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?
- They take up valuable space on a homepage. You could use that space for advertising, site navigation, links to your social media outposts, etc.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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:
- They give your readers more resources, and more is always better!
- It’s a way to show someone that you appreciate their site and the work they do there.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.