Blogrolls are everywhere. Almost every blog has one…that endless list of links along the sidebar on the left or right of the content. Sometimes they’re categorized, sometimes they’re displayed alphabetically. Sometimes they’re tossed in there seemingly at random. Who can tell anymore?
Blogrolls are useful. But, they’ve gotten a bit out of hand.
When I first started blogging I was interested in finding humorous and satirical blogs to start generating some buzz for IGotNewsForYou. One of the fastest ways of finding those blogs was through people’s blogrolls. I’d find a good satirical blog, poke around a bit and then launch a whackload of other sites into new browser windows looking for similarly good content.
When it came time to look for marketing and PR blogs, I took the same tactic. Find a couple of good blogs, scour their blogrolls and you’re all set. More than enough great content to feed me for quite some time!
For people just getting into blogging (both reading and publishing), a good blogroll is essential.
Mark Evans questions the value of the blogroll, and rightfully so:
…I would argue many blogrolls are either collecting dust or have become outdated. For people still keen on growing their blogrolls, the problem is the larger they become, the harder they are to navigate.
My own research shows that this is definitely the case. People forget about their blogrolls. They’re rarely updated. And, as a person gets more familiar with consuming blog content, they start to ignore blogrolls altogether. I don’t remember the last time I’ve used someone’s blogroll to find new content.
Still, I went ahead and put up a blogroll anyway in the form of a Resources page. Call it a test…
I didn’t want to clutter my sidebar so I chose to put the links on a separate page, categorized by areas of interest for me (and hopefully others.) I ignored the page almost immediately after putting it up, but I’ve recently started adding links to it again.
In the last 2 months my Resources page has received 130 unique visitors. That’s not a ton, but it’s not bad. Hopefully people found something useful there.
Even if the blogroll is becoming less effective as a way of finding new blogs for more experienced blog consumers, it’s still a nice way of linking to others that are important to you. And it can help in generating links back as well. Lynn Terry at ClickNewz linked back to me after I added a link to her site.
So…with a bit of research, testing and validation, here’s what I’ve gathered:
- Blogrolls are less valuable than they used to be, particularly for more experienced blog readers and writers.
- Blogrolls suffer from neglect.
- Blogrolls can still be valuable to newcomers to the blogosphere.
- Blogrolls can still be valuable for gaining links (although they’re not the best method for doing so.)
- Blogrolls don’t hurt anyone (although they can clutter a sidebar). So there’s no harm putting one up.
The best thing to do with your blogroll is keep it active, updated and organized into logical categories of importance to your audience.
This is the fourth and final part of a multi-part series on fine tuning your blog through research, testing and validation. The first part was Increasing RSS Feed Subscribers. The second part was Making Money From Your Blog. The third part was Why an ABOUT Page Is So Important.