Successful blogging depends mostly on two basic skills: strong writing, and strategic use of hyperlinks. Before you learn strategy you need to understand some basic concepts about linking. As you may know (consciously or unconsciously), there are two kinds of hyperlinks:
- Unmasked hyperlinks (e.g. http://www.onehrblog.com)
- Masked hyperlinks (e.g. Blogging in One Hour for Lawyers)
The “unmasked hyperlink” shows the complete URL of the link location, while the “masked hyperlink” has verbiage that hides the link. Unmasked links can be ugly and unwieldy (see e.g. http://paperlesschase.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=161586bdca519674251c7a4c6&id=e90b1d482b). Who wants to look at a link like that? No one.
Unmasked hyperlinks are like cockroaches: impervious to extermination. Some people claim unmasked hyperlinks are more secure because one can can easily see what the link destination is. That’s usually, but not always, true. Usually, unmasked links point to the destination described in the long, ugly text. But scammers and hackers can easily create a masked link that looks like an unmasked one. So, unmasked links are ugly and sometimes even deceptive.
Hopefully you now have a firm grasp on the two types of hyperlinks. By the way, not everyone calls them “masked links” but the US Courts do and if you’re a lawyer that might matter to you. Point is: obsessing over the “official name” isn’t important; what matters is that you now know what to call the kind of links you’re never going to use in your blog posts.
I’ll have more to say about the strategy of linking in future posts.