Blogrolls. Does anybody use them?


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by selva

One of the things I remember about my first experience with blogging was the blogroll.

I would click on a new blog and one of the first things my eye would notice was the list on the sidebar composed of links classified by the blog owners as “worthy reads.”

“Blogs I love,” “Link Love,” and “My Favorites,” were just some of the ways to label the famous “blogroll.”

Some blogrolls were short, some were long, and some seemed to go the length of the page.

At the time, I wondered what it would take to win a coveted space on the blogroll on any of the “popular” blogs.

I smile now as I remember likening blogrolls to high school cliques.

If your blog was hip, then without a doubt, it was on somebody’s blogroll.

But if it wasn’t, you could click for days and never see your blog’s name in any of the illustrious lists found in the blogosphere.

I giggle as I recall how I wondered if blogrolls, like cliques, had rules such as “Abstain from pissing the blogger off or run the risk of having your blog stricken from the list.”

I think it was my association of blogrolls with a “Buddies List” what kept me from establishing a blogroll when I started blogging.

As a new blogger, I didn’t want to give the wrong impression that the blogs on my list were the only blogs I read.

Furthermore, I didn’t want to exclude anyone.

However, as my little blog grew, my notions of the blogroll changed.

I found myself wanting to share with my readers posts I thought were outstanding.

It was my way of saying, “Hey, read these too!”

Currently I find myself pondering whether the blogroll is of any value.

After all, does anyone click on any of the blogs on a blogroll anymore?

Or is the blogroll simply using up real estate space on the sidebar; adding to the clutter that oftentimes turns readers away?

I don’t know.

What say you?

Is a blogroll worth leaving on the sidebar, or is it better to link to bloggers’ posts when they write something interesting?

Does being excluded from a blogroll make you feel excluded, or do you not give a rat’s ass?

Do you feel having your blog on someone’s blogroll gives your blog more exposure, or do you feel it doesn’t make much of a difference?

Won’t you please reply to the poll and provide feedback?

I think this might give us an idea of how some of us feel regarding the blogroll and its value.

Thank you, lovely readers!

If you’re interested in seeing the results of the poll, be sure to check back!

XOXO,

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65 thoughts on “Blogrolls. Does anybody use them?

  1. I wondered how the blogroll worked as well, initially. I like sharing
    other blogs but I also use it as a way to remind me to visit those
    blogs since I don’t subscribe to all the ones that I like. I don’t feel
    left out if I don’t see me on one because some blogrolls are sooo
    long. Occasionally, I will click a link on someone else’s blog though
    and WordPress shows what links have been clicked on your blog,
    so I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers with interesting names are
    clickable and I think that usually intrigues to have a look-see.

    • Totsy, thanks for the feedback! I too like to include blogs on my blog roll that I don’t subscribe to using Bloglovin’. You make sense. Always! Thank you for the feedback! :)

  2. I use a blogroll to remind me to visit some blogs, and find it quite useful. Someone doesn’t have me on their blogroll? Oh, dear, I’m not popular, that’s horrible! Oh wait, I never was popular, probably never will be, and besides, I don’t see blogs as a popularity contest. As for clicking on another blog on somebody’s blogroll, if I have time and it catches my eye, yes, I’ll do it, it can be a great way to find interesting blogs.

  3. Great poll! Our blogroll reflects blogs that inspire us, and/or provoke thought, and/or make us laugh out loud. I oftentimes – more often than not – will explore other bloggers’ blogrolls. It doesn’t matter to me if our blog is listed on someone’s blogroll, although I imagine I’d be tickled were that to be the case. And, finally, I can only speak from experience when I say that 95% of the blogs I read – not all of which are on our blogroll; too many – were discovered via other bloggers’ blogrolls. :-)

    • Hot Coco, same here! I’ve discovered fantastic blogs through other bloggers’ blogroll. I figure the majority of bloggers will include blogs on their blogroll that are similar to theirs. Hence, if I like a particular blogger, I will check out his or her recommendations! :) Thanks for the feedback!

