Here We Go: Linking

The topic today is: LINKING. As a blogger, I’m constantly linking. Sometimes I’m referencing a business, providing the source of an image, or just sharing additional information. Sadly, I still come across blogs that are linking incorrectly. (Yes-there’s a method. Well, MY method.) It’s like this:

1. When you use a photo in your post, you need to make sure you share the source correctly. Do not write “source” or “via” and link the source that way. Take time to give proper credit! Write out “Image found on Allison Lehman’s Flickr.” (Haha…like my awesome visual below?)

2. Link to the ACTUAL blog post or page. Not just the main domain name.The difference isn’t necessarily for crediting correctly but it saves so much more time for your readers to either learn more about the topic or to find out more information on the image. For example, let’s say in my post I tell you, “Click here to see more photos that I snapped on my film camera–including the photo from up above!” If you really do click that link, it takes you to my blog. NOW YOU HAVE TO FIND IT. Muah hahaha. Really, what I should have done was point you to this post.

3. Honestly? I don’t think linking to Pinterest or Tumblr is acceptable. If you can’t take the time to dig around OR if the source is that lost…you shouldn’t be posting the photo. It really irks me when I click on a source link and it takes me to a non-linked pin. Those sites, while very easy to share, can often lose sight of giving credit where credit is due.

4. Lastly, don’t include your blog URL in the comment box when commenting on other peoples’ blogs. It’s kind of tacky and unnecessary, really! Most blogs allow you to sign in and comment by providing your email/account/URL and that should be enough. Be a part of a blog’s community to share, learn and meet new people. You don’t need to be that person that’s handing out their business cards before you can even shake their hand. Plus, it can often push you into the spam catcher.

Now that you’ve heard from me, I thought I’d share some thoughts from some other amazing bloggers:

Giving credit where credit is due has proven to be a very touchy subject as of late. With a world of Pinterest, ffffound and Tumblr, it’s more important than ever to link to the original source of an image or site on your blog. Our fields of sharing are blurred and if links get broken, we lose the credit to the creator. I was really guilty of not following my own advice when I first started blogging, but now I try to link appropriately to the original artist, source or site in a blog post, which means sometimes I go 3-4 clicks through to find an artist’s site. It takes a little extra sleuthing, but it’s worth finding and posting the right content in the end. –Sharon McMullen

I like links. I’ve been chasing them around the web for years, always curious about where they’re going to take me next. I think properly linking information, especially in blogging, is the same as citing your work in a paper. It gives credit to your sources, and provides the reader with more information to follow should they wish to continue learning more about a topic. – Jim Viola

Including proper credit within my blog posts is a big priority for me. I decided awhile ago that if I can’t find the original source, I won’t use it. The reverse image search on Google often unearths the original source, but not always. In that case, I just don’t use the photo. But really, with the exception of properly credited features, I rarely use other people’s images. I love blogs with original photography and want my blog to stand out from the rest. Plus it means I’m photographing more of my own life, which is always a good thing! –Kara Haupt

What are your thoughts on linking? Do you see “bad linking” happening a lot? How do you prevent it and/or stop it? I’d love your thoughts and feedback! Feel free to leave any ideas for future “HERE WE GO” posts!

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Comments (43)

  • This turned out great. Happy to be a part of it and sponsor all this awesomeness.

  • Great post, Allie! All very good points and I hope people take heed. I hope people don’t assume I’m just not crediting others when I blog—97% of the time I’m using my own images, so I don’t put anything.

    One thing I have to say about linking back to your own blog in the comment is that I do link back to my own IF it’s a Blogger blog without the Name/URL feature turned on AND they don’t have the “notify me of replies” feature turned on. What if I want a response? But I always make it an actual link to my name (instead of the URL), so it looks like this: Jess.

    That way it’s at least not too obtrusive. But that’s a good point. I try not to do that very often because I also find it obnoxious!

    • Oh I do like that way of linking. It is frustrating when peoples’ blogs make it difficult to interact or allow your gravatar to show up. I could definitely see using your method in the future.

  • Ugh! Yes!

    I was trying to work up a post yesterday, and came across a beautiful photo I wanted to include…and guess what? They linked to the main website. I spent 30 minutes sifting through the images on the site, and could not, for the life of me, find the original photo. Eventually, I had to give up and now I don’t get to use that image! What a shame!

    I like this series, keep the good tips coming! :)

    • Ugh! That is so frustrating. That’s happened to me a few times the past couple weeks and I get so bummed out. Especially since I love emailing or tweeting to the photographer to let them know how much I love their work.

  • This is really helpfully. Haven’t started a blog yet and find it a little confusing but this really helps to answer some questions. Please please keep the tips and advice coming!


    • I’m so glad, Kristina! Good luck with starting your blog. Let me know if you’d like to see any topics covered in the future.

  • Great tips! The only one I’m kind of “meh” on is #1. Personally I don’t think its necessary to write out the whole source in the hyperlink title as long as the link goes directly to the source. But, to each her own :)

    • I definitely agree though. Not necessary. I’ve just seen my work/photos posted on someone’s blog before with only a “source” directly to my portfolio and was kind of bummed that it wasn’t important enough to mention (especially if it compliments the post content).

