To Blogroll or Not to Blogroll

I have been thinking about removing my blogroll in a new design. My blogroll needs updating but instead of reconsidering the blogs in my blogroll I have been thinking about removing it altogether. Not only is it outdated, the blogs I want to link to are subject to change and I rather link to blogs through blog posts than through my blogroll.

Currently I mainly link to friends from university and some other people writing about new media. My blogroll is pretty coherent as it reflects the focus of my blog but what about the other people I want to link to?

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It’s Blogroll Cleaning Time

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?

PC Magazine Lists 100 Favorite Blogs

PC Magazine has recently published the top 100 picks among their staff’s favorite blogs, as well as 5 favorite podcasts. The editors admit that being mostly tech-oriented people, many of the selections were technology- and gadget-oriented. Still, gossip blogs are also popular. PC Mag says they’re quite well-rounded when it comes to their selection of favorite blogs. And the editors remind us that the selection is subjective, being the personal choices of the PC Mag staff, and not necessarily reflecting top or popular blogs based on more objective bases.

Among the list are familiar names and sites, mostly (but not all) A-listers and blogs that are at the top of their respective niches. Of course, we’re a bit disappointed that the Blog Herald wasn’t included in the PC Mag’s list. Maybe next time? (Hint! Hint!)

Rambix hangs it up

One of my favorite Minneapolis blogs, Rambix and the Red Star, is hanging it up and retiring.

Rambix focuses on issues of crime and justice in Minneapolis.

Rambix was profiled at the Blog Herald back in April 2006:

This blog attacks the criminal justice coverage of the Star-Tribune head on with insight from police, prosecutors, eyewitnesses, and others in the Minneapolis area. This site has grown quite a reputation for challenging the crime prevention policies of the current mayor of Minneapolis.

In addition, we featured Rambix in our How I Blog series and as an interview earlier this year.

He will be missed.

Blogrolled: Neptunus Lex

Our new series Blogrolled continues with Neptunux Lex.

“Lex” is a Navy Captain living near San Diego, California and working at one of the naval stations there. He’s a Naval Aviator who is no longer actively flying the F/A-18 but still writes about his glory days as a young aviator.

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Blogrolled: The Imus Show Blog

Our new series Blogrolled continues with The Imus Show Blog.

One of my favorite radio shows has always been the Don Imus show.

When I was living in Boston, this was the only morning show worth listening to. I wasn’t much for listening to a morning comedy show, I was far more interested in hearing some hard news along with some good conversation – and that’s what I always got from Don Imus.

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Blogrolled: Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey

Our new series Blogrolled continues with Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey.

I first started reading Jacqueline’s blog when she was active in the Libertarian party and discussing moving to Costa Rica. At the time, I had a friend who was working out of Costa Rica for a winter and was trying to learn more about the culture and government there.

Jacqueline is a libertarian who has spent much time traveling the world. She’s famous for having posted to find a traveling companion and boyfriend last year.

She’s now posted about dating tips and the qualities she is seeking in a man – even though she’s not currently looking for a new boyfriend.

Her writings are thought provoking, humorous, and entertaining. Though if you’re easily offended or are afraid of strong women, don’t visit her…

Visit Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey.

Welcome to The Blog Herald blogroll!


Our new series Blogrolled continues with

I first noticed Jessica’s blog when she began commenting here not very long ago. I tend to go off and visit commenter’s blogs to see if they’re worth subscribing to – and hers certainly was… later on she posted an entry in our ‘How I Blog’ series.

Her blog is subtitled Emotion Creator which is meaningful in so many levels. Personal, spiritual, and so on…

She’s also an incredible artist in an art genre that I love (Abstract, contemporary…).


Welcome to the Blog Herald Blogroll!

Blogrolled: The Blog Columnist

Our new series Blogrolled continues with The Blog Columnist.

Martin was one of the first bloggers I was reading in the blog network world. In fact, it was from him that about a year ago, we purchased Blog Network Watch.

Martin, based in Australia, has an insightful wit, great sources, and a keen eye for what’s happening in the blogosphere. He even likes our recent podcast!

The Blog Columnist is his latest blog focused on general blogosphere commentary a few days a week.

Visit The Blog Columnist.

Welcome to The Blog Herald blogroll!

Blogrolled: Random Shapes

Our new series Blogrolled continues with Random Shapes.

Once, I was a teenager.

Actually, it wasn’t that long ago, though at times it sure seems like it. I did alot of writing – back then it was .plan files on a VAX Mainframe or a Unix machine at my high school – later the same in college. There weren’t anything quite like blogs back then.

Random Shapes is a blog network that features the best in teen blogs on the web in an attempt to encourage good blogging amongst teens. The blog network was the brainchild of Matt Bob Jones, a teenager who is one hell of a technologist.

Visit Random Shapes.

Welcome to the Blog Herald Blogroll!