  4. —I have a blog roll, but I’ve been too buzy to add more. I’ve been horrible…but I remember as a new blogger a year ago, I thought “OHhhhh, I wish I could be on her blog roll. Ohhh, I must suck cuz I’m not on her blog roll.”
    –The reason I like them is because I like visiting other blogs- and I can just click to get there!
    —But in the beginning, I felt like a REAL loser! HA
    I’ve been included in several of those question/answer things, but have not contributed. I don’t want to leave anybody out…so I just don’t do it.
    xxx Kiss Hug, Bella.

    • You know what you’re problem is, Kim? You’re just a sweetheart! :) I’m glad to read that not being on someone’s blogroll was a bit of a concern because I’m afraid it’s what a lot of bloggers feel. The same way there are bloggers who blog for themselves, there are bloggers who blog and like recognition for what they write. I would imagine those are the ones affected by things of this nature. Thank you for your honesty, doll! :)

  5. I don’t explore blog rolls every day, but when I’m looking for something new, I often wander through the blog roll of a writer I find entertaining or informative. I’ve found lots of blogs I like that way. More often, though, I find new blogs by reading the comments on a post that I like.
    When it comes to being on someone’s blog roll… I think it’s a treat to be included, but one can’t be hurt by not being on a certain list. There are so many blogs to read that an all-inclusive list with the name of every blog a writer follows would be too overwhelming for readers and it would lose its effectiveness.

    • Shary, thank you for adding to the information in this post. You’re right–an all inclusive list would be overwhelming. Not to mention, defeat its purpose. Like Totsy mentioned, some blog rolls so long, many people won’t take the time to go through all of them. Thanks for contributing! :)

  6. Great question! I’ve had all the same thoughts as you about blogrolls. I do have blogrolls on both my blogs. I wanted to share with my readers, these other great blogs. Yes, there are more blogs I enjoy but these are the ones that I read all the time and represented ME as a person as well. A way to share myself by showing others what *I* like to read. When I started my 2nd blog, I put mostly family and recipe blogs on my own recipe blog because it just made more sense. On my essay blog, I put essay type blogs on the roll.

    I always look at someone’s blog roll. I see a lot of overlap in certain circles. Certain ones ARE very popular and they deserve it. I never expect to see my own blog on someone’s roll, so when I do, I am shocked and pleased!

    Yes, I do click on those blogs when I have time. Certain titles will stand out an sound like something I’d enjoy. I don’t always like them as much as the original blogger does, but that’s ok. I check them out.

    Like Shary (above) I often will be intrigued by a comment left by someone and will click on their name to see what their blog is. It’s also a great way to make connections with other bloggers!

    Thanks, Bella, great topic for conversation.

    • Michael Ann, and thank you for adding to the conversation because you’ve made another valuable point– many blogrolls serve to represent the blogger in question! I love this conversation! It’s quite the learning experiencing and it’s great to read how each person thinks! Like you and Shary, at times a commenter’s comment will pique my curiosity to see what his or her blog is like. Thanks for the feedback! :)

  7. I rarely look at blog rolls…unless I am on a mission to gather as much info as possible on a particular topic. It’s nice to have your link on another blog of course (^-^) but when the list gets sooooooo loooooong….sheesh! Maybe a good idea is to have them on a separate page?

    • Brilliant suggestion, Rowena! I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers include their blogroll on a separate page. It seems to remove some of the clutter from the layout as well as provide more structure. And yes, you’re right–some blogrolls are so long! Thanks, lady! :)

  8. Bella, this is a tough subject for me. On the one hand, I love looking at other people’s blogrolls. It’s a great way for me to discover blogs that bloggers I like take inspiration from. On the other hand, I don’t like how messy they can make a blog look. I put my inspiration bloggers on a separate page, even though I’d like to showcase them on the actual front page.

    I’m tooling with the idea of making a new layout for my blog, and if I find a way to make an aesthetically pleasing blogroll, then I’ll add it.

