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Give Your Blog a Health Check (And Share the Link Love)

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 12, 2008

Had a chance to meet Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang today to brief him on Helpstream.  I thought I’d take a gander at some of his blogging and happened on a great post about giving your corporate blog a health check.  I think any blog would benefit from the points Jeremiah presents, not just a corporate blog.

One point in particular really rang my bell though:

4. Linking Behavior:
Links are the currency of the blogosphere, it indicates you respect someone else’s opinion so much that you’re willing to send them away from you.

Great: Links out to other sources, even competitors or critics as well as the next listed +1
Good: Links out to other sources, where other discussions are occurring
Bad: Primarily links to corporate created content 25% of the time
Horrible: Primarily links to corporate created content over 50% of the time

The reason this one rang my bell is I’ve been watching a trend for a little while now for blogs to quit accepting Trackbacks as they become more successful. If they don’t quit accepting them, then they often radically de-emphasize them. 

Why do blogs do this?  I can only speculate.  Maybe they don’t think it’s important.  Maybe they want to own and not share the conversation.  Whatever the reason, they don’t share the link love by not allowing trackbacks. 

I always try to link to relevant content whenever I’m posting.  I think its a service to my readers.  What if you want to know more than I can put in a short blog post because you like the topic?  What if you want to read the original sources that inspired me to see if they’ve said something I missed or if they leave you with a different conclusion?   Trackbacks are just a way to make that relationship reciprocal.  If it’s an important blog, I’ll take the trouble to comment and leave a manual Trackback to my own related post.  But I can tell you, when I go looking for articles to link to, the ones without trackbacks are getting less and less play.

They probably don’t care, because they’ve switched from growing traffic to retaining readership.  But blocking trackbacks is not the way to do that, and missing the idea that trackbacks give something to your readers too is a mistake.

Jeremiah, trackbacks should figure into your blog health check.  They reflect even greater trust in your readers, just like allowing comments that disagree with your post.

One Response to “Give Your Blog a Health Check (And Share the Link Love)”

  1. […] another thing I’m on the verge of acting on.  I’ve commented before that as blogs get big, they want to de-emphasize Trackbacks.  As a blogger, I feel that Trackbacks […]

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