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Linking Blog Post Series is a Chore. Here’s a Hack

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 by in ThiNK First | 25 comments


There’s good and bad with blog post series.

The bad news is it takes planning. You’ll find it much easier to write a series if you start with than intention.

Ready for really bad news? Blog post series = link admin hell. The good news is there’s a fix. The second bit of good news is blog post series help you get found.

Why Linking Blog Post Series is Hellishly Dullblog-series

Linking your posts gets exponentially more complex as your blog post series grows. Longer series are more valuable, but more complex to administer and create. This chart compares the effort required, based on the number of posts in your series, based on updating  each old post on the release of each new post.

Let me explain

The Traditional Approach to Blog Post Series : 3 Post Example

  • 1st Post
    • Create your 1st post
  • 2nd Post
    • Create your 2nd post (linking to 1st)
    • Update 1st post (and link to the 2nd)
  • 3rd Post
    • Create your 3rd post (and link to the 1st and the 2nd)
    • Update your 1st post to link to the 3rd
    • Update your 2nd post to link to the 3rd

The more posts in your series, the worse it gets. Now imagine that was a 6 part series. 15 edits in total. Horrid, right?!

That’s why people don’t insert all the links. Too much effort right. It explains why readers don’t find all the content in your series. In researching series I’ve found many bloggers don’t make their series obvious to the reader. Don’t make your readers work. Nobody wins.

If your audience can’t find your content, your audience loses out and so do you. There has to be a better way.

The Simpler More Scalable Solution : Lists as Content

  • Create and name your Listly list
  • Publish each new post and add it to your list
  • Grab the same embed code for your list and paste it into each post as you write it

The work to add the second post is exactly the same as the work to add the 10th. It takes just a second. Much simpler and you don’t need to edit any posts again. Here’s the other posts in this blog series.

Headline for Blog Post Series - A Collection of Posts on How & Why Blog Post Series are Effective Content Marketing
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Blog Post Series - A Collection of Posts on How & Why Blog Post Series are Effective Content Marketing

Blog Post Series are a very powerful technique for bloggers, but traditionally they are far from simple.

This is a series to explore the topic and document best practices. And to ask questions.



Blog Post Series Made Easy

Jan 30, 2014 - - 177
Blog Post Series Made Easy We love everything in serial form these days: books, movies, TV shows. Our life is becoming serialized. Series simplify our choice to consume content. We've learned from repetition that "series trump movies". There are many parallels between serial/episodic content and blog post series. Have you ever written a blog post series?

Sep 20, 2012 - - 180
No1: Why Writing Blog Post Series is Like Fishing with Nets

A simple metaphor.

A single blog post is like a "hook: vs a blog post series is like using a "net"

1st in a series of 9 blog posts

Sep 20, 2012 - - 160
No2: Link and Share Your Blog Post Series

When it comes to blogging it’s easy to slip into the linearity trap. It’s easy to think about your story as the writer and not a reading or consumption mindset.

Blog post series are not for you. They are for other bloggers your customer.
Let me explain…

Sep 20, 2012 - - 194
No3: Linking Blog Post Series is Chore. Here's a Hack

If people can't find the posts in your series, your audience loses out and so do you. Here's a really simple way to remove the chore of linking your posts

Sep 20, 2012 - - 154
No4: How to be a serial guest blogger. Take Your Blog Post Series on the Road

Blogging and guest posts can be combined and to good effect. So what's stopping you creating a roaming guest blog post series?

It’s simply a Listly list that manages the whole process. I can go back at any time and extend and curate the list. The links between all the posts remains intact.

Your series can get found on Listly, on your blog and, of course, by organic SEO.

My First Blog Post Series

I first arrived at these conclusions after I created my first blog post series on The Wonders of Lists.

You can imagine my joy when I uncovered how painful it was to cross link a blog post series.

As the co-foudner of a startup that manages Lists, we make that process super simple.

ReWorking Your Bi-Products

Series-linking isn’t the main goal of Listly. It’s a free side benefit. I loved the book ReWork from 37 Signals Co-Founder Jason Fried. In that book Jason extols the virtues of reusing your waste. Exploit your bi-products. I think it’s an awesome piece of advice and something I look for at every opportunity.

So have you ever written a series? What’s stopping you? Go rework some of your old series. Give it a try.

Image Credit: bknittle


Nick Kellet (164 Posts)

Nick is co-founder the social curation platform Listly, that combines crowdsourcing, content curation and embedable lists to drive high-level community engagement, live inside your blog posts. Connect with Nick on Twitter · Linkedin, Facebook and G+ and follow his writing via his other guest posts and on his blogs at and


  1. I haven’t linked back to many in my various blog series, Nick – is that a bad mistake? Every one of my blog series seems to do quite well!?

    • BruceSallan I’d say so. You are making people do the work. Or not do the work and leave.
      Perhaps this transforms your quite well into great. Most of all it removes a headache.

  2. Huh! I like that! I’m struggling with an unwieldy 10-page post right now and I’m working on a collaborative group of posts that on one, is more than 15 pages! My challenge (and solution, in one) has been with the ” next page ” code, but now I think we’ll have to give this a try!

    • Sparkle_Agency Great. Well let me know if you need any help or just want to talk it through.

  3. This is a great idea…I have a series, but always fail at linking back to past posts. Thanks for writing this as it will definitely inspire me to make some changes

    • dadofdivas Thanks. Don’t forget to come back and share the list you make for your series:)

      • nickkellet Yup (self-hosted). I just signed up for Listly (thought I already had, go figure…) too – it may take me a few days to figure it out, because I have a bunch of stuff to take care of, so if you have any tips ahead of time, do send my way!

        • Shonali nickkellet Make sure you install our Listly plugin and apply for a publisher key here. – this means your lists will be seen just like the rest of the text in your blog posts. ie 100 indexed.
          Making sure your embedded lists get found inside your posts is a core tenet of Listly’s value proposition, 
          There’s many ways to use Listly. This is just one of them.

        • nickkellet Just from playing with it for a few days (as you know), I’m hooked.

  4. You are right nickkellet The positive side-effect is that you can find your own posts easier 🙂
    I also use Listly to add more material from outside my blog

    • Tweet4OK nickkellet Listly I love your curated posts each week. Very cool use of Listly. I need to share that an encourage others to do the same.

      • As usual it’s win-win actually nickkellet  I will add a bit about my experience in Saturday’s post. 
        That reminds me that I have to create a new Listly for this week

  5. That’s a really useful hack for those that like to avoid using plugins (which exist for the same purpose)!

    • AskKim Thanks Kim. I just say your RSS comment. Got any screenshots. What are you using. What’s your workflow. You can email me nick at list dot ly. Thanks

      • nickkellet AskKim This is an example of one of yours:   You can see how it pops apart with a less than stylish experience once brought into the feed.  Yeah essentially still readable but less than desirable.

        • nickkellet AskKim In that screenshot it’s but it’s nearly an identical presentation on


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