekly basis you’ll start to see what works with your audience and generate more traffic to your site.
PS Your work may not be over when you’ve wrote the post, yes, some bloggers get alerted when someone links to them via their dashboard or Google Alerts, some may not have a clue. So drop them an email and let them know you’ve mentioned them. Again, this is a great way to start a conversation with another blogger and get to know them better. Yes, link posts are also a great networking tool.