Philipp Lenssen’s Tips For Crafting a Linkable Blog Post

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging

The prolific Phillip Lenssen has leveraged his Googleblogoscope experience to create an extremely useful diagnostic quiz for assessing if you’ve written a linkable blog post (how likely it is that other bloggers will link to your blog post). He advises that

Linkability shouldn’t be your main goal when blogging, but it’s a good indicator of how approachable and interesting your writing is.

Some of his key points that I find useful to remember are:

  • Make sure you write something original, and not just a few sentences. Write about what you know.
  • A small illustrative or explanatory image can go a long way to improve your post. This is great advice that I have yet to follow. I am continually impressed by Dave Pollard’s ability to express his business insights in graphics:
  • Blog daily. I still struggle with this, but I am discovering that forcing myself to write every day, even if I don’t get is finished enough to post, forces me to clarify my thinking on an issue, which is valuable in itself.
  • Re-read and revise for clarity and offer a perspective for someone new to a topic.

The best thing about the http://www.howlinkable.com/ quiz is that it prioritizes it’s advice to offer the top ten add suggestions for improvement; once you have addressed the basics you see more. Also, not everything you can check off will improve your score (something Fleming Funch overlooked); sometimes you need stop doing something to improve. My current linkability is 45% and I need to blog daily, use more illustrative examples and images, and add my photo to my about page to get it to 54%.

One suggestion that Lenssen didn’t make directly that I think is a useful perspective comes from Useful Saheli S.R. Datta’s article “7 Habits of Highly Effective Blogger

Think of your blog as database, not a newspaper-like collection of dispatches. your archived posts should be easy to find through Google and Technorati, so cite authors and publications by name, and use tags, categories, and keywords consistently.

Mr. Aridewa at the Moojik Times  also has a excellent summary and elaboration of Lenssen’s advice.

Here is a list of the questions courtesy of Fleming Funch, for clarity I have added “[Negative]” to those practices that detract:

  1. My post title includes a pun [Negative]
  2. My post title includes more than 10 words
  3. I start off by explaining the post’s core idea
  4. My post contains more than 3 paragraphs of my own writing
  5. I spell-checked my post
  6. The post’s idea was “sleeping” inside my head for several weeks before I wrote it down
  7. I was the first to report on this (as far as I know)
  8. This post might have profound implications for a company, celebrity, or politician
  9. This post might have profound implications for my readers
  10. This post is in-tune with the overall topic of my blog
  11. I illustrated my post with screenshots, drawings, or clip art
  12. I end the post with a “bang”
  13. I use the Creative Commons license to share my content
  14. I emailed friends to let them know about my article
  15. I validated my blog’s HTML after posting
  16. I use a standard blog template
  17. I read my own post for clarity at least twice
  18. I use links, bold/ italics, or lists
  19. I’m blogging daily
  20. My blog is read by many people
  21. My post is English
  22. I’m reporting on first-hand experiences
  23. The subject I’m writing about is close to my heart
  24. My post includes a video, audio file or ZIP download
  25. Readers can comment on my post
  26. I submitted the post to Digg
  27. I submitted the post to Metafilter
  28. I submitted the post to Boing Boing
  29. I sent the post to a mainstream news source
  30. My post is above 250 KB (including images) [Negative]
  31. I checked my blog’s appearance in at least 2 browsers
  32. I include a large ad on top of the main content [Negative]
  33. My ad colors resemble my main content [Negative]
  34. I decrease the font-size quite a bit to make the layout look better [Negative]
  35. I’m citing my sources and delivering proof for what I say
  36. I’m using affiliate links inside my post’s content [Negative]
  37. My post might be considered controversial by many
  38. Some parts of my post make people laugh
  39. My server is fast to deliver pages, even under heavy traffic
  40. My full name is included at the beginning or end of the post
  41. My “About” page is linked in the navigation
  42. My “About” page includes my bio and photo
  43. I’m using several JavaScript widgets (like counters) in my blog [Negative]
  44. I’m checking my blog statistics every few days
  45. I consider myself an expert on this post’s topic
  46. My page includes animated ads [Negative]
  47. My page includes an ad that pops up or is overlaid on the content [Negative]

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Comments (4)

  • SKMurphy » Good Blogging is Good Linking

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    […] Phillip Lenssen (author of the “How Linkable is Your Blog” tool, reviewed back in 2006 by us with “Philipp Lenssen’s Tips For Crafting a Linkable Blog Post” ) wrote “11 Link Usability Tips” in October of 2007, here are my picks–retaining his original numbering scheme–for the top 4: 1. Make sure there’s enough space to click on for a given link. Do you know those A-Z link lists? They’re a common navigation element on top of some directory-style pages, going like this: “A | B | C | D | …” etc., where each letter is linked. In this case, some letters – especially the “I” – become much too small to comfortably click on. Use a non-breaking space around each letter (”… I …”) to increase the clickable area, allowing for easier navigation. You might also want to use this approach for link text like numbers (e.g. “1”) or symbols (e.g. “#”). […]

    Reply

  • Kris Ragan

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    I appreciate your critique and recommendations but I am disappointed that the underlying test by Lenssen has disappeared from the Web.

    Sean: yes, I am sorry but it’s been taken down and I have not been able to find anyone else following these same rules

    Reply

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