For some reason the other day, I started thinking about blog rolls. And how ineffective they seem to be.
When I first started blogging, I did check out blog rolls, but I honestly don’t remember the last time I clicked on someone’s blog roll or scrolled down their list of recommended blogs. In fact, as I thought about blog rolls (probably in the shower, where the most random thoughts pop in my head) I couldn’t remember if I even moved my blog roll over when I switched from Blogger to my own domain back in September.
In case you were wondering, yes, I do have a blog roll. But it’s pretty pathetic and definitely not full of all the blogs I read. In fact, it hasn’t been updated since September. And since September? I’ve added A TON of new and fabulous book, writing and publishing blogs to my Google Reader. The thing about blog rolls is that mine is ever-changing. I add new blogs to my Google Reader daily, so keeping my blog roll up to date is almost impossible. Additionally, I read over 300 blogs with a variety of different topics; what good is providing a list of more than 100 links with no context.
When I first started blogging, I thought a blog roll was a nice way to show the blogs I featured that I admired their writing and the content their blog provided. However, how many of those blogs actually know they are on my blog roll? Probably not many. Just as I’m not aware of the blog rolls I’m featured on.
This got me thinking about other meaningful ways to show a blog you appreciate their content, as well as share with your readers how awesome you think their blog is. I came up with two pretty simple solutions:
1. Comment on these blogs regularly. Want to show the blogger you love their content? Leave meaningful comments and get involved in the conversation. This way, you start to build an actual relationship with the blogger, rather than just slapping a link on your blog that they may or may not ever see.
2. Link to them on your blog. Blogs like YA Highway, Super Librarian, Nathan Bransford and more do a round up each week of links around the blogosphere they found especially interesting or useful. Even if you don’t do a complete roundup, you can still mention different bloggers in your posts, when relevant. For example, if one of my book blogger friends selects a great book for a Waiting on Wednesday post that I choose to use the next week, I make a point to reference them and say something like, “I saw this book on _____’s blog last week and just HAD to feature it too.” Easy peasy and guarantees that anyone who reads that specific post, will at least see that you reference a link, and might choose to check it out themselves.
Additionally, according to my Google Analytics, in the past month, my links page has only been viewed 16 times. Yikes! Seems like a waste of one those nice fancy tabs you see up there if it’s only been clicked on 16 times in 31 days. I could be using that space for something more interesting/more useful to my readers. I’ll definitely be changing that sometime soon, perhaps even this weekend during Bloggiesta!
So, what do you think? Yay or Nay to blog rolls?