Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t Either

have a blogrollAt a time, blogrolls were all over the place.

You were more likely to find it on a website than you would find the now popular ‘popular posts’ widget.

These days, you may visit more than twenty sites before you stumble on a site that still maintains one.

Is it still necessary to maintain a blogroll?

Before I answer that question, what is a blogroll?

Ultimately the word ‘blogroll’ is just a different term used to describe a list of links to blogs of interest usually placed on the sidebar of a blog. Bloggers added them to their sidebar as a way of staying connected to blogs of interest and also as a show-off to their audience, to show just how widely read they were.

3 Reasons Why You Are Better Off Without a Blogroll

1. Blogrolls are so Web 1.0

It is my opinion that blogrolls are as antiquated as link pages.

Do you remember them, those pages created specifically as a place to link out from your blog?

About six years ago, blogrolls were not just popular – they were in fact an expected feature in any blog. Not having a blogroll on a blog would have been as scandalous as not adding social sharing buttons on a blog today.

But that was six years ago.

Instead of blogrolls, a better way of introducing relevant blogs to your audience is by adding links directly in your post – in context. This is especially true when you consider that blogroll links soon get invisible and frequent readers of your blog may become immune to them.

If you want to do your favorite blogs a favor, do them a real favor. Since both Google and your readers tend to ignore blogrolls, what is the point?

What if you use your blogroll to keep tab on blogs you read?

RSS feeds, email feeds, Twitter Facebook and G+ and more recently, Triberr has made that reasoning quite redundant. They do a better job of connecting you to the blogs you love, since the push content from those mediums to you daily.

2. They are not Politically Correct

When you have a small blog only a handful of persons read, adding a blogroll is usually an easy task.

However, as your blog grows, it may no longer be easy deciding who to add to your list and who not to add.

Darren Rowse admits he had to give up his blogroll for this very reason. With the increasing popularity of his blog, more and more persons became frequent commenters and close friends and expected that their contributions to the blog ought to have earned them an inclusion in the blogroll.

Chris Garrett shares the same viewpoint. He is quite precise on the danger of playing favorites in your sidebar.

There is also the problem of reciprocity. When bloggers add you to their blogrolls and notice that you have refused to add them to yours, they may conclude that you are just a snub.

If you are scared of offending your readers and add all those who send requests to your blogroll, you end up with a large list that lacks any exclusivity and real value.

On the other hand, if you decline some of your readers, what do you tell them is the reason for their non-inclusion into your list? You can’t tell them they did not make the cut because they have “crappy blogs” you do not care to recommend. It is much easier to say, I don’t have a blogroll.

3. You have to maintain a Blogroll

Blogrolls are supposed to be a list of blogs you read, so it is embarrassing to have dead links in that list.

That would mean you have a real credibility issue. You cannot possibly read a dead blog now, can you?

Of course, there is also the issue of accountability to your audience. You have to be sure that whatever you link to remains appropriate to your readers, and may not be offensive.

If a blog shuts down, you are supposed to know it and cleanup your blogroll; if a blog redirects to a new domain, you are supposed to confirm the new destination still fits the profile of your site.

Nightmare Scenario: Imagine for a moment that a blog you used to love shuts down and someone else snaps up the domain. Imagine that someone hosting a porn site at the once respectable domain.

Since the blogs in your blogroll are supposed to be blogs you read, you have a higher responsibility for the content more than you would for a blog you just link to from a post.

I’d love to hear what you think about blogrolls. Was I too harsh on them? Do you have one on your blog?

About Yeremi Akpan

Yeremi Akpan is the founder of Pro Blogger Tips. Connect with him on Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook. You can also hire him to provide content marketing services for your business.

Comments

  1. I don’t think you’re being too hard on blogrolls at all Yeremi. I’ve never quite understood taking up that much real estate on your site with a list of other blogs. As you’ve pointed out, it’s one more thing that you need to monitor.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Use Google Webmaster Tools Bing or Both?My Profile

  2. Shalu Sharma says:

    I think that having a blog roll is like having a hole in your cup. There is no point bleeding links out from your blog. But you have good points, never thought it that way.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..The Qutub MinarMy Profile

  3. Barkha Atwal says:

    Interesting blog :D I’m so glad I wandered here through my friend’s
    blog onna need to put this one on the blogroll…
    Barkha Atwal recently posted..Barkha AtwalMy Profile

  4. Hi, yeah this article is genuinely pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.
    thanks.
    Tonjae Ethridge recently posted..(EP2310098) HOCKEY STICKMy Profile

  5. khaja moin says:

    Hi Yeremi,

    Agree with you, many sites are going for blogroll links which is spam!
    khaja moin recently posted..Creative and Funny 404 Error PagesMy Profile

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Hey Khaja, This is quite true.

