Thinking about linking – thanks to Geniaus

Once again blogger extraordinaire, Jill aka Geniaus, has challenged us to think about our blogging practice, and especially the use of hyperlinks. I only read Jill’s post about hyperlinking a few days ago and I’ve been reflecting on my practice ever since.

So what are my strategies – always assuming I’m not rushing, or distracted, and forget.

Referencing other posts

If I mention something about another person’s post I’ll link the actual story, after all that story is their copyright property and I’m recommending it to the reader as something useful or interesting, or both, to read.

If it’s a comment about a blogger or website in general, I link to their overall blog page or website. What to do with an example as above? If I’m going to mention Geniaus closely followed by a specific reference which will take you to the same site, I don’t link twice….it seems repetitious, but in this case I’ve linked to the post, and to Jill’s Google+ page.

This is not unlike using footnotes in a written document, though these may still be necessary in some cases.

Copyright images

Sometimes I want the reader to be able to see an image I found but it’s copyrighted. One way to deal with this is to hyperlink to the page where I found it. A good example is the gravestones on the Australian Cemeteries Index pages, which refer to East Clare people I’m talking about in my posts.

Prior history

We all know our readers join us over time. Sometimes it’s worth referring to an earlier post which the reader may not have seen when it was published or have forgotten (just imagine!). Or you may have more than one blog and want to cross-refer to a story.

Vernacular expressions

I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person of occasionally taking some phrases for granted, but I do try to link to the more peculiar ones. Of course Aussies grow up watching American and British TV programs so we understand a variety of expressions. But who would have thought that “boiled sweets” would have caused as much confusion as it did in Susan’s post about her father on her Family History Fun blog?


Strangely I’m a little more ambivalent about this. Sometimes it’s useful to hyperlink if there’s a particular aspect of a place that could be clarified by the link eg Charters Tower’s mining history. In other cases I’m not sure it’s necessary. If I don’t know where Chicago is, or much about it, it may not affect how I appreciate Kristin’s family stories on Finding Eliza.

On the other hand, perhaps I should be linking to information about specific places in my East Clare blog – or get permission to use a map which shows East Clare and its key towns. I think I’ll use the relevant Clare Library page for the parish, eg O’Brien’s Bridge, as it lists all available resources on their site. Thank heavens I don’t have too many posts which need additions.

How do you think about linking in your blog posts?

8 thoughts on “Thinking about linking – thanks to Geniaus

  1. I always link to other blogs if I mention them (including my own posts). I usually link to sites I mention. I sometimes link to sources of further information (including entries for individuals in my online tree). I use blogging software which can remember which phrases link to which sites, so if I mention Geniaus it will automatically create a link. Very handy!
    I wouldn’t have picked boiled sweets as a potentially confusing term. I think you’re right about our exposure to British and US TV making a difference. Suddenly I feel almost multilingual!


  2. Thanks Pauleen for continuing the conversation on this topic. I think links really add value to our blogs.

    Thanks for sharing your linking policy and outlining your reasons for your decisions. These are valuable guidelines for bloggers.

    I must look at Shelley’s blog and see what platform she uses, I’d like those automatic links.


  3. I’m with you, Pauleen. I’ll link to a specific post (or article, web page etc) if it gives more info about the subject. If someone’s gone to the trouble of researching and writing about a topic, why not spread the word – and acknowledge their work. It can be a thank-you, as well, if what they’ve written has helped me. For a person I’ll link to their home page, about, author page, or whatever seems most relevant.

    Then there are links to background about places, people, etc which can flesh out the story. (I’m with you about Chicago, btw). I agree about copyright, too. A link to the image, map etc isn’t as attractive-looking as the actual thing, but there’s no point in risking breaching copyright. Sometimes lovely rellies have read a post and have sent me their own images of a special place with permission to use them, which is wonderful.

    ‘At the heart of the web is the link’, as Tim Berners-Lee (the ‘father’ of the web) said. And here’s the link to him saying it:


  4. Thank you, Pauleen,for this etiquette guide to linking, and for giving me a mention re my blpg reference to “boiled sweets” – it never occurred to me that it could be misunderstood or provoke the interest it did. I agree with you your comments. It is only courtesy to link where you are referring to another blog or post and it is a standard , as bloggers, that we should all be following. .


  5. I agreed with your comments on linking as well Pauleen and was very interested to read Shelley’s reply about the software. I have been using both Blogger and WordPress and I like that WordPress suggests links. I probably use Blogger more often though as I find it a bit quicker and easier.


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