Welcome to many of you who signed up for Conservative Blogging Tips at CPAC 2012. We at Western Center for Journalism are starting this blog to be a resource for conservative bloggers on our site as well as throughout the web. Our mission at The Western Center for Journalism is to Inform and Equip Americans That Love Freedom. Our main news and commentary section (composed of bloggers like you) is the “Informing” part of our mission. This blog will focus on “Equipping.” My name is Patrick Brown, and I’m the Director of Operations here at WesternJournalism.com. Everything I’ve learned here building up our own site, I’m happy to share with you.
Our first topic will be “The Importance of Linking.” Basic, yes I know, but what better place to start at?
Links are truly the foundation of the World Wide Web. The original term, “hyperlink” was coined in 1965 by researcher named Ted Nelson. He was working on a project called Xanadu, that sought to create a network of computers that were connected through a web of connecting links. Sound familiar?
Anyway, in the late 80s a man by the name of Tim Berners-Lee really connected the dots and created the protocols that eventually became what we now call the World Wide Web. Links are the connection between individual website pages. It is these millions upon millions of links which make up the web and connect human knowledge together. At first, people discovered new web pages only through links.
Then in the late 90s, a couple of Stanford grad students decided to upgrade basic search programs for use on the internet. Other search engines had been created before that searched web pages for keywords, but these guys had the innovative idea of using links as a measure of importance (The more links a page had to it, the more likely it was authoritative on its contextual subject.) These two grad students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, went on to found (you guessed it) Google, and changed the internet forever.
Based on this short history, you can start to see why linking is important. Here’s why it’s important for you, the blogger, specifically.
1. It gives the reader context and increases their trust in your work.
When journalists wrote in print, they used to have to have to write short introductions to news stories so that readers would know some of the back story. Now, bloggers can simply link to an older post that they or someone else wrote and, if a reader wants to get updated, all they have to do is click a link. Readers who already know what is going on simply can keep reading.
Similarly, just as you put footnotes in research papers, you can simply link to other webpages to back up what you are writing. If you make a controversial claim, or reference a study or news story, you can (and should) link to the older post. This gives readers the ability to check your sources, and in the end, increases their trust in your work. For example, I say that Eric Holder lied about Fast and Furious, I would say, Eric Holder lied about Fast and Furious.