Creating Resource Lists for an Improved User Experience, Content Ideas and Links

8 Feb

Great content is the solid foundation of a good website, a positive user experience and (hopefully) some nice incoming links. This, in turn, usually leads to good rankings, a continuous stream of traffic, conversions, and -eventually- a fat bank account. Easy, right?

Well, what if you can’t come up with new ideas for good content? You can either start brainstorming for new ideas, or you can get to work straight away. A very effective way to combine this, is to create resource lists, and to add these to your website.

Resources

I have created resource lists (lists with a few links to other high quality, relevant web pages) for multiple websites in the past, and it’s been effective in every single one of these occasions. Resource lists not only add direct value to your website, but they can also help you to attract links and traffic.

Resource lists for a better user experience

For all of you who are still afraid of their website ‘leaking PageRank’, here’s an update: Linking out is not a bad thing! And again, in bold: Linking out is not a bad thing! Actually, linking out can be a very good thing. Especially in informational sections of your website, links to other websites can be great additions.

Believe it or not, but in most cases, your website is not your visitor’s end station. And when you can give the 97,3% of the visitors that does not buy something on your website a new place to go to, you still have made their user experience a little bit better than when you wouldn’t have provided those links.

Linking out also shows that you are not afraid of directing visitors to other interesting websites, and that you know your way around online, which both can increase your brand perception. Especially in niches where people aren’t used to it, but appreciate the added value. Some even go further by stating that linking out to authority websites may (indirectly) lead to better search engine rankings – I don’t believe this, but it shows how positive some people think about linking out and creating topical association.

Resource lists for content ideas

Forcing yourself to create one or more resource lists also is excellent for coming up with new content ideas.

When you are visiting dozens of websites, trying to find good content, you will learn what you like, and more importantly why. Although n=1, this can definitely give you more insight in why people will or will not link to specific content. Fully understanding this is key to success.

You will also find out what your industry is still missing in terms of good content, which -of course- can be created by you then. The same goes for good ideas that have been executed badly; improving those ideas is something that you owe to The Internet.

Resource lists for new links

Creating resource lists can also be a good link building tactic. First of all, it’s a great way to get noticed or to network. Linking out to someone, and perhaps sending him or her some traffic, may put yourself on that person’s radar. Especially when he or she is a blogger, as most bloggers are incurable stats junkies. Use this connection as an opening to get in touch with bloggers or webmasters you have always wanted to get links from.

You can also try to push it a little bit more. Simply letting the people you are linking to know where your resource list is can be enough sometimes.

My personal experience is that you can get an average email-to-link conversion rate of ~25% without even asking for a link. Just explain where and why you have linked to the person you’re contacting, and some will link back to your page almost instantly. Others may send you (positive) feedback, or mention that “If they ever can do something for you…”.

Something as simple as this can already do the trick:

Hi John,

When I was doing research for my own website, I came across yours (URL). I absolutely loved {page}, because of {reason} – in fact, I loved it so much that I linked to it at {URL}, and I thought you would like to know.

Please let me know if you want me to make any changes to the link, or if you prefer me to link to a different URL.

Kind regards,

Your Name
Email, URL, etc.

Of course, the ideal approach, as well as the average conversion rate may depend on your industry, brand and content quality, but 25% isn’t bad when getting new links isn’t even your main, or only goal.

What makes a good resource list?

I know it may be tempting, but I am *not* suggesting that you should instantly download a php directory script, or that adding 20+ resource pages with dozens of links to other websites to your site might be a good idea. After all, linking out to irrelevant, too many, bad or mediocre websites can harm your brand or reputation.

A good resource page offers extra value to your visitors, because the links on it are highly relevant to your website, and support the content of the page.

In fact, a resource list doesn’t even have to be a separate resource page. For example, you could add links to existing pages, develop an image directory, or you could try to create a dynamic blog sidebar – nearly anything is possible.

Well, there you go: need content ideas or links? Link out!

6 Responses to “Creating Resource Lists for an Improved User Experience, Content Ideas and Links”

  1. Frank February 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    Totally agree on this and I have to emphasize too: linking out is not a bad thing :) It will establish your authority even more on the subject that you website or blog is about, it shows strength. People always reward this by either coming back or buying your product or services.

    Furthermore, those resourceslists also help you build a network around you. That network can always be of great value because in the end, all those sites are in the same boat/field of expertise.

  2. Wiep February 12, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    You’re absolutely right, Frank :)

  3. Paul February 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Thank you for this. I’m relatively new to link-building, and although it is necessary, I don’t particularly enjoy it.

    Building a resource page is something I can get behind since it’s a way to provide value to your visitors while simultaneously garnering attention within your niche. I’m building a new website and people actually search for “links” related to my main keyword. Which basically means there is demand for a resource page within the niche.

    Perfect, I will go ahead and supply it!

  4. John March 28, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Thanks for the useful information. I’m new to the whole seo thing and I always thought that linking out was a bad thing for your website. I’ve Learned a lot from this article.

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