April 27, 2002
Getting Linked

Very interesting post at U.S.S. Clueless on blog clusters, groups of blogs that link to each other and are mostly unaware of the existence of the other clusters. One point could stand a bit more discussion (mostly for the tiro blogger):

The big disadvantage of blogs is finding them, and for the writers the disadvantage is finding readers, and to some extent that's why the clusters formed. The links tended to be of the form, "If you like my site, you'll probably also like these here." Just putting a new site out there, then, becomes an exercise in futility because without links to it no-one will find or read it. And thus people who are inspired to try to join a cluster are reduced to writing to those already in them and begging for links. (I receive my share of these.)

My advice for those who want to be noticed is that there are better ways to get linked than blunt requests. Here are some possibilities:

1. Link and wait. Many (most?) bloggers autogoogle obsessively, usually every day or two. If someone links or (even better) permalinks me, I soon find out. Although I never feel obligated to reciprocate, anyone who links to me has already earned a fair measure of good will just by displaying good taste in linkage.

2. When writing to established bloggers, there are far better ways of putting it than "I have a new blog. Please please please read it, quote it, link it, permalink me!" Try something along the lines of "You may be interested in the latest entry in my new blog, which takes up something you posted and develops it further." It never hurts to show that you have read and understood the entry you link to, and that you can take the argument further, not just link it.

3. Go to a Blogger Bash, say hello, be amusing, show familiarity with the works of your elders and betters, join in the arguments and show that you have something to contribute on the issues of the day, take pictures, buy them all drinks and pizza . . . . Again, I can't promise to link every blogger I meet, but I do always look at the website. If it's any good, that should be enough.

4. The easiest and quickest method is to take advantage of the comment feature found on all the better blogs (take that, Instapundit!) and write good comments. I read all the comments on my site, sometimes reply to them, and often look at the websites of the comment-authors, if I don't already know them. I can't honestly say that I have yet read a comment, said "that's brilliant", and immediately added a permalink to the author's site, but I certainly find that clever comments on my blog (and others) help me remember people's names and make me look forward to reading more of their words, either in comments or on their sites.

One final bit of advice from someone who hasn't really earned the right to be so avuncular: You Can't Hurry Links. Be patient. Once you have a dozen or more posts up, someone who stumbles across your site is much more likely to find at least one or two of them interesting, bookmark the site for a return visit, and maybe even link to it, then or later. If everyone looks at it before it really gets rolling, they may be less likely to come back.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at April 27, 2002 11:29 PM