  • THANK YOU. This is such a wonderful post that every blogger (Tumblr and beyond) should read.

  • Great tips! I think #4 does have exceptions however. When people write with questions about a subject I have blogged about, I will comment and link to my specific post as a reference. City tips to a place I have traveled, for example. I always hope that my comment won’t be interpreted as self-promotion though.

    • Oh I definitely agree, Carly! I just get tired of reading some more popular blogs and everyone either adds their own blog link at the end of a comment (when it doesn’t necessarily add to the conversation). Thanks for reading & commenting! Love your blog.

  • I love this post, item #3 especially. It infuriates me that the chain of custody on a link has become more important than the actual content creator.

    Anytime I find something on Fffound, Tumblr, or Pinterest that I want to share, I dig and dig until I find the original person who created it. In the case of images, this is made vastly easier with Google’s image search tool. Go to > Images, then click on the little camera icon that appears in the search box. You can enter the url of an image you’re trying to source and it will give you results for that exact image. I can often find the originator by sorting by size and looking at sites that contain the largest version of the image. Or you’ll find uncropped versions. Sometimes you still have to dig through a ton of sharing sites, but if I can’t find the source, I don’t share the thing.

  • My two cents worth about #1 and #3 (and really I shouldn’t be making any comment with my tired induced state especially when I just spelled “cents” as “senses” sigh…) anyway … I also apologize if this turns out to be a long comment!

    Sometimes people don’t click the via or source and I know for me, I scroll so fast that a tiny “via” at the bottom of a photo will be ignored. Even if I read a “via Allison Lehman Flickr” without clicking it, I’m still getting the subtle visual cue of her name in my head. It takes 7 impressions for people to actual remember someone, even having a simple “Allison Lehman Flickr” link attributes to the impressions, where a simple “via” does not.

    Also I honestly don’t mind giving people who find the image/content first especially if that original person linked correctly to the source. The internet is about sharing and most people post on the internet for that reason. So giving someone attribute for finding something is fine in my mind BUT that does not excuse a person for not giving the source of the photo. A lot of Tumblr’s are about who found what and credit that person with rarely giving the actual source credit.

    For me proper attributed linking should look like:

    If you found the image/content from the original source – Source Allison Lehman’s Flickr

    If you found the image/content from another blog that linked to the source – Source Allison Lehman’s Flickr via

    Again just my opinion, but it’s something that I will take in account when writing a “disclaimer” of sorts for my blog. :)

    • I have to agree with you on the whole “via” and “source” thing. Sometimes it makes me sad when a photo or a piece of design work is circulating a lot in the blog world and no one really knows WHO made it (even when people are technically linking).

      Plus, more than likely, if you’re linking to someone’s site…they can see the pingback and will more than likely check it out. Not to sound snooty but I appreciate it when a blog identifies my photo challenges by my blog’s name with a source link.

      Also- I need to make note that this comment by Heather (and 3 other comments from the past week) was considered spam because of links in the comment! The other comment that was considered spam was from a giveaway and the other was just a lovely reader leaving her blog URL at the bottom. I don’t think bigger bloggers would even have the time to sort through their spam folder to check.

      • Me too Allie, I guess in a way I see links as a way to help domain authority and Google presence and the blog title as the marketing presence to get my name out. They go hand in hand to effectively promote copyright and to promote a larger audience.

        LOL I’m sure I would have been all “Allie why aren’t you accepting my comment?!” on Twitter to make you check the spam folder.

  • And I know this is a little nitpicky but I think all links should open up in a new window target=”_blank”. You don’t want people to leave your own blog while they go off searching another. What happens when they are done viewing that blog and want to come back to yours? If they have to do 5 click backs or more I’m sure patience will wear off.

    You want to make reading your blog the easiest and painless it can be for your readers, it will make them come back to read more.

    (Coming from a web designer/developer standpoint.)

    I’m good now ;)

    • And good call on the new window/tab thing. The nice thing about WordPress is when you link text, it will allow you to check a box that says “Open link in new tab.” It saves me every time because I would definitely forget!

    • Yes, I ‘m a big stickler for using the _blank! It also makes it way easier to figure out how people are navigating the blog or where they’re going. Plus, I want people to stay on my blog, even if it means coming back to it after clicking an outbound link.

    • Heather hit on one of my biggest pet peeves, blogs that don’t open links into new windows! Drives me bonkers! If I’m reading from my reader, it’s not big deal as it will automatically open into a new window or tab. But when I’m on a blog’s site proper and I click on a link and it takes me right to the page instead of creating another page, I get cranky. I’ve had to start automatically right clicking any links just to avoid that situation.

      Proper linking is so important. I’ve seen a lot of blogs and publications who use other’s photos and then say “Source Google Images”. Um No. Just no. That is such a horrible disrespect to the original author!

