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Another Good Reason to NOT Have a Blogroll

I don’t like Blogrolls. While they do serve a fine purpose, allowing visitors to see other blogs they might like, and sharing the link-love is always good, I don’t do them. My reason will be clear in a second, first let’s read about the stink happening in the political blog world from The Galloping Beaver

Amnesty is granted to those who are guilty of something. Their act could be construed as somewhat ruthless. They expunged their blogrolls of many of the smaller blogs. In a world where links determine things like Google page rankings, they committed many well-written blogs to the morgue by dropping their link to them. They had used a lot of the links to achieve a standing and once there, slammed the door.

So what has happened, in summary, is a couple of big-assed blogs have trimmed down their Blogrolls. The blogs discarded were mostly the smaller blogs who really benefited from those links and now are feeling both the snub and the traffic pain from the loss.

And so we get to why I don’t do Blogrolls. As a child in the playground I never liked the “who is your best friend” thing. Why do you have to have a finite number of best friends? What does it mean when you miss someone from your list? The intention is not always to hurt but hurt it does. Sometimes the absence from a best-friend or Blogroll list is meant as a snub.

In reaction the smaller blogs are taking up the cause and adding all and sundry to their Blogrolls in a bigger-blogroll-is-better sentiment. Problem is, you can’t add everybody. Who is going to be unlucky? Saying welcome-one, welcome-all is all well and good but makes it even more painful when you then say “… but not YOU“.

Make it easy on yourself. Don’t have a Blogroll. If you like a blog, link to their posts when they write something interesting. Saves us all a world of pain and hand-wringing.

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Comments

  1. Oh man, can’t agree with you enough. I stopped the blogroll thing with my new blog. I realised in any case, for the most part, all you do is link to bigger sites in hopes of getting traffic and the bigger sites mostly link to themselves in any case.

  2. Oh man, can’t agree with you enough. I stopped the blogroll thing with my new blog. I realised in any case, for the most part, all you do is link to bigger sites in hopes of getting traffic and the bigger sites mostly link to themselves in any case.

  3. Ah, darn it, I’m going to like your blog. I’ve only just discovered it, and already it speaks to me.

    Being a relative newcomer (who am I trying to kid – I’ve hardly been born) to the blogging world, I have found myself following every conceivable blogging tip written, including having a blogroll. But the blogroll made me a tad uncomfortable. In the back of my mind was a nagging feeling that it doesn’t work , whatever it was meant to do.

    I think I’m going to follow your advice and cut the cord.

    I wonder whether the same thing is an inevitability when it comes to MyBlogLog.

  4. Ah, darn it, I’m going to like your blog. I’ve only just discovered it, and already it speaks to me.

    Being a relative newcomer (who am I trying to kid – I’ve hardly been born) to the blogging world, I have found myself following every conceivable blogging tip written, including having a blogroll. But the blogroll made me a tad uncomfortable. In the back of my mind was a nagging feeling that it doesn’t work , whatever it was meant to do.

    I think I’m going to follow your advice and cut the cord.

    I wonder whether the same thing is an inevitability when it comes to MyBlogLog.

  5. I totally agree with you on this. I admit when I first heard of “blogrolling” I checked it out and set up an account on the blogrolling site but just adding links to other blogs for the sake of adding links is just as silly as the “Web 1.0” strategy of putting up a “links” page. I never understood why people wanted to have a dedicated “links” page when you can use the whole site to create relevant links. I’m in the web development business and I highly discourage clients from creating a “links” page or on a blog a “blogroll” just to have a blogroll. I do however use the “blogroll” feature in WordPress to link to my other sites but instead of calling it blogroll I call it “my other sites” or something like that. Some sites I don’t use it at all like the one you may link to from my post.

  6. I totally agree with you on this. I admit when I first heard of “blogrolling” I checked it out and set up an account on the blogrolling site but just adding links to other blogs for the sake of adding links is just as silly as the “Web 1.0” strategy of putting up a “links” page. I never understood why people wanted to have a dedicated “links” page when you can use the whole site to create relevant links. I’m in the web development business and I highly discourage clients from creating a “links” page or on a blog a “blogroll” just to have a blogroll. I do however use the “blogroll” feature in WordPress to link to my other sites but instead of calling it blogroll I call it “my other sites” or something like that. Some sites I don’t use it at all like the one you may link to from my post.

  7. Damn, and I was just going to add you, too.

    But honestly, I disagree with all of you! Vehemently. Or however you spell it.

    If I were to, say, author a travel blog, I’d want to link to others of a similar ilk just for shits and giggles. And because I thought they added something to what I had to say. Mind you, I’m not nearly so dedicated or organized to get that far, so I only have a few. But for those I do add, I’m not often in contact with them, don’t call them my friends, and don’t ask for reciprocal links.

    But then again, I’m not particularly serious obout this blogging thing.

  8. Damn, and I was just going to add you, too.

    But honestly, I disagree with all of you! Vehemently. Or however you spell it.