      Lots of bloggers are going after blogroll links for SEO purposes. The danger in that is that blogroll links are sitewide and can really confuse your backlink count.

      It may show up that you have thousands of backlinks when in reality Google weights those links as just one despite the fact that they appear on all pages in the site.

      If the links are not nofollow, it may even have a negative impact on your rankings…
      Yeremi Akpan recently posted..Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t EitherMy Profile

  6. Lisa says:

    I’ve been thinking of getting rid of mine but I do have a page of Wow Websites. Re-thinking that one too after reading this one. It is a time consuming thing to manage as you pointed out. Great point about nofollow too. What do you think of top commentors or last comments – I see you don’t have those either. Thanks!
    Lisa recently posted..Triberr Can Really Rock Your Blog!My Profile

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Hi Lisa, Welcome to my blog! :)

      True, a links page is as ‘old-school’ as a blogroll. If you really must link to your favorites sites, I think doing it from within your blog posts make the most impact.

      It makes more sense to link to a specific content relevant to your reader than to link to a whole site – your readers will thank you for that.

      Yes, I use Top Commentators plugin. You may not have noticed it because it is displayed only on my homepage as opposed to some bloggers who choose to make it sitewide.

      As a result of limiting the links to my home page, the SEO value of the links are much higher, and I am free from Google’s potential slap.

      Using Top commentators plugin is also politically correct :) . No one can get mad at you for not adding them to the list. “You want to see your face there? Leave more comments!”
      Yeremi Akpan recently posted..Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t EitherMy Profile

  7. Chadrack says:

    Hmm, blogrolls? I’ve never really thought of taking it up on my blogs. In fact, I never really knew it was for the blogs you read. For me they were simply link exchanges and since I wasn’t really interested in that form of link exchange, I’ve simply ignored them.

    Just as you said if I find a post or blog useful I link to that blog in a post instead of putting up some links on my sidebar. On some of my niche sites I use the blogroll to link to affiliate products as “related resources.”

    Any way your reasons are plausible. I think bloggers should find better use for such a valuable space.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Chadrack recently posted..Social Media Marketing – Is Being Self-Taught Really A Problem?My Profile

  8. Devesh says:

    Interesting post, Yeremi. I don’t have a blogroll and I’m never going add one on any of my sites. There is no real value in having blogroll, it doesn’t really add any value to the blog.

    Excellent article, bud. Keep up the good work.
    Devesh recently posted..42 Dazzling Tips To Rock You Business with Blogging & Social MediaMy Profile

  9. Hey Yeremi,

    I like your idea of giving to our favorite blogs the real favor by adding their links in out blog posts instead of using blogroll.

    I have never used blogroll on any of my blog because as Devesh said, It adds no value to our blog.

    Thanks,

    Ehsan U.
    Ehsan @ GuideAndNews recently posted..How To Set Up a WordPress Blog After InstallMy Profile

  10. Good advice, Yeremi. I agree that we are spending enough time on the blog itself and I know I do not need one more thing to maintain! My time needs to be spent doing art….but, at the same time, I want to share the process with everyone. I do try to incorporate links into my blog where appropriate. Glad I’m doing the correct thing there! :)
    Mary Marriner recently posted..Painting the HawkMy Profile

  11. Adrienne says:

    Hey Yeremi,

    I never set one up myself, too time consuming and like you shared here, I didn’t want to keep up with it myself.

    I just have a top commenters plug-in so that’s how I show the love over at my place. Other than that, I don’t think you need much more.

    Great points you’ve made here though so thanks for sharing these with us.

    You enjoy your week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Why You Need Google AuthorshipMy Profile

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Hey Adrienne,
      Nice of you to stop by.
      Like I said, the top commentators plugin is a fitting replacement. It takes the maintenance trouble off your shoulders.

      It would have been lovely if you set the plugin to show comment count.

      That way your readers know what they are up against and can target leaving sufficicent comments to see their smiling faces in your sidebar.

      What do you think?
      Yeremi Akpan recently posted..Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t EitherMy Profile

      • Adrienne says:

        I totally agree with you too Yeremi because it’s one of my favorites.

