Managing the unmanaged links

June 4, 2008

I got into a very interesting conversation with someone yesterday (I so wanted to write this last night but…) regarding the way WordPress and CommonSpot manage links.  I have been using WordPress for my blog for over a year now and I have to say that one of the most annoying things in WordPress is linking.  I am certainly not in the position of managing many pieces of content but I can say I much prefer the link management process in CommonSpot.


The Argument

(liberally paraphrased)

Content owners should not care that the link is managed – or to put this in context – if I need to link from one page in the CMS to another I should simply open the page I want to link to – copy the URL and paste it into my content.  The content management system should take the link and manage it automatically (e.g. perform normal link management duties).

Ignoring the technical difficulties of taking a web URL and mapping it back to a relational database link storage facility, lets dissect the process of finding a link:

1.) I need to know where I want to link to
2.) I need to find the link
3.) I need to insert that link

Since the web/usability and the like are interested in “clicks” here is how I would link to an existing post in WordPress vs. linking to an existing page in CommonSpot.


1.) Open a new browser tab and go to the home page of my blog
2.) Enter text into the Search field and click “Search”
3.) Locate the post and click the post URL
4.) Copy the content of the URL into my clipboard
5.) Go back to my post
6.) Highlight the text I want and then click the “link” indicator
7.) Paste the content into the URL field – choose my options
8.) Click finish


1.) Highlight the content I want to link and click the “link” icon
2.) Choose “Link to existing page”
3.) Click Next
4.) Click Page Finder
5.) Choose my criteria and click Search
6.) Click the link that I want
7.) Click finish on the link dialog

(To be honest I had no idea which was going to have the most clicks before I started this)

My main argument is that the link finding process in WordPress seems less intuitive and more complicated then that tools provided by CommonSpot.  This assuming that WordPress had some of the same Link Management capabilities as CS then you would be left with this question:

Would users really like an interface similar to WordPress for locating links or is the abstract link finder in CommonSpot better?


One Response to “Managing the unmanaged links”

  1. mikull Says:

    Overall, CommonSpot has a better interface for managing internal and / or frequently used, registered external links, especially because changing links result in fewer 404’s. I don’t see much of an argument. I like WordPress a lot, and there’s nothing terribly wrong with the GUI — it’s just that CS has enhanced the user experience by properly utilizing the nature of database driven content.

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