    If I were to, say, author a travel blog, I’d want to link to others of a similar ilk just for shits and giggles. And because I thought they added something to what I had to say. Mind you, I’m not nearly so dedicated or organized to get that far, so I only have a few. But for those I do add, I’m not often in contact with them, don’t call them my friends, and don’t ask for reciprocal links.

    But then again, I’m not particularly serious obout this blogging thing.

  9. If you like them go for it, as I said

    While they do serve a fine purpose, allowing visitors to see other blogs they might like, and sharing the link-love is always good, I don’t do them.

  10. If you like them go for it, as I said

    While they do serve a fine purpose, allowing visitors to see other blogs they might like, and sharing the link-love is always good, I don’t do them.

  11. Chris, I certainly here your point. And if I consider it in a vacuum, I agree – I don’t thin it’s good to leave people out. Like other blogware, WordPress lets me create a randomly generated blogroll. I like this because I don’t have to waste huge amounts of space in my sidebar with a long blogroll, nor do I have to leave anyone out. I know that eventually everyone will get shown.

    I think blogrolls are a foundational part of the blogosphere. So while I respect your opinion, I disagree.

  12. Chris, I certainly here your point. And if I consider it in a vacuum, I agree – I don’t thin it’s good to leave people out. Like other blogware, WordPress lets me create a randomly generated blogroll. I like this because I don’t have to waste huge amounts of space in my sidebar with a long blogroll, nor do I have to leave anyone out. I know that eventually everyone will get shown.

    I think blogrolls are a foundational part of the blogosphere. So while I respect your opinion, I disagree.

  13. I encourage you to disagree, it is good for all of us to see all sides :O)

  14. I encourage you to disagree, it is good for all of us to see all sides :O)

  15. I totally agree with your reasoning about not doing blogrolls.

    Links are money in the Economy of Attention – they are a priority VALUE sytem.

    Being transparent and genuine in deciding who is worthy of sharing your attention… It’s not unlike a form of promiscuity, really.

    I’m not advocating total Link Celibacy, but I do believe I am responsible to the value of my links – I handle them as valuable, I give them as valuable, and I receive them with the same level of respect.

    A judgement is made upon You, Your Blog, Your Brand – a reflection – trying to get Big Popular People to like you is never genuinely effective.

    The Goal is to create superior content, and have a good reason to ally yourself with identify what you respect, and reward that with your recommendation.

    When it is reciprocated by those you hope become your peers – then you know you’re in the right company and that you deserve to be in that company – for the best reasons.

  16. I totally agree with your reasoning about not doing blogrolls.

    Links are money in the Economy of Attention – they are a priority VALUE sytem.

    Being transparent and genuine in deciding who is worthy of sharing your attention… It’s not unlike a form of promiscuity, really.

    I’m not advocating total Link Celibacy, but I do believe I am responsible to the value of my links – I handle them as valuable, I give them as valuable, and I receive them with the same level of respect.

    A judgement is made upon You, Your Blog, Your Brand – a reflection – trying to get Big Popular People to like you is never genuinely effective.

    The Goal is to create superior content, and have a good reason to ally yourself with identify what you respect, and reward that with your recommendation.

    When it is reciprocated by those you hope become your peers – then you know you’re in the right company and that you deserve to be in that company – for the best reasons.

  17. Chris I am on the fence with blogrolls. I can see their value, but I am starting to wonder about the issue of maintaining them. I used to find links pages very useful. I would look for links on specific topics and find a slew of good sites related to that topic, until…

    people started creating those automated directories with tons and tons of reciprocal links on their sites. What a waste those are! They are useless from a users perspective.

    I think a blogroll can be usefull to your visitors if you link to blogs that your visitors will enjoy you sharing. It’s all about your visitors, right? You want the user experience to be great. If you have a ton of blogroll links, it’s going to be worthless. Maybe in that case adding a categorized link directory would be better for your users. While linking only to good articles makes some sense, is it best for the visitors of your blog? Maybe, maybe not.

  18. Chris I am on the fence with blogrolls. I can see their value, but I am starting to wonder about the issue of maintaining them. I used to find links pages very useful. I would look for links on specific topics and find a slew of good sites related to that topic, until…

    people started creating those automated directories with tons and tons of reciprocal links on their sites. What a waste those are! They are useless from a users perspective.

    I think a blogroll can be usefull to your visitors if you link to blogs that your visitors will enjoy you sharing. It’s all about your visitors, right? You want the user experience to be great. If you have a ton of blogroll links, it’s going to be worthless. Maybe in that case adding a categorized link directory would be better for your users. While linking only to good articles makes some sense, is it best for the visitors of your blog? Maybe, maybe not.

  19. Yes they can be valuable to visitors, but I would argue a proper post giving good reasons for why someone should visit a particular blog is even better. Context is important, right?

  20. Yes they can be valuable to visitors, but I would argue a proper post giving good reasons for why someone should visit a particular blog is even better. Context is important, right?

