There’s a simple test you can do to tell if a website is a positive citizen of the web, or a negative one. Go to the website and look for their links; do they have any? Does the website link to other websites made by other people? Or do they just link to their own social media? How many outbound links do they have?
In short; is the website a dead end? If it is; its dead weight for the web!
Is your website a dead end? Don’t worry, Im not here to point fingers; the modern web often encourages us to isolate ourselves. We are made to feel that in order to be professional we must create well defined boxes that separate and quantify our work. A typical modern website is an island that contains you and only you, and it can only be found via your social media accounts or a Google search (assuming you’re famous enough and/or pay enough to Google's AdWords); this is by design!
You may not know it, but you’ve been forced into this dead end against your will, and its not in your favour. When a website isolates itself from others it diminishes its own power to participate in the web. Just look at that word “web”, its about connections; its about crossed wires and unexpected transitions. Links are the open highways of the modern world, they are the moment when borders fall and ideas flow.
Links are the lifeblood of the web, and linking to other sites is a declaration of independence. Its a declaration that says, “I am the infrastructure of the web, I am not content, nor am I a product, I am a human and a participant in this great work of humanity we call the Internet”.
Linking to other sites is an act of rebellion; but its also an act of meditation, and of ego death - linking to the work of others is a way of celebrating their achievements and by doing so, gaining dignity for yourself and your work. You deserve to be part of the web, not its final destination; and there is respect in knowing that. Its a two way street, a conversation, and a collaboration.
Thankfully if you’re stuck in this dead end, its not hard to get out! Start linking to others an encouraging others to link to you. Regardless of the kind of site you have, whether its a modern site for a business or arts practice, or if its a personal homepage; setup a links page on your site and add links to your friends, people you’ve worked with, tools you’ve used, blogs you enjoy, other businesses, anything and everything that deserves to be seen; because it does deserve to be seen, and so do you!
The goal of linking is about building community and creating networks that truly exist to support you and those around you; those networks will persist when social media lets you down. If you’re on this site you may or may not have encountered the web revival before; you might think its a bit too much for you; but simply linking to others from your site is the simplest and most powerful thing you can do to make the web a better place and a more natural home for your work.
P.S. Here is my links page (there's more in the nav too), I know it needs work, but everything's a work in progress :-]