Justin Tadlock

Using bookmarks more effectively

Blogrolls and long link lists have pretty much died out in the blogging world. Using them to link out to all your blogging friends isn’t as cool as it used to be.

If we’re not using them to link out to our friends, then what should we do with them?

Some of you may suggest getting rid of the Links section in WordPress. There must be a better way to use them though.

What you need to know about bookmarks

They’re officially called links in WordPress, but I’ve long called them bookmarks. You might also refer to this as your blogroll.

Here are some things you can add on a per-link basis:

  • You can create categories for links just as you have categories for posts.
  • Write a description for each link (sort of like post content).
  • Add important information such as an RSS address, notes, an image, and a rating.
  • Give each link an XFN rel attribute.
  • Make the link private.
  • Add the target attribute (but please don’t — ugh!).

The only thing I wish we could have is an RSS feed for our links and link categories. That would be awesome.

Thinking creatively about using bookmarks

Since blogrolls are useless these days, we need to do something else with our links.

If you take a look at my sidebar, you’ll notice I have a few sections. Currently, these are labeled Cool WordPress Stuff, Must Read, Tutorials, and WordPress-o-Sphere. This alone has driven traffic to some of my older posts up and kept visitors on my site longer in the last couple of weeks. It’s a way to keep some of my old content from dying out.

Here’s a few things you can use your bookmarks for:

  1. Link to older content on your own site.
  2. Publish content, such as asides (use the link description for the content part).
  3. Link to your favorite articles. It’s more useful for your readers to find specific articles.
  4. Use them for advertising like WP Candy does (see: External Links).
  5. Power a page navigation menu for your site.
  6. Use the built-in image option to show ads and other links by image.

By breaking all of your links down into categories, you can do all kinds of neat things. You can quickly switch out large groups of links whenever you need to by managing them correctly.

Get the Widgets Reloaded plugin

Last week, I released the Widgets Reloaded plugin to the blogging world (update coming soon). This plugin overwrites several of the default widgets with its own.

Most importantly, there’s a widget called Bookmarks that’ll let you show your links in any way that you like. It’s the best bookmarks/links widget you can find if I may say so without sounding too boastful.

What are some other ways to use bookmarks effectively?

I’ve pointed out a few ways that we can use our WordPress links, but I’d like to hear what you all think. There’s not much point in letting that section of our WordPress dashboards rot away. We may as well use it for something.

Now that you’re thinking more creatively about how to best use bookmarks/links, what are your thoughts?