Note: An external link is a link from your website to another website.
Some business owners don’t understand external links. This often leads to not even using them at all.
The biggest fear seems to be that external links send people away from your website.
That often isn’t the case. But the fear leads people to avoid external linking all together, which leads to a few big missed opportunities.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to use external links on your website.
1. Citing as Proof
You’ll often see a business mention a statistic of some kind on their homepage, services page or in a blog post and not include an external link to the source. This almost immediately makes the visitor question the validity of the claim.
It’s good to cite and link to the source of this type of information wherever you make a claim like this. Homepage, services page, sales page, blog post, podcast episode show notes, etc.
This shows that you are trustworthy and aren’t simply making information up to win customers. People don’t like being tricked. They like to see proof and when they feel like they can trust you they will often buy from you.
So if you’re selling optimism and say that optimism makes people live longer, you better link to a study like this one.
2. Referring Something Valuable
Another way to think about external linking is that you’re providing as much value to your visitors as possible. Think of it as a situation that occurs in person. You ask your friend what they’re reading. They tell you about a book. You go and buy that book.
External linking can work exactly the same. Say you’re writing a blog post and you mention a podcast you love. Be sure to link to that podcast so your readers can instantly begin listening and enjoying it.
The more value you provide, the more valuable you become. That’s always a good thing in the long run. People will click away from your site, but they’ll appreciate and remember the value you provide and will likely keep coming back.
3. Additional Information About You, Save Time
This occurs on the About page often. You have a little info about you. A bio. But it can be very useful to link to additional information that you’ve already created. Your social media profiles where you share personal photos and things like that. Your LinkedIn page where you have your work history. Your podcast on Anchor where you share your insights on your favorite hobby.
Recreating all of that information would be cumbersome and unnecessary. Save yourself time by adding these external links in the appropriate places on your website.
4. Mentioning A Valuable Person
When you mention someone that is valuable in some way, entertaining or educational or both, it’s good to link to more information about them. Their social pages, their website , YouTube channel or something like that.
It’s like the referral example earlier, but more about a person. You’re showing people visitor your website that you find this person valuable and want them to be easily able to discover more if they want to.
5. Referral To More Detail
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to rewrite or redo an entire piece of content. You can share a quote from someone and then link to the full transcript. You provide your take on it with your blog post or something and link to the full transcript so the reader can get all the detail they want.
This happens on YouTube pretty often. A trailer for a big movie will come out. Some people will then record their thoughts on the trailer and they will almost always link to the trailer so viewers can see the review and the trailer.
Sometimes when you find something valuable it’s good to give a link that just says thank you. A good example of this might be including an external link to the person or company that designed your website. This is usually in the footer. This tells visitors that you recommend this company if they’re looking for one themselves. It helps the visitor. It helps the design company. It also helps you appear as someone that is a good and helpful person.
External links are almost always a good thing on websites. They’re good on blogs. They’re good on other pages as well. Think about the experience from the point of view of the visitor. If it’s good for them, it’s good for you and your reputation in the long run.