Thursday, May 04, 2006

Another Link in the Chain

Let's talk about Internet links.

The astute among you might have noticed that once again my "Blogs I Read" list has gotten longer. And though I haven't updated it in a while, the link list on my website has a few hundred links on it.

Am I doing this because I'm a generally nice guy who likes to help other writers out?

Naturally. I love you. You know that.

But there are some ulterior motives at play as well.

Anyone who has installed www.statcounter.com or similar trackers on their site can view where web traffic comes from. About 50% of my website and blog hits come from links. The rest come from searches or direct hits.

Considering I get a few thousand hits a week, half of my visitors coming from other sites is a substantial number.

So it pays to trade links with others.

But more people link to me than vice-versa. Why? I often get traffic from sites I've never heard of. Why are people linking to me and not asking for a link in return?

On the information superhighway, content is key. If you have a large amount of information on your website or blog, people link to it for both personal reasons (so they can find the site later) and for selfish reasons (because they want more people to visit their website, and links are a form of information.)

Besides being exceedingly generous (and modest) one of the reasons I link to so many people is because my site then becomes a hub for Internet surfing. I can come here and then visit a few dozen blogs from this central location. I'm guessing that other people do the same thing.

But links do more than direct traffic. They also play a large part in search engine ranking. The more links you have going in and coming out, the larger Google, Yahoo, MSN, and the rest of the engines think your site is. That means higher rankings for searches. Key words and meta tags are important in ranking, but so is site size and links.

If you're curious as to how many people link to your blog, visit www.technorati.com and punch in your blog url.

You can also check your website and blog popularity and search engine saturation at http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/

What's helpful about both of these is that besides checking your own sites, you can check the sites of your peers. While I strongly believe that writers don't have to compete with one another (my fans can be your fans, there's no exclusivity) and I also believe that comparing yourself to other writers is a bad idea, checking the rankings of those in your peer group can tell you if you need to spend more time on internet promotion, or if your time would be better spent elsewhere.

If your numbers are low, remember that more links and more content are the keys to traffic. Being entertaining and/or controversial also helps. So does being generous, likeable, and helpful.

That said, here are some questions I'd love to get your answers to:

  1. Did you discover this blog through a link?
  2. Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
  3. Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
  4. Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

57 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?
- Yes, and through people griping about you at Miss Snark's.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
- Direct url - you're in my bookmarks bar under evil influences
Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
- occasionally, not often, but occasionally I have - I tend to check someone out via their comments if I think they're really sharp.

But links are good. They raise your google rating.

kalbzayn said...

1 Did you discover this blog through a link?
Yes. But I don't remember where.
2 Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
You are bookmarked in my bloglines account. When I want to comment or read the comments, I click through.
3 Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
Yes, but like Sandra mentioned, I much more often will click on somebody because of a comment than a link.

Another note. I don't often read mysteries. I would have never heard of you without that link, and never heard of your book without this website.

Milady Insanity said...

I discovered you through a link, though I can't remember where--probably Lee Goldberg's blog.

I read your blog on Bloglines.

I've not visited the blogs you link to via your site. I don't bloghop very often, unless it's a link within a blog entry.

I do think people, me included, find it difficult to ask to trade links, even when the other person says to email her/him directly to do so. Therefore, I do it the other way: If somebody links to me, I'll reciprocate and comment/email to say thanks.

Robin Brande said...

Joe--I first became aware of you because of your funny and informative article "After the Book Comes Out" in Writer's Digest. But I didn't start reading your blog until my agent recommended it, and now, of course, I'm a total Konrath hog, enjoying all your guerrilla marketing techniques for writers and forcing your opinions on others.

I have you bookmarked, and I also link to you from my blog so other writers can find you and join in the fun.

Bernita said...

1. Link - can't remember where.
2.You've been on my favorites list for a long time.
~my horror of html~
3.Now and then.
4. Thank you, Joe, for adding my link.