        I personally don’t like the count because I think that makes people want to do a competition sometimes and I don’t believe that’s what blog commenting should be about, do you! That’s just my opinion but I know a lot of people like that.

        Right now my top 3 commenters were from people how have written guest posts so they replied to all the comments on that post so it’s not that they actually commented that many times on my posts. So you can see why it would be hard for some people.

        Thanks for your response though.
        Adrienne recently posted..Why You Need Google AuthorshipMy Profile

        • Yeremi Akpan says:

          Thanks for the quick reply!

          I can understand why you left the count out, now. With guest post comments, the odds are constantly tilted in favor of your guest posters.

          If only there were a way to exclude comments made by post authors, then the balance would be even. :)

          Your blog is a great one and there is always enough to comment on and people will leave awesome comments on it with or without the plugin.

          That said, you must admit that the very name of that plugin with the word “top” in it is designed to stimulate a little competition :D .
          Yeremi Akpan recently posted..Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t EitherMy Profile

  12. Great info, again, on another awesome post!

  13. Hi Yeremi,

    I think it’s been years since I had a blogroll on my blog :)

    It’s funny how you mentioned them be antiquated – they seem very old fashioned to me as well.

    While blogs are meant for interaction and collaboration, I think I’m with the consensus that in-content links are even better!

    ~Christine
    Christine Brady recently posted..5 Step Strategy for Compelling Email MarketingMy Profile

  14. To add to the points you have given above, Google is also not a big fan of the site-wide links created by the blogroll. They see it as unnatural and that it tries to manipulate the search rankings of websites. I have seen plenty of websites receiving Google webmaster tool warnings for unnatural links and the example they often give are site-wide links pointing back to your home page (usually coming from blogrolls or “sites I like” corners.
    John ManilaTrade recently posted..Starbucks Tumblers And Starbucks Global Icon Series City MugsMy Profile

  15. Sonya says:

    Great post. I’m not a blogger other than writing a few posts but you explained that well. Very interesting. thank you.

  16. Thank you Yeremi for answering a question I have been thinking about for a while. I haven’t got a Blogroll although I thought I needed one (because everyone else seemed to have one!) but I felt a bit uncomfortable about it for exactly the reasons you state here.
    This has been so helpful to my decision making! I’ll stick with linking and no blogroll!
    Thank you for your great advice!
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted..A little ray of sunshine.My Profile

  17. Chris says:

    Hi Yeremi,
    blogrolls are still useful (and helpful in SEO) if are useful for readers and are related to the blog.
    Considering top commentators – it’s something like blogroll and keeping it up to day is very easy – you reset the amount of comments each month ;)
    BR, Chris
    Chris recently posted..How to Stop Spam in Comments – AntiSpam Tips for BloggersMy Profile

  18. Simmeon says:

    Yeremi,

    First question:

    Do people really still use them, I’m shocked.
    Most that do still link to the WordPress defaults.

    I’m not a fan of them. If you want to give someone a shout-out then you could just write a post and your done. Also bear in mind sidebar space is a Premium and can be used for more essential things.
    Simmeon recently posted..3 Simple Tips To Become A Better WriterMy Profile

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Hi Simmeon,
      It is indeed shocking, but if you step out of the internet marketing niche you will find out that a lot of bloggers still have blogrolls in their sidebars.

      Even in the online business space, some blogs still have them. They may have other names for it: ‘Sites we like’, ‘sites we read’, ‘our friends’ and so on, but a blogroll remains a blogroll.

      This post is really intended to convince those left behind that the ship has really left the port… :)
      Yeremi Akpan recently posted..Why I Don’t Have a Blogroll and Why You Shouldn’t EitherMy Profile

  19. Brenda says:

    I have debated this many times in my blogs, thus me adding and removing the blog links widget on my blog. After reading this, I’ll probably remove it again. I find having CommentLuv more effective. Thanks for bringing this to light!

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Hi Brenda,
      Thanks for joining us!

      True, CommentLuv is a great plugin and it is far more effective as a means of giving back than Blogroll.

