I get emails all the time from mediators, lawyers, and other professionals asking for link exchanges from this blog. It’s nice that they perceive me as an authoritative source for ADR and negotiation and that an outbound link from MediationChannel.com counts for something. Unfortunately all too often these folks are missing the point.
I got an email the other day from a web designer writing on behalf of the client the web designer had just built a site for. The designer wanted my help in improving the web site’s search rank and to that end asked me to add the client’s static, non-blog web site to my — and this is what blew me away — my blogroll. My blogroll! You know, the place on my web site where I list the blogs I’m reading — blogs where I routinely find great content and informative articles about issues that affect me and my work. Blogs that are written by creative, intelligent, inspiring people, many of whom I have gotten to know and also happen to like and respect a great deal. Blogs that are listed here because they may be of interest to the people I really care about — my readers.
I wanted to ask, “What part of blogroll don’t you understand?”
So, as a public service message, here’s a blogger’s friendly advice to mediators and others who want to improve their site’s rank with the help of blogs:
- Don’t expect a blogger to link to your static site. Don’t even bother to ask — not unless you have great content there that will be of interest to the blogger and her readers — like well-crafted articles you’ve written, cool online tools and games you’ve created, productivity tips you’ve invented, or training and teaching materials you want to share. In my case, I may be willing (but no guarantees) to publish a post about your site and link to that terrific content. But please don’t expect me to add a link to your site from my sidebar. My blog is not here to provide free advertising for your business.
- Don’t ask a blogger to add a static site to a blogroll. A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs. By definition, it’s for blogs only. It’s that simple. In addition, see above #1.
- To really improve your site’s page rank with the help of a blog, exercise a little self-help. Either forget about regular web sites and launch a blog yourself in place of a static web site, or add a blog to your existing site. Reach out to other bloggers, build relationships with them, create good content that will keep readers returning (very important) and that bloggers will be delighted to link to, and the visitors to your site — along with the improved visibility on search engines — will come.