When was the last time you cleaned out your blogroll? Okay, when was the last time you even looked at your blogroll?
For WordPress bloggers, the blogroll used to come set with examples links to some of the founding developers of WordPress. Now, it comes with a bare minimum of links to the core WordPress information sites. These were included as examples of blogroll links, easily changed to whatever links you wanted to include in your blogroll.
If you understood what a blogroll was.
A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs that you recommend to your readers. The expectation is that your blogroll will link to bloggers that cover topics related to your blog, not just any old blog you happen to like.
This expectation is not just held by your readers and visitors, but also by Google’s PageRank. With recent changes in how their algorithm works, blogrolls now play a role in determining your blog’s ranking. It helps when links in your blogroll has content and keywords match your blog’s content and keywords.
When Was The Last Time You Clicked on a Blogroll?
Unfortunately, too many blogrolls became link exchanges which felt commercial (link to me and I’ll link to you), or hodge podge collections of whatever caught the blogger’s eye when putting together their blogroll. Over the years, the blogroll has lost a lot of its importance, as readers, who like digging through related content more than scrounging, got burned with badly organized and sponsored blogrolls.
As people used these as link lists, blogrolls grew longer and longer, until they were two, three, or more page scrolls down the web page. Such lists were intimidating rather than inviting, and were ignored.
Are you still clicking through on blogroll links? Or have you gotten burned.
Lately, I’ve talked a lot about the difference between the blogger’s perspective of their blogs versus the reality of the reader’s experience and needs, which often don’t line up. Blogroll links may be put there because the blogger thinks they are important, which they should be, but do they still have the importance they once had for the reader?
Are you clicking through blogroll links to investigate blogs the blogger recommends on their blogroll? Or honestly, do you ignore them as clutter?
Bringing Back the Power of the Blogroll
To make your blogroll effective, it must look like it more than just a long, laundry list of anyone and anybody you thought of linking to. It must not look like a link exchange list. It also must not look like a list of links to ads, like those “sponsor links” lists.
Does this resemble a description of your blogroll?
In order to make your blogroll effective, it must look sincere. It must look “chosen”. It must look like recommendations. Your recommendations. Your personal endorsement.
Some bloggers are trading their blogroll links for feeds which list recent post titles or excerpts of their favorite bloggers.
Others are cleaning out their list to only a precious 4-8 they recommend, often with a line that defines the blog’s purpose and intent, and maybe why they recommend them.
I’ve seen a few use Gravatars/avatars or icons next to the blog name to add images to reinforce the importance of the recommended blog visually.
No longer are just names or blog titles enough to recommend a blog. It has to have meaning and intention to get the attention of the reader.
What are you doing to improve the effectiveness and quality of your blogroll?