How to Link Back (and be a blogger's best friend)

When I receive a series of emails related to similar topics, I suspect that more than a few people are wondering the same thing. Recently, I received an email asking about the ethics of sharing art projects via blogs. One particular art teacher was feeling torn between sharing her lessons for all to use (which she liked) but didn’t like it when teachers in her own community would use her lessons. I suspect that she is not alone in that uncomfortable feeling of being taken advantage of. But the question she had was: Should I be feeling this way?

In short, the answer is kinda yes and kinda no. I generally don’t like to talk about blog tips on my blog as I’m not an expert, but I have learned a few things in the last 3 years. So to avoid feeling like your very soul is being ripped out by dozens of unfeeling teachers, take a step back and know that the problem is mostly because they don’t know better. Let’s face it, many art teachers are new to blogging and may not know all the bloggy protocol that has slowly been bubbling to the surface. So here are a few basics steps that I know will help many of you…

State your mission

On every blog platform (Blogger, WordPress, etc) you have the opportunity to introduce yourself and state the purpose of your blog. Most blogs allow you to post a picture and say a few brief words. Typically, this introduction is best served just below your banner or header. That’s where most people look for it. I’d highly recommend introducing yourself this way, especially if you have a blog without a menu.

If you do have a menu, you can include an “About Me” page. This is often one of the most clicked on pages on your blog because people want to know who is writing the blog. This is the perfect space to state your blog intentions. And don’t be shy. This is your chance to tell readers whether you want to share your lessons or if they are strictly for parents and students. State very specifically in your disclaimer what you will allow or not allow. If you don’t want anything shared, including your ideas, then you may want to make your blog private or for registered readers only.

On my blog, I have call my disclaimer a Copyright Nudge. I want people to use my ideas, but I do ask that they link back to my blog post, not my home page. Truthfully, very few art teachers do this and I think the reasons are the following:

  1. They don’t know how.
  2. They are rushed to get their post out.
  3. They don’t understand that not linking back is a no-no.

Questions people ask

Sometimes it’s helpful to have a FAQ page to answer some basic questions we all wonder about.

  • Is it okay to pull pictures from your blog? (Hopefully, the answer is no but you may allow it if they link back))
  • Can I copy your art tutorial on my blog? (Again, I’m hoping you aren’t in favor of this but encourage them to post their own interpretation of your lesson)
  • Can I link back to your blog post if I used your lesson? (Yes! I’ll show you how further on down).
  • Can I copy and paste your text onto my blog? (No.)
You get the idea, right? Make sure you let your readers know what to do because if you don’t say anything, you are opening yourself up to feeling frustrated.

How to Link Back

Linking back is extremely important if you use an idea from a blog and publish that idea (even if it’s your own interpretation) on your own site. The reinvented lesson is yours, but if you were inspired by a lesson someone else did then you need to link back. This is important to me as I put in many, many hours not only developing lessons, but teaching them, photographing them and finally posting the lessons to share, and most for free. I only ask that my ideas be given proper attribution. And please, please, please do not worry if you have done this but didn’t realize it was a no-no. I’ve done it in the past (many times) before I learned how to link back. 

To show you how to link back, I’m referring this tutorial to my web designer, Darcy from Life with My 3 Boybarians. No one can explain computer/blogging details better than her. Her blog post on finding a permalink is so much better than what I could do.

Why do I have to link to the blog post?

Linking to the home page might be easier for you but it doesn’t help your readers find the source of the lesson. If I were to find a great art lesson on Anna’s Artsy Blog (made that one up), taught the lesson then posted my results, linking to Anna’s homepage weeks or months later would be useless since Anna’s homepage probably would have new posts. Her lesson might be buried under 10 other posts. It does require a little bit extra effort of your part to find the lesson post, but believe me, you will be considered a good blogger friend for doing it.
Knowing how to link back is also useful when pinning on Pinterest. If you open up the post page, then you are certain that your pin will return to it’s home for other interested pinners.
I’m not very comfortable in this role of blogging police, but hopefully you will find parts of this helpful!


8 comments

  1. This is a very kindly-written post about an important facet of blogging! I’m adding it to our Blogging Resources page at Crafterminds.com.

  2. Patty,

    I went to Darcy’s blog expecting to find a tutorial on how to link back but couldn’t find it anywhere on her blog. Am I doing this correctly?

    :)Pat

    • Patty says:

      Click on the anchor text, finding a permalink, and it will take you to the post. Clicking on her blog name will direct you to her blog.

  3. Well said, Patty! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Copyright Nudge is a very nice way to put it!

    I would be in favor of someone using my photos or my post (re-posting) if they credited it back to me.
    I always link back to the particular post, but as you said, it’s amazing those that don’t.

    In the end, every idea is borrowed from someone else, so who really “owns” it? However, the common courtesy if you know where your idea came from is much much appreciated by many bloggers, including myself. The more we share, the more we care and the more we all learn.

  5. alison says:

    we just linked back to you again :). Not sure I could do such fun art projects without your inspiration and direction. Thanks for sharing!

  6. [...] If you don’t know how to do this, you can find out easily by using Google. I created this post on how to link back to help people understand the how’s and [...]

  7. Thanks for this article. I think the easiest way to make clear your copyright but at the same time explaining the way people share stuff from your blog: are the symbols of creative commons. Its easy and fast to understand.
    What do you think about it?

  8. [...] Link to an original source. It is not enough to say thank you to someone for their great art lesson, you must provide a link. This is how. [...]

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