Doolols said...

So here's an interesting question - is it better for your rankings that we visit via our bookmarks, or via a link?

Otherwise, same as the rest. I've yet to stabilise on my own website, which obviously I need to do, and pronto. As soon as I do, I'll be happy to trade links (generous, ain't I?)

Here's a question - suppose I had some time free. Would it better our rankings if I clicked on a link to your blog, and then clicked on a link there to mine, and clicked on a link to your ... you get the picture? Anyone know? Stoopid question, I know. They come up, sometimes.

Jason said...

I heard about it through MJ Rose's blog among other writers, and as a soon-to-be-published novelist I was very curious to read your thoughts on the whole process.

And now, since you mentioned it, it's shameless plug time. Everybody link to my blog at jasonpinter.blogspot.com.

Right now. Or else.

And if you email me I'd be happy to trade blog links with you. I'm, like, more famous than Tom Cruise, so linking to me can only help you achieve superstardom.

Kayla said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?
- Yep. Probably via Miss Snark.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
- A link, through one I have on my own blog, or through Bloglines.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
- Definitely. I love browsing them and finding more blogs to add to my own collection.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.
- I've had you linked for awhile, but I've refrained from requesting a link myself because it seemed, ah... pretentious? I didn't want to come off as desperate or rude. Truthfully, I'd love a link. :)

JA Konrath said...

Rankings have nothing to do with website hits, visits, or where surfers come from.

Keeping track of site hits is used by putting some tracking HTML or java on your page. Search engines don't have access to this.

Engines like Google look at your bandwith, the amount of unique words and content you have, your meta tags, and your incoming and outgoing links. I'm not sure if they someone track the number of hits you get through them (like if put in "JA Konrath" on Google.) They might. But that wouldn only be through them, not for the whole net.

So where you connect to me has no impact on my SE ranking. But linking to me does.

There are certain banner exchange and pay-per-click deals out there that supposedly drive traffic to your site. My advice: Don't use them.

There's a whole section of the Internet that leads to spyware traps and data miners. Adult sites, password crack sites, freebie sites---these all install crap on your computer. Because of that, web-savvy folks avoid clicking on pop ups and banners and ads. So don't have pop ups or banners or ads on your site or blog.

Don't pay to submit to search engines either---big waste of money. Do it manually. Or trade a lot of links, and the SE will find you.

Jason--your blog is funny as hell. Just linked to you. Congrats on your deal.

JA Konrath said...

Just linked to you Kayla. Thanks for linking to me!

Adam Hurtubise said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?

--Not really. I came over from your website, which I found on your agent's client page.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

--Direct URL, bookmarked.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

--A few.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

--We've exchanged links.

Jason said...

Thanks, Joe. And if anyone is interested, you can check out my blog for information about our joint novel, CRABJACKER.

You'll have to trust me on this.

Mike H said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?

-- No. I found your website via your WD article and found your blog from there.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

-- Your blog is bookmarked and is the first place I visit when I log on.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

-- No. I generally check other poeple's blog out who have responded to your posts.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

-- My blog and web site are both linked to you. Never thought about trading links.

JA Konrath said...

I'm noticing that a lot of folks check out blogs through responses.

So maybe all that time we're wasting on the net, replying to posts, isn't a waste after all...

LA Burton said...

I sought you out after I read your article in WD. I have both of your links on my blog and have had others come to my blog because my link being here.

I also send other writers to your website because it has so many great on it.

Sandra Ruttan said...

"I'm noticing that a lot of folks check out blogs through responses.

So maybe all that time we're wasting on the net, replying to posts, isn't a waste after all..."

People email me all the time and say they went to my website or blog because they saw me mouthing off somewhere. Nope, not a waste of time.

"I'm not sure if they someone track the number of hits you get through them (like if put in "JA Konrath" on Google.) They might."

