The list of “things that I would do if I had time” for all small business owners, including photographers, is extensive.  For photographers, that might include blogging or creating additional resources on their websites.   Here’s a tip to help you save time for WordPress users: use a plugin that automatically creates links on your website when you use specific keywords.  In this article, we’ll cover why you should use an auto linking plugin and how to use them.

Why you should use an auto linking plugin

Finding the links you need for an article or page on your website can be time consuming.  Here are a few common examples in the photography industry:

  • Wedding photographers need to link to each and every wedding vendor website or social media account in their blog entires to give them proper credit.
  • Portrait and commercial photographers need to link to their collaborators (models, MUA, sponsors, etc) with each of their galleries.
  • Photo gear reviewers and article writers mentioning the gear they use or recommend need to search for and add affiliate links in their articles.
  • Etc

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your website automatically link to the right place each time a specific word is used on your website?  Well there are actually plenty of auto linking plugins.  The one we use and recommend is the Linkify Text WordPress plugin, although it hasn’t been updated in a while so you may want to experiment with others.  For us, however, this has worked just fine and we’ll give you a quick walkthrough on how it works.  All the plugins you find will have similar functionality.

How to Use an Auto Linking Plugin

After you’ve downloaded, installed, and activated the Linkify plugin, here’s how to start using it.

How to set up the Auto Linking

With the Linkify Text WordPress Plugin, you first need to create a list of keywords and links.  For this particular plugin, this is done by creating a list with the following on each line:

keyword => Link

linkify plugin example
Example of Auto LInking setup

Below is an example from our sister site, Wedding Maps.  On this Photographer Directory, we use our member’s images to display their work in articles that provide tips and resources for brides and grooms.  Instead of finding and linking the photographer each time, we use the plugin to assign their links to their names.

Using Auto Linking in Articles

Now, all our bloggers need to do is use the right name and the links will automatically appear.  They can use these keywords in the captions of the images, the text in the articles or the headers in the articles.  You can even turn this feature on for the comments section of your WordPress websites.

auto linking examples 1
Example of Auto Linking in the Captions

Benefits of an Auto Linking Plugin

Here are some of the primary benefits of using an Auto Linking Plugin:

  1. Time Savings – The primary and most obvious benefit is the time it can save you.
  2. Avoid Mistakes – A less obvious reason is that automatically linking helps you avoid mistakes like accidentally using the wrong link or a broken link.
  3. Make Site-wide Changes – If a partner changes his or her website, you can easily change every link to that partner at once, rather than having to go into each article and change each link.
  4. Consistency – Using a plugin like this ensures that you consistently link and credit the right people, a habit that is great for networking and gaining referrals.

Tips for Using the Plugin

Here are a few tips for using this (or other) auto linking plugin:

  1. Don’t use common words –  These types of plugins will create links every time one of the words you include on the list is used.  So if you include a common word, you might cause issues on the site for your users.
  2. Include multiple variations of the keyword –  In our example above, we include different variations of the photographers’ studio names, including their official name and the individual photographer’s names within a studio.   This strategy “covers our bases.”
  3. Make backups of the list –  Make a full backup of the list before making any changes to the list in case you make any mistakes when editing.

More Information

Creating great resources on your website is a great way to grow your readership, to get discovered by potential clients and to network partners.  Continue to find tools such as this one to speed up your workflow and maximize the results of your efforts.

This article is a continuation of our “better blogging” series.  You may also be interested in our previous article on Anchor Links.