Why Aren't You Linking Yet?

It is 2011. The internet as we know it is old. It's older than the Matrix and Star Wars Special Edition. It was born in a time when Michael Keaton was still Batman, Joe Montana was a 49er, and people freaked out because Mortal Kombat was too bloody.

So why are people still writing comments like they've never seen a link before?
Great post! And did you hear they're casting white actors for Akira? I know, right! I blogged about it here: http://www.adamheine.com/2011/03/dear-hollywood-asians-are-cool.html
How many people, do you think, will select that link, copy it, and paste it into their address bar so they can read your post? I'll give you a hint: the nearest integer rhymes with 'hero.'

Look, I know HTML is ugly and non-intuitive, but it's not hard either, and it'll make your comments a lot less ugly than that URL up there. Here's how it works.

We'll start with bold and italics, cuz they're easy. Whatever you want formatted gets stuck between a start tag and an end tag. For example: "I <b>love</b> cookie dough!" becomes "I love cookie dough!" Tags always look the same: angle brackets around the tag name (b for bold, i for italics, etc), and an extra '/' in the end tag.

I see your eyes glazing over. Stop it! This isn't hard, and you'll look smarter and get more clicks to your blog. Keep going!

Links work the same way: their tag pair is <a></a>, but you have to add an attribute to tell it where the link goes. That's what the ugly 'href' thing is about.*

Let's fix the comment above. In the comment box, I type this:
Great post! And did you hear <a href="http://www.adamheine.com/2011/03/dear-hollywood-asians-are-cool.html">they're casting white actors for Akira</a>? I know, right!
It looks just as ugly as the first one, right? Except when the comment is posted, it'll look like this: 
Great post! And did you hear they're casting white actors for Akira? I know, right!

There, was that so hard? Nearly every comment system allows these basic HTML tags. And look! One person actually clicked on the link. Now you can get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes every time your visitor stats go up.

Oh, you...you don't know how to check those either? Well, poop.

* If it helps, 'a' is short for anchor and 'href' stands for hyperlink reference. I'm sure it made lots of sense at the time.


Joshua McCune said...

So much anger :p

Sarah McCabe said...

Thank you. I was exactly this post short of understanding how to link in comments. Shall I give it a trial run? OK.

Rena said...

Dude great post

Carrien Blue said...

I have written 3 emails this month to friends trying to explain to them that they should put live links in there newsletters rather than passive urls.

I taught myself to link by staring at the html in my posts until it started making sense.

But you are a genius for writing this tutorial because now I'm just gonna link to you. Think of the traffic if I had posted those emails instead of just sending them :)

(However, you still have captchas in your commenting so that drops the genius bit down a notch.)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

OMG Sarah that video was hilarious!

And now you've ruined the mysticism of href for me.

Going with the British accent for the day (from Sarah), the Brits have outdone use with linkage coolness. On their Kindle Boards you just have to type [=Pawn's Gambit=] by [=Adam Heine=] and it would automatically link to your titles for sale on Amazon (um, which they should be). #GeekAlert

Adam Heine said...

Sarah! Fifty points for Ravenclaw (or whatever your house is)!

Nancy Thompson said...

Hmm. I just insert the link then change the text of the link to whatever I want it to say, making it bold or italics if I need to. It works the same and I don't have to worry about that code stuff.

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow. No, not hard at all, but I needed someone to spell it out for me. Thanks so much!

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks for the tips. I need a reminder every now and then.

I usually do what Nancy says, although I know the basics.

I don't mind copying a URL to get to a site, if the person posting it has caught my attention. It's their content that matters.

Visit my blog at:
DG Hudson - Rainforest Writing Temperate rainforest, that is. A lot different than where you are.

Am following now, hopped over from Susan's blog.

L. T. Host said...

Your blog is so dang useful and entertaining. Just felt like saying that. On a post about HTML. Because that's how I roll. DINNER roll.

Matthew MacNish said...

But what does it all mean?

Deniz Bevan said...

Hey Adam, I gotta tell you, I can never seem to memorise that code. Instead, I run over to this post every time I want to link something [g]

Daisy Carter said...

I totally do the same thing as Deniz. I've been to this post at least a dozen times in the last few weeks. One day, I'll memorize the link code. One day. *Not today*

Nancy Thompson said...

Now I keep the link to this post on my iPhone home screen for easy reference!

Deniz Bevan said...

Six years later and I'm still using this post [g]

Adam Heine said...

Ha! Deniz, that is awesome.