5 ways that The Guardian puts external links onto web pages
Last week, Patrick Smith sparked off a lot debate with a blog post entitled "Link to the past: why do some news sites STILL not link out in 2010?". In it, he mentioned The Guardian website as being one of the best examples of linking out. I thought it might be worth blogging about 5 different ways that The Guardian puts external links onto web pages.
The WYSIWYG approach
As you'd expect, in our CMS web tools, any journalist, sub-editor, production person, or even the information architect, can add in hyperlinks to an article by clicking on a WYSIWYG-style link icon, or by adding
<a href=""> into the text by hand.
The headline feed approach
If you visit our Leeds United tag page, for example, you'll see a component bringing in 'Latest on Leeds United from around the web'. This automatically imports relevant headlines from sources like the Yorkshire Evening Post or BBC News sites.
The Delicious linklog approach
To use Leeds as an example again, on the pages of our local Leeds blog, you'll find a Delicious links component. Our beatblogger saves links to stories of local interest, and the feed is automatically integrated into guardian.co.uk.
The 'Blogosphere' approach
Our London blogger, Dave Hill, takes this idea further, and he links to a wide range of London based blogs. There is a component adding their latest posts into the right-hand column of Dave's blog, and a page which aggregates the headlines from all of them, and allows Dave to highlight particularly interesting posts. He has also written a profile of each blogger to give a bit of context, and prime the guardian.co.uk audience for what to expect from these links.
The 'network' approach
"The Guardian Environment Network brings together the world's best websites focusing on green topics. The network connects sites from across the globe that provide high-quality news, opinion, advice, blogs, data and tools"
The Guardian Environment Network is a more formal grouping of external sites, all of which have been sense-checked by our editorial teams so that we know they are providing good quality content on the environmental theme. The best posts from around the network are pulled into The Guardian site in full. There is also a commercial element, with The Guardian Green Ad Network helping the paper to grow and share revenue with these partner blogs.
Having initially praised the paper as a good example of linking out, Patrick retracted his endorsement of the guardian.co.uk linking policy on the basis of comments pointing out that a lot of our inline article links are internal facing. In be picking up this point in my next post on this theme.