08 August, 2008

Quick Key Link Buttons

Your Portals to Reference Heaven

The popular link buttons on the right hand margin of this page are easy for you to make. They resemble computer keys, and represent quick key-stroke access to a particular subject.

Why Make Quick Key Links?

The genesis of these little label-linkers was the incredible traffic that I was getting for the search query: "Jackson Pollock". I was amused and bewildered at first, because I had done some light-hearted and entertaining posts about the great Abstract Expressionist, but I didn't consider any of it to be really meaty content. Nothing new or scholarly, in other words.

I realized that the numerous visits that I was getting here at The Colorist seeking Jackson Pollock were coming in from students doing research. Of course, my Google rank has something to do with the search engines coming here, but I felt a certain obligation to make sure that these art history students had real content to find. I wanted to provide a comprehensive jump-off point that would point my kind readers to the Pollock meat - the best internet resources quickly found.

My Quick Key Link Buttons, which now include Washington State Art Bloggers, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jackson Pollock, also needed to fit my own criteria for good link etiquette. I want first to have my link seeker find most of his links on the first click. I am not opposed to taking my reader on a tour of blog posts at The Colorist, where he will find all posts labeled "Da Vinci" for instance, but I really dislike being required to hit the Enter button twice to produce a result. Clear, quick, thorough and concise is the goal. If for one reason or another you can't get your visitors to your subjects in one click, then create a bridge post called "Jackson Pollock Researcher," or the like, and have it provide the link to all of your labels to that subject.

How To Make Them

Do you have a traffic-nexus subject that you notice gets numerous hits on your blog? All of your chilled cucumber recipes? A lot of posts labeled "Space Sprockets"? Review your blog labels about this subject. You may need to go back and add labels to posts that you have in mind, if you've been remiss about good labeling.

Hint: create one post with the label of the link button, such as "Jackson Pollock Researcher," and then have that be the only post you label as such. In that post, offer your readers to select your standard label about the topic: "Jackson Pollock."

Select an image to use as your button, and size it properly in a Photo editor like Photoshop. My quick links are 83 pixels by 51 pixels. Making them uniform keeps your blog tidy, and gives the system a clear vision. I also have created my "buttons" as faux computer keys, to give the idea of a quick stroke on your keyboard. BTW, the image on the Pollock link is his painting titled "The Key." This took some tricky Photo shopping, but it isn't rocket science, either. All you need, though, is an iconic image that signifies your topic.

Open another window with the blog page you want for your button. Cut or copy the URL (to your clipboard).

Now, on your original blog page, open your layout page (Blogger), select
Add A Page Element, and select Picture. I browse for the 83x51 jpeg that I have stored on my desktop and select it, and then in the URL link box, I paste the address of my blog page which you have placed on your clipboard.

Save and review. You should have your spiffy picture that links to a post, or set of pages with a label, on your blog. MAC users, talk among yourselves. I'm sorry that I have no idea how to translate any of this outside of PC methods.

Another solution is to send your reader to a Squidoo Lens or unique web page that you have designed. I am working on my own Squidoo Lens, now. The thing about these lenses is that you want to have something very original, and with a certain amount of authority, if you want it to be worthwhile. Using a post and label target, however, translates into multiplied visits to your blog. And, quality content and systems keeps your readers coming back.


Making A Mark said...

Thanks for this Casey - you've got yourself a mention on Sunday

Maybe you now need one for blogging tips? :)

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for that, Katherine. "Blogger Tips" from me? That's a chuckle. My blogging prowess is modest in my eyes.

Gesa said...

Thanks for this post - yes, it does make a lot of sense to do this for the hits you get again and again... Hm, I feel some sidebar reorganisation coming along (once I've updated my paintings on my website).
All the best!

Casey Klahn said...

Glad to help, Gesa.

Ug...my website needs art updates in the worst way. I must have twenty new works. Luckily, I have them organized in folders (jpeg) with size data.

One thing at a time, huh?

Rose Welty said...

This does get one thinking about making the blog navigation better - thanks for the food for thought.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Rose.

colorspeaker said...

Great info, yeas "tips"-i wouldn't have known otherwise. Gonna keep on reading...

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for all your comments, Julianne.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism