Keeping the goal of conversation in mind, proper blog citations are links - to the original source (and/or an online version of the original source) and/or the internet presence of the author of the original source (LinkedIn, Twitter, website, blog).
In legal blog posts, the best link/citation text is:
Informative. Out of context, readers (including those using accessibility browsers and screen readers) should be able to know what you are citing based on the link text alone.
For example, writing, “As Mike Juba wrote in his latest blog post,” indicates you are linking to Mike Juba’s latest blog post.
SEO-friendly. Search engines pay attention to the text associated with your links. The more informative your text, the more search engines will recognize your content as valuable. For example:
- GOOD: “According to a recent SurveyMonkey survey, 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour."
- NEEDS WORK: “There are some great stats in these survey results.”
Modern. When the internet was in its earliest days of adoption (circa 1990), links were not widely understood. So, the text “click here” was used to help educate readers about what to do when there was a link. Today, links are widely understood as a means of connecting related content and citations in blog posts. Modern designs incorporate formatting specific to links that readers understand. The text “click here” is old school, as are “naked” URLs (links not embedded into text).
Further, the term “click” is irrelevant to many assistive technologies and is not descriptive enough for screen readers.
Nondisruptive. For sake of readers ultimately reading or scanning through all of your carefully crafted content, minimize disruptions by seamlessly integrating links into your writing. Whenever possible, avoid using:
- Footnotes (which would cause a reader to have to scroll to the end of your post to find the source link)
- Verbs that call them to action (distracting a reader from your post as they think about the action you suggest)
- Links at the beginning of a paragraph or sentence (causing readers to have to scan back once they know more about the link)
- GOOD: “With Google’s announcement that its search algorithm will use mobile-friendliness as a significant ranking factor come April 21, the term “responsive design” is trending again in the blogosphere."
- NEEDS WORK: Read this article which reports on the latest best practices for mobile design.
In sum, here are the do’s and don’t’s we recommend:
- Link individual names to their individual presence
- Use informative links, helpful to readers and SEO
- Use accessible link text
- Integrate links into your writing
- Use “click here” as link text
- Have “naked” URLs
- Use footnotes or endnotes
Image cropped. Original by Flickr Creative Commons user grace_kat.