    • Laura, I like your practical nature and I also like that you give importance to the aesthetics of your blog. I mean, lets face it, attractive blogs make people want to visit again, don’t they? I like your structured interface and the fact that you have your favorite blogs on a separate page. Thank you for the input, lady! :)

  9. I agree with Shary – I kind of wander over to see what someone else likes every now and then (ahem… usually when I can’t stand another minute of the day job). I think they’re helpful, but I hate seeing a huge, long as my arm, list. Please. Who has that kind of time? But do I get a thrill if I chance upon my own? Well, errr… I thought about calling my mom in my excitement, but she’s afraid of blogs, so it wouldn’t help. ha!

    • Lori, I can see we’re all in agreement that long blogrolls are not very appealing. I hear you and I second you on getting a bit giddy upon realizing my blog is on someone’s blog roll! :) Your mom seems like my sisters whom I can’t get to read my blog even if I bribe them! :) Thanks for adding to the pot, sister!

  10. I think a blogroll can be useful to share the world which blogs you prefer, but sometimes it’s just a list of out of date links!. Most of the people is used to read their favorite blogs in their feeds readers, so sometimes I think it’s an old times vestige!
    besos

    • Mrs. Allnut, another brilliant point! I have to agree. A lot of times I will click on blogs on someone’s blog roll and they haven’t been updated in years or they no longer exist. I think that if you elect to have a blog roll, it should be updated. Thank you for bringing that point up! Besos! :)

  11. Hmm… I guess every blogger has their own reason for a blogroll. My blogroll is mainly for me and I think it’s nice if readers want to check it out, too. I’m usually busy but once in a while, I’ll check out the the blog list I see on the side and if I spy an interesting-looking name and have time, I’ll check it out. That reminds me. I gotta add you to my blogroll, right now. Before I forget, again. ;-)

    • Paz, a lot of people have mentioned, that like you, they will click on a blog because they find the title interesting. I think this shed’s light on the importance of having a catchy blog name, doesn’t it? Thank you for the feedback! :)

    • Kelly, so you’re a browser? hee hee! I understand what you mean. I think some people will indeed just glance at the blogroll to see the names of the blogs and that’s all. It makes sense! Thanks! :)

  12. I was like you- I didn’t want to have anything to do with that whole clique-y blog roll thing. And now? I have one. And it’s only two kinds of blogs- blogs that are ALWAYS good, or blogs that are written by personal friends who occasionally get mentioned in my own blog.

    I always figured nobody gave a crap about the blog roll, until I started playing with the analytics about my traffic. And I get a LOT of traffic from other people’s blog rolls! I was totally shocked! Every once in a while, traffic will start coming from somewhere new, and I’ll go snooping around to find out why, and four out of five times it’s because somebody else has put me on their blog roll.

    I’m always totally flattered, and I never know what to say. But you’ve inspired me, I think I’ll be sending out a thank you to all of those folks who publicly declare their affection for what I write. :)

    • Lea, there you go! At times we find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places! :) You’ve added something new to the mix in mentioning the traffic blogrolls generate to other blogs. Whenever I check out my stats, I can see what links on my blog people are clicking on, as well as what blog referred them. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to stats, but it’s good to know how one’s traffic is generated. Thank you for adding to the conversation! :)

  13. I like them because, if I find a new blog I enjoy, then I want to see what they recommend because chances are, if I’m liking a blog, I’ll probably also like discovering their blog roll since we probably have similar tastes. That said, I do think you have to put on your blogroll, only those you really like. It can’t be about a popularity contest or about not wanting anyone to feel left out, but rather those you believe have are good blogs. If you add blogs just to be nice, then you dilute its value. That’s my two cents.

    • And what a good two cents they are, Ms. Monica! I agree. A blogroll should not be about popularity or adding only those blogs with a lot of traffic. Indeed, like you mention, it should be about the blogs the blog author likes and wants to share with readers. The way I see it, once you put a blog on a blogroll, it’s like you’re giving them your sign of approval. Sort of like, I like these blogs and perhaps you might like them too. Thanks for adding to the mix, amiga! :)

  14. I like blogrolls, have found lovely blogs to follow through them, BUT… [guilty look] haven’t updated mine in about a month, and think I’m following about 15-20 new blogs.