      I also like transparency in blog posts. So for example you decide to talk about Skillet Rustic and you mention the name and there’s a link associated with the name. That link should take me to Skillet’s website NOT to a blog post you previously wrote about Skillet. If you wanted to do that then the text should indicate that, “Here’s where I’ve talked about them before”. I hate when a blog talks about a place and I click the link only to be directed to another blog post. Take me to the source! Or make it clear that you are linking to another blog post. As a reader if I have to dig around and do work to find the answer, then I get annoyed and move on.

      (Oh man I have strong feelings about linking I guess. Ha! )

      • Strong feelings are a good thing! I loved what you said about transparency, I completely agree!

  • Great post, and yes, I agree (although, as Liz said above, I find #1 the least serious point if the link if to the appropriate source).

    I love pinterest, and one of the reasons I love it is that I see it as a gateway to “the real deal” – i.e. the original post/photo/idea. It’s a real shame when something loses the meaning it gets from its original context and just becomes another generic internet image!

  • Jessica R

    I don’t have a blog, but I loved this post. There is nothing better as a blog reader than an easy way to click links, understand original sources and be immediately taken to new, fun places via the original post! Thanks, Allie, you do this so well!

  • I HATE IT when i follow a link and it takes me to the person that posted it on their blogs tumblr. that isn’t helpful at all!

    great post.

  • I just had to add this post to my list of Friday favorites today. Excellent tips, Allison!

  • Thank you for this article! I love linking to things in my posts, so this was good to read. I see a few places where I’m guilty… Especially the “via” or “source” attribution. I’ll be putting the proper attributions in the future. :)

  • I was getting frustrated with myself because when I commented on a blogger page I just had to use my blogger account and it was linked to an old email (b/c for some reason blogger won’t let me use a gmail email – argh – any solutions to that?) but I did some digging around yesterday in the deep realms of GFC and figured out how to redirect what I comment to my normal email. Now if I can just figure out the rest.

  • I just stumbled upon your blog and am reading all of your blogging posts like a mad woman. I have my own opinions on blogging (don’t we all), and share them on my blog, but I love learning from others and what they like and recommend, especially since I’m giving my blog a new design and layout.

    Never did I think about how I worded the source under the image. Rarely do I use images that are not mine but if I do I will just use the word source and link it. After reading your post I won’t. Because really writing source is the lazy way to give credit. I don’t even know if it’s really giving credit, in retrospect. The name of the person should be loud and clear because you are borrowing. So thank you! I’m definitely doing that differently from now on.

    I’m mixed on leaving your url to your blog in a comment. Normally I do but it’s never a typed out url. It says my blog name and is a hyperlink to my blog. I do it because blogging is all about connecting and I stumble on a lot of blogs that if you click the person’s name it doesn’t take you anywhere, just refreshes the page. That gets frustrating for me if I like a comment on there but now don’t know how to get to that person’s blog. I also read a post on Design*Sponge about being proud of your blog. So that’s the other reason I put it there. I don’t expect people to go to it. I don’t leave it messy and have the url spelled out. And I also think it’s different with the type of comment you leave. There are people who leave comments that say, “Great post, follow me on…” or ” Great idea and then insert their blog link” I rarely ever make comments like that. If I like a post I want to talk all about what I like about it, and my feedback via a comment. So my comments on other blog posts tend to get long and I try and just speak from the heart. I think when you see someone’s blog name linked on a heartfelt comment it doesn’t come off as rude or prudent than if they said, “Great job,…insert blog name.” Still I’m mixed because I don’t want to come off as “look at me” on someone’s else’s blog. That’s their space. Anyway, those are the reasons why I do it. Thank you for these posts. I’ve been learning quite a lot from you and taking bits and pieces and applying it to my new layout.

    All the best,

    • Hi Aubrey! Thanks for the comment :) I’m glad you enjoyed reading through my blogging posts!! I love hearing other peoples’ opinions too. As for the leaving your link in a blog comment – I definitely think hyperlinking is fine and it sounds like you’re doing it tastefully! Some blogs don’t let you add your domain/URL and so I can definitely see it being useful then. With my blog, your name ends up linking if you fill that field in.

      But I DO love the idea of being proud of your blog. That’s exactly the way I want to be.

  • Oh man, totally called me out on the name/blog name thing. I like what you had to say about it, and I agree. That “put the business card out before even shaking hands” was a pet peeve at a recent conference. But… :) I started doing it because there were a lot of people I didn’t recognize on other’s blogs and even on my own, especially if there wasn’t a photo. Do you have any suggestions for that? Or just get over it and go back to the personal approach of just my name? :)

    • Over time, I’ve realized that I don’t mind if when people comment and add their blog name beside or below their name with it hyperlinked. It looks more branded and less showy. You know? I also think it’s okay to do if the person doesn’t let you link your name to your comment. Like with your comment here, I can click your name and see your beautiful blog!

      • It makes sense. And, really, as a writer, I should be trying to get my name out there, not necessarily my blog name. Thanks for helping think more about that.

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