Tripping Over Reference
The importance of link placement
(and other stuff)
Bill Pardue (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PR for Virtual Reference—updated 5/19/2011
Placement is promotion!
Press releases, handouts, ads, etc. tend to
create brief “spikes” in usage.
Proper placement assures that people will find
the link to VR when and where they need it!
(This doesn’t mean not to do handouts, ads,
Source: Elaina Norlin, “Creating a Purple Cow, VRD 2005.
Not just a “QuestionPoint thing”
Promote multiple avenues for reference:
Phone & in-person
But today, we’re talking about AskAway/QP!
Looking at the statistics
Looked at referrer page info from QP
Three months: 458 Sessions
139 sessions from home page & catalog
319 came from everywhere else!
70% of sessions originated from places other
than home page & catalog
December 2006 Stats (more detail)
136 Total chat sessions
Home Page: 48 referrals
Websites/DBs page: 17
Kids World: 17
Contact Us: 7
38 sessions from other locations!
Get your link:
As part of the basic page template
“Above the fold” (test it at 800x600)
Use graphic and brief text
AskAway branding essential, but make sure
patron understands what it is! E.G., “Ask a
Question Live Online” or “Get Live Online Help”
Current practices (a quick look)
Looked at 20 libraries
Home page link: 19 (why not 20?)
Part of site “template”: 8
Link via catalog: 0
Low: 5 lower left; 1 lower right; 2 lower center
High: 4 upper left; 5 upper right; 2 upper center
1 Dead center
Think about your vendors
Your subscription databases
FirstSearch, Gale, Ebsco, Proquest, Wilson, etc.
Many support “branded” links, which can include
VR service. Contact your vendor for details.
We’ve had relatively few sessions from these,
but why not catch what you can?
FirstSearch admin module
Interface Display > Your Library Settings > Your Library
Do you maintain any other sites?
E.G., Community information directories
Market it as local information
“Ask a question about Arlington Heights” or “Live Help 24/7”
Don’t necessarily play up the librarian angle as the main point!
Links on other community sites?
Chamber of Commerce
Social service agencies
Be ready to answer questions relevant to
these sites or to arrange referrals!
There’s a political element to this.
Look for social sites/blogs!
Not just your own blog
Look for other sites where people might post
comments/questions—post answers and give
Follow tweets about your town to see if it’s
worth sending a link as a reply.
“Local” version of “Slam the Boards?”
Think of anywhere else!
E.G., In the signature of outgoing e-mails to patrons
QR Codes: on business cards, posted around the library, book
(Also, generate bit.ly address for your qwidget/chat form and then
go to that address followed by “qrcode. E.G.:
Your library’s tweets and FB posts
We’re after the “long tail!”
Most of these won’t contribute large numbers
You’re doing this to increase referrals
1 or 2 per month from multiple sources
begins to add up!
Checking your referrals:
Start at the My QuestionPoint page, click on
View Service History
Checking referrals, cont’d:
Then Review Transcripts>Form Fields. Select month
and uncheck everything but “referrer”. Select “View
Excel file,” then “Submit.”
QP: Best Practices in Link Placement