    What I do to try to make it useful for my readers, is separate ‘em into categories, rather than one big dogpile, and limit the number shown at one time. Agents & Publishers are in one blogroll; Blogging blogs in another, Reviews in another, Smutty stuff in another, Funny stuff in another. Then all my writer friends are crammed into another, which rotates to show the 10 most recent posts. This means that you might only be shown for a little while, but you ARE there. :-)

    Am thinking of adding even more categories, but am not sure what they’d be.

    However, am having probs as one of my blogroll friends had hacking on her site, so now MY site is getting warnings – via Chrome, but NOT via Firefox. :-( Do I temporarily drop her blog from my roll- she’s a nice gal, doesn’t have many followers, and a good writer, or put up with the possible damage to my readership?

    One thing I’ve decided not to do re: limited blog real estate is awards. Too many, too overwhelming, and too much challenge for my limited HTML skills.

    • Beverly, great suggestion! Categories would make a blog roll a lot more reader friendly. I’ve visited fashion blogs that have categories and it’s easier to navigate those blogrolls. As for your friend, I would probably remove her from the blogroll until she gets the situation sorted out and then add her back in once it’s resolved. Most readers freak out if they see a lot of warnings and unfortunately, this could affect your readership. Hopefully she can get everything sorted out soon. Thank you for your feedback! :)

  15. I like to know what other people are writing & reading as well as to support our ever shrinking community, the literate. I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading everything… alas, the writer’s dilemma.

  16. My blog-roll is made up of blogs written by people I know and people I wish I knew, ha!

    I use it as a way to keep up with blogs I read. If my readers know where/what it is, it gives an idea of the stuff I like. I have never explained how/why someone ended up there, but I know people that do blog-roll showcases.

    If I mention a blog, I do it in a post, when it makes sense within the overall thought.

    If I find a blog I like, I get click-happy on their blog-roll. To me, it ‘s kinda like a junk-mail filter.

    I’m also intrigued when I notice blogs-in-common, if people are wondering what their blog-niche is, the theme of blogs-in-common is probably it.

    • LKD, you realize your wonderful comment has just given us insight into how to identify our niche as bloggers, don’t you? :) I have to agree. The majority of the time, a blogger will have on his or her blogroll, blogs that are closely related to the topics they blog about. My blogroll is eclectic. I have travel blogs, fashion blogs, personal blogs, and so on. Oh no! That may mean I can’t use this system to find my niche! hee hee! I also agree with you when you say that blogrolls give readers an idea of what the blog author likes. Thank you for the great feedback! :)

  17. Bella, I’ve tossed around the idea of adding a blogroll to my site for a while and just can’t pull the trigger on it, but I would create a separate page for blog love if I were to do it. Truthfully, I am always surprised to see my site mentioned or my button in someone’s blogroll; it does feel great! The only time I’ve ever gotten my feelings hurt is when someone removed my button from their blogroll; they still followed my blog but I was replaced by trendier, more popular blogs in their blogroll and that stung, I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t like the way it made me feel; It was a real moment of “Why do I care?” And then I started questioning who I was blogging for and blah blah blah boring boring boring. So maybe that’s why I don’t have a blogroll. I’m doing this for me. All the other stuff kind of feels like keeping score, you know?

    • Heidi, I completely understand. I respect that you blog primarily for you. I think writing is one of the things we can claim as our own and it makes sense to feel like you do it for yourself. I don’t know why sometimes people assume the mentality of “out with the old, in with the new.” I think if you put someone’s blog on your blogroll, unless they delete their blog or really haven’t updated in years, then there’s no reason to remove it. If you ever decide to have a blogroll, I like your idea of having a separate page. Thanks for the feedback, friend! :)

  18. I voted “Other” on your poll because I currently have a blog roll and thought it was a good idea, but I’ve been feeling bad because it doesn’t include half the blogs I read and enjoy and I keep discovering more, but I don’t want to add a long list because my readers rarely click on any of the ones I have there now. So I am also re-thinking the concept. It might be a good idea to use that space to feature one “Blog of the Week” and promote that one blog in a post. Just an idea. I think that people are using Google Reader and other sites like Delicious to keep track of the blogs they read regularly.

