Link Wars

How do you respond to links in web articles? There is a bit a debate going on now about how they should be used.

When I’m blogging, I purposefully put links in my writing and put them in for a reason. I’m trying to give the reader as much information as possible.

When I’m reading web content, I click away with abandon. A headline on a home page brings me to an article, where an interior link brings me to yet another story. I may never make it back to the content I originally intended to read.

Do I want my readers to do that?

In her Salon.com blog, writer Laura Miller explained her own decision on the issue. She talks about the hyperlink wars in the content that we read on the Web. She has consciously decided to post her links at the bottom of her blogs so that readers aren’t distracted from her point or her content.

Miller’s other argument is that too much linking and not enough originality in a story has made writers lazy. They no longer have to explain what they want or need to say, but can simply let someone else do the work by posting a link and directing readers to the source of actual information.

I use many links in writing because I want to be credible and give sources in my writing. I want readers to know that I’m not making things up or giving them sketchy information that I received from an unreliable source. That’s when linking seems to be important.

It all seems to come back to our ability to stay focused with the mass amount of technology we have around us. With so many things (Web pages, texts, IMs and e-mails) going on around us, how can we stay focused on our main objective at any given time??

What do you think about the links in the content that you read on the Internet? Is it distracting or does it add to the information you were looking for?

One Comment

I was glad to read this post as I have such mixed feelings about links.

I use blogs in my content marketing strategy to promote my own business. I try to make them informative so as to establish credibility and expertise, and sometimes a link taking a reader away from my blog is quite useful in giving the reader additional information, further context or even a look at an original article I might reference.

But it sure seems to defeat the marketing goal if you drive the traffic away from your site, doesn’t it?

I make certain that my links open in a separate window rather than direct traffic away from my site. I’ve found in my own reading that keeping the original window open keeps me “on the page” in a manner of speaking, and I hope it does so for readers of my blog.

I do kind of like Miller’s approach and may try it out and see if I’m comfortable with it.