Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blogroll Dynamics

Blogroll Dynamics

At my "Tell Me What You Want" post, where I ask readers to let me know what topics they'd like me to blog about, I received this from Karen:


"How do you decide who to put on your blogroll? Or even to have one at all?

I know that you've mentioned that you advocate having one, but could there be a good reason not to have one?

Do you include people who put you on their blog so you're obligated to put theirs on yours?

What's the criteria?

What about those people who took you off their blogroll? Should we take that personally?"


Blogroll: What and Why?

A "blogroll" is a list, generally in the blog sidebar, of hypertext links to other blogs and web sites that the blogger recommends to others.

Readers benefit from a blogroll of truly useful, credible, relevant, entertaining, high quality sites. Not a "clinking" list of links to others in your little cult or clique.

Generally, originally, a blogroll was strictly limited to other sites of relevance, interest, or value to the blogger, and thus also to the readers.

The blogroll may be entitled "Recommended Reading", "Other Sources", "Blogroll", "Rad Bloggers", or similar.

Blogrolls may be subdivided, categorized according to type of blog or web site.

For example, a political blog could have separate blogrolls for Republican blogs and Democrat blogs, news sites, journalist bloggers, and special issues.

Blogroll Guidelines

#1: Blogroll should be composed of blogs you really have visited, valued and now wish to share with your readers for their benefit.

The blogroll is an added value of your blog, a way to make your blog of greater worth to your readers.

#2: Blogroll should be composed of links to blogs you like, so you may visit these blogs from the starting point of your blog.

This results in referer logs showing that you arrived at the blog from your blog, which may arouse the curiosity of the blogger you link to, resulting in them visiting your blog.

Pseudo Blogroll 1: Reciprocal

A "reciprocal blogroll" is the "you link to me, and I'll link to you" link exchange that is generally frowned upon by hardcore bloggers. Some call it "link whoring".

A "reciprocal blogroll" may be poor quality, low relevance sites that are listed only due to being friends with the blogger.

This pseudo-blogroll is generally of little value to your readers.

Pseudo Blogroll 2: Clinking

A "clinking blogroll" is listing only blogs that are associated with your host, blog software, beliefs, political party, race, nationality, sexual orientation, or other classification.

Clinking = click or cult linking.

For example, a blogroll of only WordPress, TypePad, or Blogspot blogs. Or a blogroll of ONLY other [whatever] blogs:

e.g., ONLY other mommy blogs, other gay blogs, other left wing blogs, other Buddhist blogs, other female business blogs, other Norwegian blogs.

When, for example, most art blogs seem to blogroll the same 20 or 30 blogs, with slight variations, either all 20 of these blogs have justly attained a universal validity due to their intrinsic merits, or some clinking is going on.

In some cases, clinking can be appropriate, for example, a limited topic blog. If you only blog about gardening, a blogroll of only other gardening related blogs would probably be fine.

But many right wing political blogs have left wing blogs listed, sometimes with a heading of "The Other View" or similar wording. This shows that good bloggers of right wing persuasion respect and value the reporting or insights of certain high quality left wing blogs, and vice versa. (The MSM ignores or denies this mutual respect of bloggers.)

Pseudo Blogroll 3: Copy and Paste

The "copy and paste blogroll" is a blogroll that is simply an imitation of what the blogger thinks their blogroll "should be" according to some top blogs in the category.

This is a phony blogroll, because the blogs have not proven their value to the blogger, the blogs are listed just because other blogs list them.

When You Should NOT
Have a Blogroll

In certain situations, a blogroll may not be a good idea.

A collaborative project, intranet, or team blog may not need any blogroll, since it's focused on a corporate goal, and is not meant to be a portal to other blogs.

If you really don't know of any good, relevant, recommendable sites, you cannot have a legitimate blogroll.

You may not want a blogroll if for some other reason you don't want users to leave your blog to visit other similar or relevant blogs.

Most Blogs Need a Blogroll

A blogroll can be another form of self-expression or of conveying expertise.

You can evaluate a new, unfamiliar blog by what kind of blogs are in the blogroll. The blogroll gives you some insight into the character, political persuasion, etc. of the blog.

A business blog with a blogroll of other high quality business blogs becomes of greater value to a user than one without a blogroll of such sites.

Personal blogs sometimes have short blogrolls containing blogs of their friends, which is generally appropriate.

Academic blogs often list only other blogs associated with the university, or with a specific subject matter, such as law, mathematics, literature, or philosophy.

You'll notice that some bloggers don't blogroll the actual title of the blog, if the blogger's name is more familiar. For example, I might display "Christopher Locke" in my blogroll, rather than "Chief Blogging Officer"...or "Amy Gahran" rather than "Contentious". Or you'll see both used: "Contentious (Amy Gahran)".

Or a clarification might be added to an obscure blog, e.g.: "futuristicky (robot cartoons)".

Build your blogroll slowly and carefully, with your audience's anticipated needs and interests in mind.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



MARYBETH said...

Dear Vaspers,
Hey , how come I am not a link to you?????
(dabbing her eyes with a kleenex)...

N a m a s t e ,

steven edward streight said...

I'm way behind on lots of things.

No offense.

I just added "Hello World" to my blogroll tonight. And rich...! has been my blogocombat enemy, and thus, a close friend and ally, for quite a long time now.

I first discovered "Hello World" blog due to a scathing attack on my book "Secrets of the Blogging Pros", an attack launched at "Hello World".

I will now go add you to roll.

Then tomorrow, I must copy and paste The VTG blogroll and import it to Blog Core Values.

Feel better now? Poor rich...! who has waited much longer than you to be on my blogroll.

Not that he even wanted to be on it, and may request removal, at which point more blogocombat will erupt, and I might let him win. Again.


steven edward streight said...

Because your sidebar sucks, that's why.

Just kidding. Put that aloe laced kleenex away.

MARYBETH said...

ROTF=0 =) =)

I KNEW IT WAS THE sidebar!!!!

(ruckum suckem grrrrrr)
(frikin details...arrrrgh!!)

I wasn't offended =)

You are my Blogarishi =)

i was just a little sad...a tiny bit left out. .. but its okey now =)

Aloe in the kleenex???? =)

you have a published book???

I hope you are a teacher or professor. If you are not....i tink you should be at some time...

N a m a s t e ,