    • Carol, one of my favorite bloggers, Corinne, from Everyday Gyann, has the wonderful feature of “Blog of the Week.” Every week she features a blog on her own blog and I’m in love with the concept! I agree with you, lots of people use Google Reader and feeds to read blogs and hence, lots of blogrolls don’t get as many clicks as they should. Thank you for your valuable input! :)

  19. Bella – What an interesting topic. Personally, I didn’t know what a blogroll was. Now I do! Started blogging in April by the seat of my pants, barely knew what I was doing . . . and now it’s like second nature. I’ve just been too busy to check out all the whistles and bells. This will go on my to-do-list. Now that I understand the concept, I’ll be keeping my eyes open.

    • Nancy, I think it’s wonderful that you’ve walked away from here with new found knowledge of what a blogroll is! Fantastic! Now you have to make a decision: to have one or not to have one! Keep us posted on what you decide! :) Thanks for your feedback!

  20. I have come across some lovely Blogs to follow by checking out Peoples Blogrolls and Google Reader is my friend also recommending like minded Blogs for me to follow in fact I came across some fantastic Swedish Blogs this morning from someones Blogroll.

    • Hello Jacki and welcome! I’m glad you were able to find great blogs through blogrolls. That gives us hope that the blogroll’s demise is far from close! Carol was mentioning how some people use Google reader and I have to admit that while I have it, I never use it. It’s too cluttered and overwhelming for my taste. But I like the concept that it can recommend like-minded blogs! Thank you for contributing to the conversation! :)

  21. I like the blogroll. It never bothers me if I’m NOT on someone’s blogroll, but if I happen to see I am it makes me smile – like this gorgeous periwinkle blue background with the butterflies on and the tea cup at the top. I love those things!

    • Elizabeth, thank you! Your sweet words make ME smile! I’m glad you assume this laid back attitude regarding the blogroll. We have much to learn from you! Thank you for your feedback! :)

  22. I’m with Monica. I like the blogroll because if I like the blog I’m on, then I’ll probably find something else I like in what is recommended. It beats shooting in the dark to find good blogs. It’s like when I was in grad school and had tons of research. I didn’t have to hit the library often (pre-internet) to find sources. I’d find one primary source, look at that researcher’s list of sources for relevant titles, check those sources for other sources, etc. Why reinvent the wheel? If there are specific posts, I’ll find a way to link within my own blog post.

    • Julie, you smart cookie you! Where were you when I was in college wasting my time looking for sources? :) I like your take on the blogroll! You and Monica think like I do; the blogroll is an excellent way to find like-minded writers. Thank you for your input! :)

  23. I completely agree with Monica. And that’s because I’m on her blogroll so I have to. Just kidding. I find them valuable. I like to see what my favorite bloggers enjoy. It’s great networking.

    • I’m on Monica’s blogroll too, so I’m glad I already agreed with her! hee hee! I agree, Leah, I enjoy seeing what blogs my favorite bloggers enjoy as well. And you’ve added another valuable reason for the blogroll–it’s instrumental in networking! Thank you for that! :)

  24. Bella – Like many people here the blogroll is what I use to go to updated posts on blogs I like to read. Also, I believe that a blogroll is my way of sharing with others the great blogs I follow. I’ve often clicked on a link on someone’s blogroll and been pleasantly surprised. Not sure how we discovered each other exactly, but I suspect it was on a blogroll that I saw you first :)

    • Corinne, I’m so happy that it was a blogroll was that lead to your discovery of me! :) I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have your blog as a source of inspiration! The porcelain unicorn video blew me away! I feel the same way you do–it’s wonderful to discover blogs and we can say that blogrolls are a good source of information. Thank you for adding to the mix! :)

  25. I definitely use & love blogrolls! In fact, it’s one of the ways I have discovered so many of the blogs I love. They are really helpful if you are reading a blog you enjoy, just to see what they like to read, or what inspires them, etc. I really love it.

