Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
On Blogrolls
Great post by Denise that comes via Full Circle. Discussion of the blogroll as a feature of the blog, and 5 questions about the role of your 'roll. Here's my 10 cents:

1) why do you have a blogroll?

I had a blogroll because most of the blogs that I read when I started to blog, and most of the blogs that I read now, do. I had a blogroll before I knew what RSS was, or had an account with a reader, and so I used to find stuff to write about by hitting up my favorite reads in turn, and cutting & pasting where necessary into a new compose window. In my case, RSS killed the Blogroll show, and I don't even click out of my own blog that way any more.

2) what do you hope to gain or provide by having a blogroll and is that working for you?

I think at this point that a blogroll is a statement of community... Either "I am one of these people" or "I'd really like to be one of these people..." Your blogroll is a statement of the community that you see your blog as being part of. Is it working? Who knows! Is it even a significant part of the statement? Who knows. I imagine that post content and sources weigh more heavily on the minds of blog readers at this point than blogrollage, but being on a blogroll is still a weightier link in terms of search results, and is one of the good things you can do for the sites that you like.

3) why are you thinking about doing away with it?

I'm not, really, but I've thought about sticking it in a drop-down box!

4) what would you do instead? (if anything)

I'd like to eventually add a little muscle to my blogroll. As a taster, Stephen's version of Freshtags makes the blogroll a living, breathing element of your blog again, with an expandable blogroll that will display post titles from the rolled blog that are relevant to the post that you're viewing on the host blog.

Other options for showing which community you belong to? Provide a link to a public feed digest, and a link to an OPML file of subs. That way, anyone who wants to can plug in to the community that you're sharing ideas with. If the two originate in the same place, the OPML would update with the subs, and so the two would stay synchronised.

5) you care about community and providing link love, I know you do, so how can you let go of that blogroll and still provide the love?

Can engines still see drop-down links? The love is important, and blogroll-love appears on every page of your site and so is mightily fortified with Google juice. I have the idea, though, that OPML and feedreaders are on the way to making the blogroll a cosmetic rather than functional part of your blog.

So, question 6... How can we rehab the blogroll to bring it to front & center once again? (& should we?)

Filed in:
Posted at 6:16 PM by John.
3 Comments:
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Anonymous Denise said...
Hey there! Thanks for the link and for spending some time thinking about this issue! One correction - Nancy White is who I link to in my post. But my last name isn't "White". I'm just Denise. ;-)

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Blogger John said...
Whoops... fixed! ;-)

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Blogger Singpolyma said...
I have a blogroll because I think if readers like my blog they'll like Freshblog, etc. And also because I like Freshblog and the others on my list so much I want to do what I can to boost their PR with link-love.

As to the future of the blogroll, you're right that RSS is making it less useful. I think that eventually blogrolls will be nothing more than a widgitized version of dynamic reading lists. People will subscribe to reading lists in their feedreader to find interesting content.

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