Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Asking For Links

BlogTipsBasilSo far, they haven't removed me from the list of "Blogging Tips Gurus" at the Alliance. They might soon. But, until then, I'll keep posting Blogging Tips there.

Of course, I'll still post the occasional one here, too. Like this one, which is appearing in similar form at the Alliance. In it, I mentioned that last week, we opened the floor to the Alliance readers,
accepting questions for blogging tips. We got a few. Not a lot, but a
few. And we'll start answering them now. I mean, I said we would, right?

Pierre Legrand asked via comments:
How uncouth is it to write individual emails to sites asking for links?
Does anyone have any tips on the best way to go about such a task?

got opinions from the Alliance Faithful. The answers were along
the line of be polite, and think about what you're asking; that is,
don't ask someone to do something you won't do.

There are two types of links: links to a specific post, and adding a site to a blogroll. Let's cover the blogroll first.

Never, never ask someone to add you to their blogroll if you haven't
already added them to yours. This "if you link me, I'll link you" is,
in my opinion (my opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of
the Alliance or anyone else) bad form. If you think someone is worthy
of being added to you blogroll, add them. If you're only willing to add
them if they first add you, then you don't think they are worthy. And
by making that offer, you're telling them that. Again, my opinion.

Asking for links to specific posts is a little different, but not
much. Again, my opinion. Don't ask someone to link to a post of yours
if you don't link to them first. And a good way is to add them to your
blogroll. If they aren't worthy of your blogroll, don't ask them to
link to a post of yours.

One other note. Don't send them every post you write for them to
link to. Here's a hazy line, and I'm not sure I have a good answer on
how to handle this. But, I suspect, if someone has an idea, they'll
leave it in the comments. But here are my thoughts.

If you want someone to write a post about something you wrote, then
by all means let them know about what you wrote. But, if you want them
to write about every post you wrote, why not just ask them to let you
co-blog with them? I mean, if you want to turn someone else's site into
a promotional site for your blog, be up front about it. And don't be
surprised if they say "no."

Now, that only refers to someone who you are asking to write about
your posts. If you are submitting a post for consideration in a "link
dump" or "open TrackBack" type of situation (Outside the Beltway,
Multiple Mentality, etc.) you'll find that they usually offer you the
ability to list it yourself. Take advantage of that. Many that
encourage adding of posts/TrackBacks will show the post/TrackBack on
the front page. Outside the Beltway does. And for standard posts (not
link-dumps) Harvey of Bad Example does. Many others do, but these were
the first two I specifically noticed doing that, so I'm using them as

In either case, don't overload someone with requests for links. Save
those for the "special" ones. And, I hate to break this to you, but not
all of your posts are special. If you send these notifications every
day, you'll find that pretty soon, your e-mails will go from "Hey,
he/she must have something really important to say" to "Oh, that's the
sixth one from him/her today. Maybe I'll read it. Maybe."

Harvey at Bad Example offered good advice on e-mailing big bloggers in his post from last summer, "Fighting Invisibility:"
Now for the netiquette of e-mailing links to your posts to THE BIG
GUYS. This one is tricky, because it's even more intrusive than
dropping links in people's comments. If commenting is standing in their
living room, then e-mailing is sitting on the couch next to them. Only
send a link if the post fits the blog's theme. For example, if you're
going to bug Matty O'Blackfive, your post should probably be about the military, or drinking, or drinking in the military. Or possibly making fun of the brawling, besotted Irish.

Suggested format - Apologize for the unsolicited e-mail, acknowledge
that you know [BIG BLOGGER] is very busy, briefly tell why you think
this post might be of interest to him, give the URL, thank him for his
time, sign your name. END

Keep it brief & to the point. DON'T specifically ask for a link
to your post - it's pretty obvious that's why the e-mail was sent so
it's not necessary. Also, not asking for the link takes some of the
pressure off the recipient, making him feel less put upon, and,
paradoxically, MORE likely to link the post (assuming that it's
appropriate to his blog's theme).

Note that Harvey is talking about the BIG BLOGS. However, the advice is good when contacting the not-so-big blogs, also.

Yes, I repeated myself a couple of times. But I don't want you to
miss my point. When asking for links, put yourself in the other
person's shoes (or keyboard) for a moment and see how your request and
the circumstances of your request might appear.

The next Blog Tip will cover ways of getting more traffic:
short of joining rings and blogrolls and commenting on other blocks and
leaving TrackBacks, what is the best way to get more traffic?

Oderint dum metuant

And, coming soon after that:
been looking for information on how to open TrackBacks on a post so
that the TrackBacks show up on the front page much the way you have it
setup for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


I touched on a couple of places that do that (and that inspired me). That answer will be coming soon, also.


  1. I'm very glad you did this post originally at The Alliance. I'm all about learning from the pros ;)

  2. Yeah, I'm with you. If it had only been posted here, you could have ignored it. :)

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