I really hate to “go meta” and discuss blog details, but every once in a while a change seems necessary, and inevitably, I feel the need to explain it. I apologize in advance to those of you who just want to hear our latest news.
I’ve always peppered my posts with links. Most of these refer to previous posts, or pages of photos on our Web site. Occasionally I’ll link to an outside Web site.
I generally link to a significant phrase in the post, so as not to break the flow of the essay. I’m working on changing that now, for a few reasons.
Starting with my last post (Popcorn, The “Homesteader’s” Nemesis) I began naming the links in parentheses, like I just did in this sentence. From here on out I’ll either name the title of the post to which I refer, or otherwise identify where the link will take you.
In that particular post, the final comment about shrews only makes sense if the reader immediately follows the link to the post that explained what the shrews did with the popcorn. If a reader skips links until he/she finishes the current post, he/she won’t get the reference.
I came up with this idea while working on preparing my latest ebook, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm for print publication. (Notice that some links, such as this last one, are too self-explanatory to merit special treatment.) Stripping links out of the posts in the book comprised a large part of that process. This led me to consider the links, their effectiveness and usefulness in the blog.
Most people see and recognize links for what they are. However, as I’ve often pointed out, this blog began as, and continues to primarily serve as a way to keep family and friends posted (sorry!) on our activities. Many among this reader group are not as computer savvy as the Internet public at large. I sometimes find it necessary to take steps, such as this one, to ease their way through our site.
Additionally, we are blessed by many long time, faithful readers. I imagine that many of them don’t need to read, yet again, the posts I refer back to so often. Why not name them when linking, so that readers can see whether they need to follow the link or not? That seems like a courtesy we owe to those of you who support us so generously with your interest.
All of our links, except those that come at the very end of a post, will continue to open a new window, rather than take the reader away from the original post.
The big question becomes, will I make this retroactive? Will I go back through the previous 1000+ posts and change the links to make them more user-friendly? I hope so, but please be patient—if I ever get around to it at all, it’s going to take a while!