Speedlinking: The New Way And The Old Way

You’ve heard of Speedlinking, right? Examples: BlogBuzz, Weekly WTH, Speedlinking. NorthXEast.com defines Speedlinking as

“The Speedlinker (named in honor of Problogger Darren Rowse) is a post where you link up a series of posts from other blogs that your readers would be interested in, usually with a brief description attached.”

Speedlinking is easy to do, sends some of your PageRank Power to other blogs (which is good by the way), and can help your blog out in numerous ways. You’re by no means limited to Speedlinking the way others do it. You can do it like Darren Rowse, or you could do it like the Weekly WTH and attempt to be funny. Develop your own style.

Speedlinking The Old Way

Here’s the normal way to Speedlink:

  1. Pick a name for your recurring feature. Don’t be a wimp and call it “Speedlinking”.
  2. Decide how often you want to publish your Speedlinking posts. BlogBuzz is posted ever few days (basically whenever my collection of links gets big enough). The Weekly WTH was published once a week, always on the same day.
  3. Over the course of a few days, collect links. When you find something interesting online, save the URL. You can paste the URLs into a text file, or you can create a folder on your bookmark toolbar to save them in. Keep it up until you have 5-10 links.
  4. Once you have a sizable quantity of links, start a new post. Title it like “BlogBuzz September 9, 2007.” Now start writing. Put-in your links, and maybe some descriptions. If you take a look at my BlogBuzz posts, I use descriptions most of the time, and in different ways, though I don’t always put a description.
  5. Go to step three.

I enjoy Speedlinking this way, and it works well for most blogs.

Speedlinking The New Way

A few weeks ago, I came up with a new way to Speedlink. I thought “What if, instead of writing posts full of links, I just had a box of frequently updated links?” (or something like that. I probably had some other thoughts about pizza, bowling, and ad revenue in there with it). Thus, the Speedlinker Box was conceptualized. You can see it in action over at InfiniTech.

Whenever I see something worth Speedlinking, I just hit the bookmarklet I have in Firefox, and add the link to the box. It’s like “Speedlinking: Live Coverage.” Cool, or what?

I expect you’re wondering how it works by now. It’s so incredibly simple, everything you need is included in WordPress. It’s just the Blogroll system, with a few modifications. Here’s how you do it yourself.

1. Create a new blogroll category by going to the Blogroll -> Add Link page. While you’re at it make it the default link category to make things easier. From now on, I’ll refer to the category as category 36.

2. Put the following code in your template where you want the Speedlinker box to appear:

<ul id="speedlinker_links">
<?php get_links(36, '<li>', '</li>','', FALSE, '_id', FALSE, FALSE, 8, FALSE, TRUE); ?>

Feel free to look through WordPress.org’s documentation page on get_links(). It will explain what all this means. Just replace “36” with the category number for the blogroll category you created in step 1.

3. If you want to have a link archive of sorts, then create a new page with the links.php template (found in the Kubrick theme, but you may have to create one yourself). Call it “Speedlinker” or something like that. Whenever someone views the page, they’ll be presented with a list of all the links you ever Speedlinked.

This Speedlinker Box technique is really cool, but it has it’s disadvantages. You can’t have descriptions of the links, and the link collections aren’t as permanent as with the more common method (no post permalink, the links vanish out of the box eventually, etc). It’s up to you which method to use, and each has its own strengths and disadvantages.