Publishers Should Rethink Links

As a publisher, you want people to come to your site. The more people who link to you, the better. But it’s often not a two-way street. Many publishers still neglect to put the same effort in linking out to outside sites. Dave Winer, famous software developer (he developed RSS) and writer, thinks this is not only bad form but it also hurts the publication in the long run. On his blog Winer writes about the importance of rivers, the list on the side of publishers’ sites and blogs that lists other sites/blogs that show what the publication itself is reading. As Winer sees it, this is an important and necessary way to build online publishing communities. It is a way that publishers can help each other and their readers:

The Times is starting to do this, and it’s good — but it should be systematic, and it can go much further. And once you’ve shown them what pubs you’re reading, a natural next step is to aggregate them into a river, a newsfeed of postings from all the blogs and news orgs you follow. This accomplishes many important things. It gets more news to flow through your site, which makes your site more valuable to more people. It also tells the people you read that you’re reading them. And it gives them something to kvell about. It creates a bond between you and them, and it cost you almost nothing to do this. It will give you access to their ideas. And it will help their ideas get heard. And it will make your venue the place people go to get the latest and greatest ideas. Look at how many ways you win!

Read the full post “Every news org should have a river” here.
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