My husband says no, and he gets paid the big bucks to optimize sites. What affects you is not what people search for, but only if they actually go to your site and they use the philosophy that the more people who link to you, the more important your site must be.

I leave all the optimization stuff to him. What's interesting is, my cousin's been in the music business for several years, first album came out three years ago. My first book isn't even out yet, but if you type Ruttan into Google, my site comes out higher than his.

And yes, Joe, thanks for the link. We got you a nice big one on Spinetingler as well. Three, in fact.

SAND STORM said...

I don't remember how I found your blog.
You are on my Blogroll.
I have checked out some of the sites you have listed.
I check yours 2-3 times a week.

I link to blogs that interest me and update regularly, I also dump ones that don't.

Chapters 1&2 are now up at Sand Storm.

Jude Hardin said...

"I'm noticing that a lot of people check out blogs through responses."

Very true. I got 600 profile views in about a month, just from commenting here and a couple of other places. I wasn't trying to generate traffic at the time, because there was nothing much on my blog site.

Today I posted a few chapters from my WIP if anyone wants to take a look. It's a PI novel, different than most in that it is third-person and alternates 2 POVs whose stories eventually merge. I'm looking for revision tips, constructive criticism, etc.

And, could somebody tell me how to do the link thing? I need to buy Blogging For Dummies, if there is such a book.

jamie ford said...

1. It was in a listing of publishing blogs on hatrack.com

2. I use the live-bookmark feature in Firefox. (RSS)

3. Once in a while.

J. Carson Black said...

JA -

1.Yes - can't remember which (Tess? First Offenders? Someone else?)
2. I have you bookmarked, but I can also get to you on my own Links page
3. Yes, I just went to technocrati. Could be I went to Tess Gerritsen from you, or it could have been the other way around.
4. Already done - and I'm very pleased about that

BTW, JA - I mentioned you on my blog yesterday, just a passing reference, if you're interested...It's the blog, "Podcasting! Or, the Love of a Good Man".

Kalen Hughes said...

Looking forward to CRABJACKER.

John Jones said...

I found you via Barry Eisler.

I found Barry Eisler at my local library.

I first picked up Eisler's books because I, like his main character, used to live in Japan.

So, really, this is all my parents' fault for moving to Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

1. Did you discover this blog through a link?

I got here through a link on Tamara Siler Jones' blog (tamboblog).

2. Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

I get here through my favorites list.

3. Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

Sometimes, usually when I've run out of my usual blogs to read.

Brett Battles said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?
No. I heard you speak (and met you briefly) at BoucherCon in Chicago. So as soon as I got back home, I check out your site.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
You are bookmarked.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
On occasion. I'm also like Sandra. I'll visit the sites of people who've written responses that have clicked with me.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links?
You link to me and I link to you. Thanks!

Jean said...

1. Did you discover this blog through a link?

Yes, Tamara Siler Jones linked to you in several posts.

2. Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

Mostly via Bloglines.

3. Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

Yes, but not from your page.

4. Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

I link to you. I don't know if you link to me -- the sidebar doesn't seem to have a particular organization scheme, and I'm not that obsessive about finding out if you link me or not (but I don't think so). I figure whether you link to me or not is your business.

Andrea said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?
-No. I did read an article that you wrote in Writer's Digest but someone on a message board for writers gave me the link.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
-Direct URL listed on my blog.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
-Not sure. Probably. I think I saw a few familiar ones.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.
-I've had your link on my blog roll for a while. I would have to agree with Kayla. I didn't want to come off desperate by asking, but I'd love a link.

Jeri said...

1. Did you discover this blog through a link?
--Yep, either MJ Rose or Miss Snark

2. Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
--I use my blogroll as a bookmark list.

3. Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?
--If you mention them in your post, or occasionally I'll follow a link from a response.

4. Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.
--Had your link for months now, keep meaning to e-mail you and tell you how much I appreciated that one post, "No Vacation for You," and by the way, would you link back to me when you get a free minute? But I never did. Consider this my request. Thanks!