    • Kirstin Marie, hear hear! I’m with you one hundred percent! I think in fashion, this is especially true since you’re able to see what trends and styles others are using. Thanks for your input! :)

    • Ariana, I love it that you’re using this discussion to learn more about blogrolls! I feel that if this is the case, then mission accomplished! I feel like topics like these serve to inspire conversation and they allow us to learn from the feedback of others. I’m so happy this is the case with you! Thank you always for contributing to the discussion! :)

  26. Hi Bella,

    I perfectly understand your point about the cliquish nature of Blogrolls and agree lol. I admit to having found many great Blogs through the rolls but just as many from reading the comments on my favorite Blog sites.

    I created my roll for those sites that I think are REALLY stellar. It is not an exhaustive list because who wants to see mega long lists taking up valuable real estate space? I like sharing people’s brilliance and diversity :).

    So, I am honored when I am included on someone’s list and despondent (true talk lol) if I don’t make the cut. I have to remind myself that it’s not a refelction of me and move on. You know, like when you were snubbed by the cool kids in school lol.

    Peace,

    C.

    • Coco, hello and welcome! I think we’ve reached a general consensus that blogrolls are here to stay! And I think it’s a good thing because, like you mention, they serve to help us find really cool blogs. I will say I’m not one to read all the comments in a post, so that’s not a venue for me to find blogs but if I happen to read an interesting comment, I will be tempted to see who made it. You made me giggle with your comment of “like when you were snubbed by the cool kids in school.” Haven’t we all felt like that at least once in our lives? :)

  27. My take: I always looked at blogrolls [by any name!] as a list of likely-to-be-similar blogs, like when you’re shopping online for clothes and a website gives the ‘you may also like . . .’ column on the right.
    And I’m actually a big fan.
    See, when I find a new blog, I tend to devour it. I read archived posts, I scour the ‘about’ page . . . essentially I get all up in their business, and part of that is seeing if I read some of the same things as the author.
    My own blog roll is a snippet of all the blogs I actually follow, because I’m too lazy to list every one and the list would be gigantic, otherwise. I guess I view a roll as more insight into the blog/blogger it/themself and that’s just how I went about creating mine as well.
    The whole popularity/clique thing never occurred to me, but now I feel inadequate and unloved, so thanks for that! :) I kid, dear, I kid.

    • Jayca, I love your take in blogrolls! I actually find the “you may also like…” very helpful as well. Love that you made that comparison as well as your passionate way of discovering a blog. Now that’s what I call engaged! Thanks for your feedback, lady! :)

  28. Pingback: Blogs you have to check out! « One Sister's Rant

  29. That reminds me… I need to make a few changes to my blogroll….

    I occasionally check out blogs from blogrolls. And I admit, I get a bit of a smile when I see my blog on someone’s sidebar. And when my follower count goes up. Im not blogging for profit, but it is nice to see that my thoughts are read.

    • Amy, I think your reaction is the same as mine! I also enjoy seeing my blog on someone’s sidebar. Like you mention, it’s great that someone cares about what you have to say. Thanks for the feedback! :)

  30. I used to check out people on blog rolls all the time – now I just don’t have time. I have the ones I LOVE to read (like yours, thankyouverymuch) sent to my main email. The others are sent to my secondary gmail account and I get to them when I can. I don’t have a blog roll but I have been seriously thinking about it as a way to showcase people who’ve supported me and also have wonderful blogs. I guess after reading this, I need to hop to it!!

    • Nan, thank you for your kind words. I’m honored that you’re a reader! I’ve decided, after reading all the wonderful feedback on that post, that my blogroll stays. Many people said it was a great way to discover other blogs and I agree. I hope to see your blogroll soon! :)

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