Credibility: No Walled Garden

When company websites were new, the idea of the “Walled Garden” was very popular–all the links were internal. Why would you send your readers / clients / prospects away?  Keep them on your blog and they will be loyal, was the thinking. Clearly these people never had children they tried to keep in a playpen. It doesn’t work with adults any better than with toddlers.

walledgardenThen the idea faded, and now it’s back in some places. Too bad.

I’ve never been a fan of the Walled Garden theory of the internet. I don’t know all the answers to my readers’ questions.  Linking to other sites helps them find what they want, and that adds credibility to what I have to offer. (Seems that Google’s algorithms aren’t a fan of walled gardens, either.)

Liz Crain's rusted oil containers--in ceramic.

Liz Crain’s rusted oil containers–in ceramic.

The most popular sites I know link to a lot of other sites, either in small quantities in individual blog posts, or through swaps and blog tours. The result is more information, more creativity, and more interesting sharing. I would never have met Michelle Ward (one of the book contributors) or her amazing Street Team challenges (play in the archives while she’s on Sabbatical). For that matter, I would never have met Liz Crain, or T.J. Goerlitz  [both book contributors] whose explanation of Creality made me laugh and cringe in recognition. Open gardens that allow you to explore lead to more creativity. (Or being a contributor to a book).

On Saturdays, I post links to interesting artists, it always causes a boost in the artists’ sites, as readers go to find more. Often the artists send an email thanking me for sending traffic to their site. How boring would it be if I simply linked to old posts of mine? We’d never scratch our heads over Pete’s new blog.

The internet is a big place. Credibility is a good thing. And in my experiencing, linking to answers, ideas, shortcuts, or tips makes my site more interesting, too. It shows trusts in your readers and confidence in the content you have on your site.  Creating meaningful links, tagging your blog (or website) with meaningful descriptions and, of course, great content still is the best way to get loyal readers.

-Quinn McDonald can’t imagine an internet of solely walled gardens. She has claustrophobia.