M. G. Tarquini said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?

No. I saw your picture posted at the post office.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

I do, but my attorney says I can't say which ones.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

Yes, you were an early link. I was too shy to tell you I had, but you found me and linked back. I felt like I should start spelling things correctly when that happened. Like I should start saying profound things, sound writerly.

Then I got over it.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Yes...no...yes...no...we are mutually linked!

Robert S.P. Lee said...

"Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog."

Well, then add me man!

www.omenspirits.com is my website.

I ran into you after the Anthony's at Chi-town with Bill Pronzini.

Drop by. I found this by way of CrimeSpot just an FYI.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Truer words were never spoken. A large number of hits to my website come from your blog, Joe.

I'm surprised, however, to see how many are direct hits lately. Times are changing.

I found your blog from a comment you posted on the book tarts' blog, by the way. Nice little thing we've got going here, eh?

Christine Fletcher said...

1. Found you through Miss Snark.

2. Got you in my favorites list.

3. Occasionally. Like many people here, if a comment intrigues me, I'll look that person up.

4. I've already linked to you -- love to have you link to me!

Bhaswati said...

I have your blog linked to mine and visit daily. I sure won't mind if you linked mine as well. Thanks for your generosity! I really appreciate the help you're giving to fellow writers.

I do occasionally visit the links on your blog, although I feel it would help if they were posted on the sidebar rather than below the posts.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Hey, Joe, explain something to me. I went to marketleap.com, put in my site, along with yours and a few others and what I discovered opened my eyes.

While we had pretty similar numbers in a few of the search engines, yours and the other bloggers' numbers in MSN were in the thousands while mine was close to zero.

I'm curious to know what that's all about.

Tania said...

I discovered your blog after visisting your main website (which I did after reading your first book).

I have this blog bookmarked, but sometimes I use the link that's on my own blog.

I've checked out some of the blog links, but like others have said, I usually end up at other blogs through the comments that have been left.

Milady Insanity said...

I agree on the comments thing.

I personally think it makes all the difference between a blog with no readers and a blog with readers, especially if you're a new blogger.

Jaime Smith said...

1. Did you discover this blog through a link?

**No, I think I visited because of comments you made at Miss Snark's (and because I recognized your name).


2. Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

**I have you in my bookmarks.


3. Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

**I've found a lot of blogs through your links. Usually I click on names I've heard of or those that sound interesting.


4. Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

**I do link to you from my blog. You don't link to me though. I'm fairly new at this and I would love for you to add me to your blog.

Amra Pajalic said...

1. I discovered your website through Tess' website.
2. I've bookmarked you and also go through my blog link.
3. I usually look at other people's blogs from the comments.
4. Already taken you up on the offer.

While I agree that linking is a good promotion tool I wouldn't have it as an open free-for-all. I want to only link to people's who's blogs I read, enjoy and can recommend. While I've put a little note in the sidebar above blogs I read that I'll link other blogs, people who see it would have to actually read my blog to see it.

Also I do a regular purge of links. Some blogs I get sick of reading or they turn me off and it's time to add new ones. So it's a constant update and change.

I find comments a great way to discover other blogs of interest. You get a indication of the person's voice and whether you like them or not and then you have a whole blog to enjoy.

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Joe:
1. I figured I'd better find out who the heck you were when I found you at not one, not two, but four blog links at writers' blogs I check out at least weekly.

2. I do pop in once a week or so.

3. I have linked to blogs, or more likely, to profiles.

4. I sent you my link . . . and I had already added you on mine.

As usual, thanks for the various links and insights. Helpful blog entry today.

Cheers,
E

Wesley Smith said...