  21. Totally agree. Context is important. The problem with a post link as opposed to a blogroll link, though, is that the post very quickly gets buried in the archives, whereas the blogroll doesn’t. So why not do both?

    It does seem that the bigger a blogger gets, the less likely he or she is to have a blogroll. Whether that’s because they don’t need the link love any more, so therefore also don’t feel the need to share it, or because of the hurt feelings at the playground thing you mention, or just plain not wanting to be bothered anymore–blogrolls do often seem to go the way of the dodo bird, the higher up in the blogosphere one goes.

    I think for newer bloggers and bloggers climbing their way up the ranks, blogrolls still provide a helpful service to readers and to bloggers. Especially if that blogger isn’t in one of the big 5 blog areas–tech, politcal, entertainment, big business, or journalism.

    No doubt, we’d all love to get so popular that we could make our blogrolls obsolete. (Said tongue-in-cheek)If I ever get there, I’ll be sure to remember your article to help assuage my guilt for dumping the other bloggers who helped get me there.

    Kidding aside. Your points are well taken.

  22. Totally agree. Context is important. The problem with a post link as opposed to a blogroll link, though, is that the post very quickly gets buried in the archives, whereas the blogroll doesn’t. So why not do both?

    It does seem that the bigger a blogger gets, the less likely he or she is to have a blogroll. Whether that’s because they don’t need the link love any more, so therefore also don’t feel the need to share it, or because of the hurt feelings at the playground thing you mention, or just plain not wanting to be bothered anymore–blogrolls do often seem to go the way of the dodo bird, the higher up in the blogosphere one goes.

    I think for newer bloggers and bloggers climbing their way up the ranks, blogrolls still provide a helpful service to readers and to bloggers. Especially if that blogger isn’t in one of the big 5 blog areas–tech, politcal, entertainment, big business, or journalism.

    No doubt, we’d all love to get so popular that we could make our blogrolls obsolete. (Said tongue-in-cheek)If I ever get there, I’ll be sure to remember your article to help assuage my guilt for dumping the other bloggers who helped get me there.

    Kidding aside. Your points are well taken.

  23. I think it is better, I think there can also be value to your readers in having a blogroll. I am just not sure how to quantify that value.

    I also think that SEO and pandering to the Search Engines has messed up our idea of how and who we should link to in general.

  24. I think it is better, I think there can also be value to your readers in having a blogroll. I am just not sure how to quantify that value.

    I also think that SEO and pandering to the Search Engines has messed up our idea of how and who we should link to in general.

  25. I do agree that pruning the blogroll hurts the little guy, but at the same time there are ways of managing the blogroll without cutting the number of blogs listed on it.

    For example: although mine has lots of links in one category, I’ve limited the number to 5, and it’s a random 5 each and every time a page is loaded. Sure, there are fewer actual blogs listed per page, but all the links on the roll have about the same amount of exposure on the site.

  26. I do agree that pruning the blogroll hurts the little guy, but at the same time there are ways of managing the blogroll without cutting the number of blogs listed on it.

    For example: although mine has lots of links in one category, I’ve limited the number to 5, and it’s a random 5 each and every time a page is loaded. Sure, there are fewer actual blogs listed per page, but all the links on the roll have about the same amount of exposure on the site.

  27. Never been a fan of blogrolls as a reciprocal tool. I do have a section called “blogs I read”, which I think has two entries at the moment. I like knowing who other bloggers are reading, but I couldn’t care less who their best buddies or link-trading partners are.

  28. Never been a fan of blogrolls as a reciprocal tool. I do have a section called “blogs I read”, which I think has two entries at the moment. I like knowing who other bloggers are reading, but I couldn’t care less who their best buddies or link-trading partners are.

  29. I am new with only two posts to my resume so for. When I set up my word press blog I noticed the blog roll. Hum, what is that I thought? Thanks for more insite on the blog roll. Now I have to figure out where I fall on this issue.

  30. I am new with only two posts to my resume so for. When I set up my word press blog I noticed the blog roll. Hum, what is that I thought? Thanks for more insite on the blog roll. Now I have to figure out where I fall on this issue.

  31. I’m not the biggest fan of blog rolls. I think they are going along like links pages did, and blog rolls are often too generic to really be all that good. But I also think they are very tempting for people who look at their Technorati ranking, where so much can depend on the number of inbound links.

    I’m playing with it a little, but unless I get positive results, Technorati ranking notwithstanding, I’ll cheerfully drop blog rolls. If it doesn’t work, what’s the point?

  32. I’m not the biggest fan of blog rolls. I think they are going along like links pages did, and blog rolls are often too generic to really be all that good. But I also think they are very tempting for people who look at their Technorati ranking, where so much can depend on the number of inbound links.

    I’m playing with it a little, but unless I get positive results, Technorati ranking notwithstanding, I’ll cheerfully drop blog rolls. If it doesn’t work, what’s the point?