Adding a Reading Page to Your Site

What you read shows a lot about who you are. How can you make your website reflect that? A list of links is so boring you won’t even read it yourself, and updating a website every time you read a good article just isn’t going to happen. Here’s how to add a compelling reading page to your site.

Give Reasons

The first step to a compelling reading page is to add a sentence why each link is important. If you can’t immediately come up with something, or you don’t think it’s worth writing a sentence, then your site visitors will probably be correct in thinking it’s not worth the time to look at. Take the time to describe each link. Your reading page is a reflection of you, and anyone visiting is going to find your notes at least as valuable as the links. Your reading page is a reflection of your analysis and insight.

You might think you are writing for other people. That’s not a good idea because you don’t know who your visitors will be. Write a sentence about why the link was important to you. That’s the best reflection of who you are and your expertise. It’s also the most generally useful.

Apropos useful, you might find your reading page more helpful than you initially expected. One obvious use is quickly pulling together recommended reading for someone else. Even more useful is enhancing your own memory. Have you ever wanted to reference an article you vaguely remember only to find it’s no longer easy to find via search? Now you can hit your own reading page and easily grab it. Articles stay easy to find because your notes are included with the link information. It’s like searching your extended memory.

Offload Maintenance

Even if you are a web designer, updating your site every time you read something memorable just isn’t going to happen. It’s a hassle. Fortunately the particular kind of hassle is programmatically similar for everyone, and it can be automated. After a one-time page setup, the only thing you have to do is write notated links. If you want to get fancy, you can also add your own custom tagging, but the main thing is your notes.

The easiest way to include a readings page on your site is to use an iframe. This is similar to including a video. Just copy the embed code to an appropriate page on your site and everything stays up to date. You can set link colors to match.

If your hosting doesn’t allow iframe embedding, or if you want to make a copy of everything you write, you can aggregate your content using RSS. There are a variety of plugins for transforming a standard web feed, check with your platform or hosting provider for available options. Whatever you use for your links, make sure there is a feed provided. That’s the key to keeping things connected, and for preserving the value of what you write.

Hubs, Not Silos

In terms of authorship effort, links with notes attached (aka membics) are a lot less effort than blog articles, podcasts, videos, and other media you might create, but they still work the same way – you write them in one place and they get automatically distributed everywhere else. The reading page on your website is one endpoint. Social media hubs and news aggregators are others. More on that in future posts.

You can create a reading page for your site at https://membic.org

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Adding a Reading Page to Your Site

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