Thursday, August 11, 2005
Benefits of Blogrolls
Benefits of blogrolls
are many, but let's explore, together, just a few.
We shall now consider why a blogger would go to the trouble of having a blogroll, and of maintaining it like any other element of a blog.
Blogroll: a list, generally in the sidebar (left or right column), of other blogs that a blog author considers relevant, interesting, fun, or of potential value to his or her readers.
There are automatic programs that can make adding a blog to your blogroll fast and easy.
But I prefer to hand code them into my blog template, which I think gives me a little more freedom to order the links, compose the wording of the link, and add any descriptive text to clarify what the site is.
For example, you might want to add the blogger's name, since the name might have more recognition value than the blog title. Thus: "Contentious (Amy Gahran)" could be the link wording. Or: "Jakob Nielsen" rather than, or in addition to, "Useit".
Another example: "futuristicky (robot cartoons)".
What about blogs that have one stable URL, but the title of the blog changes constantly?
I suggest you then use the URL (web address) name. Carrie Snell's URL is omnamaste [dot] blogspot [dot] com, but she uses "The Wrath of Grapes", "It's A Blog", "A Grain of Salt", and other titles for the blog.
So you could safely and accurately refer to her blog as "Omnamaste". That's what people need to remember if they are typing the URL into their browser, rather than selecting the link from your blogroll.
Also, it's common practice to categorize your blogroll links. Categories might be "Computers", "Marketing", "Avant Garde", "Conservative", "Environmentalist", "Philosophical", "Other Mothers Who Blog", "Literary", "Friends", or "Daily Reads".
Okay, now--some reasons for having and maintaining a blogroll.
Benefits of Blogrolls
(1) Blogrolls showcase your expertise.
If you want to position yourself as an expert, it might be a good idea to display what you consider to be important blogs or web sites in this field. If you have no blogroll, your readers might think you are jealous of similar blogs, or just don't really read other blogs, or are new to blogging and don't know of other blogs in your field.
(2) Blogrolls establish your own blog presence.
I mean, if you always link to your favorite blogs *from your blog*, those other bloggers, when they view their blog statistics and referer logs, will notice your blog as a location from which someone visited their blog.
Thus, those bloggers, whose blogs are on your blogroll, might be curious to visit your blog.
Plus, if those bloggers, whose blogs are on your blogroll, check, for example, Technorati "Other Blogs That Link To My Blog", your blog will appear in the link list of Technorati, or other blog tracking services.
(3) Blogrolls make it easy for you to visit blogs you like.
Keeping point (2) in mind, your blogroll also makes it easy to visit blogs you like. I find that the blogroll is easier to use than my Bookmark Favorites list in my browser, which is clogged with so many sites, it's bewildering.
(4) Blogrolls are the new feed readers.
I had to echo Evan Williams' funny statement. This is point (3) again: you go to your own blog, maybe to respond in a timely manner to comments readers have posted, then you check what's happening at some of your favorite blogroll blogs.
(5) Blogrolls introduce your readers to new blogs.
Your readers benefit from having blogs to visit, hopefully relevant, valuable, or at least interesting, that they might otherwise never even know about.
In this way, every blog with a blogroll acts as a "portal", or starting point, from which to explore a "pre-surfed web", or recommended blogs. This saves your readers the time and trouble of trying to sort through millions upon millions of unknown blogs.
(6) Blogrolls extend a favor to worthy blogs.
By listing a blog in your blogroll, you are directing traffic to a blog you deem worthy of popularity. So be sure to check those blogs to make sure they remain honorable, valuable, and blogroll-worthy. Delete any blogs you no longer trust, like, or find valuable.
Now, what's your opinion?
Do you believe in blogrolls, or do you, like my buddy Paul Woodhouse the Tinbasher, reject blogrolls as clutter or dead ends for search engine spiders?
There is a contrary view on blogrolls, a perspective that is opposed to blogrolls.
What do you think?
How do you use a blogroll? How do you decide what blogs to put on it?
Have you ever asked another blogger to blogroll you? (I advise against this.) Did they do it?
(I've seen blogs that had a written "Link Policy" to clarify their position on blogrolling other blogs.)
Let me know your opinion and your insights.
Email me, or post a comment. Thanks!
[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Posted by steven edward streight at 8/11/2005 11:37:00 AM