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To Blogroll or Not to Blogroll…

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In West Philadelphia, born and raised, makin' blogrolls is how I spent most of my days...

When I first started blogging, everyone had a blogroll. I mean everyone. It was only natural to show some link love on your sidebar to people you enjoyed reading and people writing about similar topics.

Slowly, blogrolls began to disappear, to the point where they’re now pretty old skool. At first, it was just the lists of “random sites I love just ‘cuz” that were deleted to make space for other things on a sidebar. Then, we saw bloggers start to delete the “related blogs” lists from their sidebar, too. Some bloggers moved them to separate “links” pages. Other bloggers just deleted them completely.

Today, bloggers who use blogrolls are a dying breed. Why are people deleting them?

  1. They take up valuable space on a homepage. You could use that space for advertising, site navigation, links to your social media outposts, etc.
  2. You’re never going to have a list that includes everyone in your niche, so you run the risk of hurting feelings when you are choosing who to include.
  3. When you have a blogroll, it encourages people to email you and ask to trade links, even though their blog may not fit your site well (or at all).
  4. Blogrolls typically don’t get tons of clicks anyway. It depends on the niche, but people are more likely to click if you link with an explanation within your post.
  5. It takes time to maintain a blogroll, since you have to constantly check for broken links and update it when bloggers move or stop blogging.

That’s a lot of negativity about blogrolls! I’m pretty traditional, though – I still like to see them on sites, even if they aren’t the traditional long list of links. On After Graduation, I have my links in the footer so they’re still there, but out of the way. I support the use of a links page, too. Since I gave you a bunch of reasons why blogrolls suck, I’ll also give you some reasons why you should consider keeping yours:

  1. They give your readers more resources, and more is always better!
  2. It’s a way to show someone that you appreciate their site and the work they do there.
  3. People will email you to offer link exchanges, and when they do, you can offer them advertising rates instead. I’ve actually picked up a few advertisers this way in the past on other blogs.
  4. It makes your site seem more user-friendly and less commercial. Readers see it as a look into who you are and what you read on a daily basis.
  5. If you use a feed plugin to display their last post, you’re adding content to your blog, making it more valuable to readers.

I support some bloggers’ decisions to remove their list of links. I think it looks especially bad when you have a huge list of 100+ links on your sidebar. Even if they are all related to your niche in someway, do you really think they’re all high-quality? Do all the links still work? Do readers click through all of them? Probably not on all accounts.

Your turn – do you have a blogroll on your site? Why or why not?

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. Using the term “old skool” in this post made immediately turn on her I Love the 90s iTunes playlist. Word to your mother.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

5
  • Maddie Grant

    Ha funny you should post this – we just had this very debate. We did not include a blogroll in “phase 1” of our blog/website design, and now that we’re in phase 2 we realized that actually we don’t want one – every blogroll I’ve seen lately is out of date, and we do an absolute ton of link love inside blog posts so we decided to leave it off.

  • WritersBlogque

    Nice post and good discussion of a topic I hadn’t even thought of!

    I do keep a small, tight blogroll on my paddle blog as the sites I link to have something way over and above that I can offer and I enjoy visiting them myself. I do it as a sharing mechanism and as a resource for myself. I like to share something good that someone else has shared with me. This is one of the main building blocks for my Baffin Paddler sea kayak blog: http://www.baffinpaddler.blogspot.com/ .

    I am also looking to build a small, tight blogroll on my WritersBlogque site (http://writersblogque.blogspot.com/) as people have asked me to post more blogging resources and blogging advice. I think that no one should ask you to add them to your site. And if they do, you should not feel obligated to add anyone, even a friend. You will do it automatically if you wish. It’s your blog after all. And you are the boss. You have full editorial control. And it’s so nice! The nice thing is, you can add a blogroll or delete it in the blink of an eye.

  • Elana

    I really appreciate this post! I think I’m gonna create my own link page, and do just this. I definitely need to go through my list of blogs and see if they are still around, do the links work, etc. And then if a blogger wants to be on the homepage, they pay for it! Genius! Thanks so much.

  • Marcie Hill

    Thanks for sharing this because as I was reviewing the list I had on my site, I was wondering why some of them were there. I did a little spring cleaning, and only the sites I frequent are listed. This post was so time.

  • Scolex Portal

    I’m on the process of expanding my blogroll so that i can increase backlinks for my blog but after reading your post, i may not continue with exchanging links to other blogs.

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