Easy. You always can. The end.
By chance, I’ve had several conversations this week with people who either wanted to link to my blog or were asking what I thought of them linking to others. Link away, I said. Always. There’s no permission needed and no endorsement implied.
At least, there isn’t from the site or person you’re linking to. If I were to tell you that Brain Pickings is the most amazingly absorbing site I read – which it is, by the way – then I believe I am actually beholden to give you a link. I don’t have to ask the site’s owner Maria Popova and my linking to her site doesn’t mean she’s happy for me to. It doesn’t mean she even knows about me.
It just means that I am sending you on your way. I have a thing: I can’t write anything online without including a link to take you somewhere else more interesting afterwards. I feel that is my duty and also that if I do it, I’ve earned a bit of your time to do some things with and for you.
The site owner you’re linking to do does find out, by the way. They have to look at their traffic but they can and so if a tonne of people click through you to them, they’ll know about it.
And what are they going to do? Multiple choice answer: a) be pleased, 2) be very pleased or iii) one of the above. I suppose if the Ferguson police force linked to me I might be a bit irked but they never will and nobody would click through there to me if they did.
So link away. You’re doing a service and I think this is actually part of the bedrock of the web, that we share sites amongst ourselves.