1.I'm not sure, possibly through Miss Snark, like others have said, but it's been so long I've forgotten, and when I first discovered the site, I thought it was so informative that I...
2.Bookmarked it.
3.Not regularly. The list is honestly too long to really allow for browsing.
4.No. Thought about it, but no.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

What a great and timely entry - I just put up my website and you just handed me everything I need to know about stats. I love it when that happens! Thanks!

1. I most probably got to your site through Sarah Weinman's, but you're linked on a lot of blogs I've visited.

2. I usually visit your site through my favorites list, which has now been transferred to my website.

3. I have visited a great many of the site you link.

4. I do already have you linked on my site, because I think your blog is a fantastic resource for writers. I'd be honored if you linked back: Alexandra Sokoloff http://alexandrasokoloff.com/

Hope to meet you at ThrillerFest -

Alex

JA Konrath said...

Did I meiss anybody? Check my sidebar for your link...

Bhaswati said...

Thanks a lot for linking, Joe. You can disregard my earlier comment about your links showing up at the bottom of the page rather than on the sidebar. It appears that way in Firefox. In IE, all the links do appear on the sidebar.

Thanks again!

Jeri said...

Thanks, Joe!

I have Firefox, and your links have always come up on the sidebar just fine.

gugon said...

Wow - I've been looking for a blog like this.

I found your blog via a link from another blog - which, in turn, I found through a search.

I have VERY little traffic to my blog and I definitely need to spend more time on marketing - but I am definitely "marketing challenged", so to speak. And on top of that - my little "project" takes up most of my free time.

If you would actually consider linking to my blog (and I will do the same for yours), I would consider it a huge honor.

Thanks for offering so much great information here!

Dakota Knight said...

I can't remember where I found out about you, most likely through Millenia Black's Blog. But your blog is very informative.

I've found that commenting on other blogs has helped me tremendously. And I look at the blog comment section to find interesting blogs from other writers to read.

Jude Hardin said...

Thanks, Joe!

Jaime Smith said...

Hey, thanks for adding me to your blogroll! Much appreciated.

Andrea said...

Thanks for the link, Joe. I appreciate it.

Camy Tang said...

Thanks for the MarketLeap link. Wow, that was useful.

Did you discover this blog through a link?

From a StatCounter link, actually.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

Usually a link from my Blog aggregator.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

Yup. And I've had a few people link to me from your page. Thanks for trading links with me!

Camy

Kayla said...

Thanks, Joe!

Karen said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?
It's been a while since I added you- I can't remember how I found you.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?
Through Bloglines.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

Quite a few.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.
Yes, I link to you. I'd love a link back - http://ksteele2.blogspot.com

Jean said...

Thanks, Joe. I also checked out the two tracking/monitoring links in your post I wasn't aware of before. They look interesting. WordPress links to technorati automatically.

gugon said...

Hey, thanks for adding me Joe! Much appreciated. I just added yours - and this will absolutely be one of my regular visits.

Thanks again for putting your knowledge and experience out here for us!

Mary Stella said...

Did you discover this blog through a link?

I discovered you because my friend Beth Ciotta mentioned you in a post on her blog.

Do you regularly visit this blog through a link, a web search, or a direct URL?

Since I now have you on my blog's blogroll, I go there first and click over.

Do you ever visit any of the blogs I've linked to on this page?

Yes.

Do you link to me and I don't link to you, or would you like to trade links? If so, let me know and I'll add you to this blog.

We swapped links. Thanks, JA!

Bill Peschel said...

I can't remember anymore how I got here. Might be through a Writer's Digest article (in that weird way I play word association in my head, I may have come across an article or interview with you, got your first book from the library, then, through another blog, read about your site and came here).

I read your blog and all others through Bloglines. I don't click on your links, unless they're in a post.

And, yep, we traded links, although I didn't ask. Thank you.

Stephen J. Hopson said...

I found you by using "Stumble" for blogger.com blogs. Being a wanna-be author in the non-fiction area (self help), I took great interest in reading about traditional publishing versus self publishing.