      I am 100% behind you on that decision! :)

  20. Bhushan says:

    Hi Yeremi,
    Another goody one,
    AS similarly again i will take your side and totally agree with you.
    as i think CommentLuv is very great plugin, and you are seeing in blog i am using this.
    thanks
    bharat
    Bhushan recently posted..College Management SoftwareMy Profile

  21. I don’t use a blogroll necessarily. I have a set of links though, of which they point to other sites I own or am involved with. As far as people expecting to get on my list, well…I’m known for not really caring what people think about me and I stick to my guns. People tend to respect that.
    Brandon@Help the Homeless recently posted..Thu Jul 26 ’12 Announcement from Help me start a non-profit for the homelessMy Profile

  22. Samuel says:

    Yeremi. you are such a genius, i couldn’t believe i will dropping more than 10 comments in just a day:) Well, i will bookmark this for further research and learning. Thanks for the tips
    Samuel recently posted..Top WordPress Plugins To Reach The Top!My Profile

  23. Susan Silver says:

    Totally agree, plus it is bad SEO. It won’t help your friend rank or give them much love from search engines. Much better to write about them in your posts and give them some link juice to with do follow links. Plus, the more you write about them the more encouraged your audience will actually be to visit them. That is how you form relationships and tribes.
    Susan Silver recently posted..A Gratitude List of 127 Awesome People and BlogsMy Profile

  24. Debbie Morella says:

    I’m so glad I came across this post! I don’t have my professional website/blog up yet (still studying/planning), and one of the things I did not want was the blogroll. I just didn’t know why. I also wasn’t sure if it was ‘acceptable’ not to have one. I was planning on linking to blogs in my posts and thought that would be better. (Again, I didn’t know why I thought it would be better) lol Thank you for confirming my suspicions and giving me concrete reasons and ‘permission’ to go without it. :)

  25. Richard says:

    Hi Yeremi, I didn’t realize that you felt so deeply about blogrolls. I have one on my personal blog and after reading this post, I do have second thoughts about keeping it on. I agree that it is time consuming to maintain it so on that note, I will take it down. Thanks for this post by the way, always good to hear what you have to say.

    Richard
    Richard recently posted..How To Survive The Latest Google Penguin UpdateMy Profile

  26. Justin says:

    Hey Yeremi, great article about blogrolls. I indeed think that this is useless and outdated. As less and less value is being put on site-wide / footer links, blogrolls are pretty much the same idea. It would be much more valuable to write a post or have a resource page and describe what the link is actually about (one-way contextual link) then just a bunch of OGL’s one after another.

    Please feel free to visit my blog and comment wherever you like. I just cleaned up all the garbage comments, so there is plenty of space for some good informative replies. Good PR too ;-)
    Justin recently posted..Boca Raton SEOMy Profile

    • Yeremi Akpan says:

      Very true, Justin!
      Blog rolls are just so ancient that I feel wise when I see it on someone’s blog.

      I will surely be stopping by your blog soon. I am sure there will be space for me. :)

  27. Justin says:

    Afternoon Yeremi,

    First, thanks for approving my comment. In this day and age it is very hard to tel if someone is making a comment to help or to just drop a link in anywhere they can. So, thank you again.

    I wanted to tell you about a site / post I know about. I commented on the site and the owner and I have become friends. His post called “”Are WordPress Sidebar Links – Blogroll Links Good for SEO?”" is great. And to top it off, the creator of CommentLuv, Andy Bailey, has contributed to this post, and he is friends with him as well.

    They did a experiment about this topic, please check it out, it is a great post and the stats are very informative. I think you will love it. Without creating anchor text to give you this link, here it is:
    http://
    thinkclickandgrowrich.com/1300/are-wordpress-sidebar-links-blogroll-links-good-for-seo/
    Hope to hear from you soon, and see you around my site!
    Justin recently posted..Local SEOMy Profile

  28. Michelle says:

    I came across your post while Googling this very question.

    Thank you for the information and the comments by other readers.

    I used to have a mile long blogroll. During a cleanup I found a number of them had not been posted on for months. I only have a small blog and now have a handful of ‘blogs of note’ which I keep an eye on.

    Thanks again.
    Michelle recently posted..IS YOUR NETTA DOLL REALLY A METTI DOLL?My Profile

  29. Ela says:

    I myself am debating whether to put up a blogroll. I read quite a lot of blogs and I’m trying to decide which ones to feature on my blog. It’s such a tough problem (what if my blogger friend sees that I didn’t put him on the blogroll?) that I decided to scrap the whole idea.

  30. guzpra says:

    Hi Yeremi, I’m guzpra from Bali. Nice to know you and your useful articles on the blog. Well about the blogroll, I couldn’t agree nor disagree as I’m still using it to hep the SEO of my new websites.
    But the point you got it right is the blog availability, so thats why we must check and clean them regularly :)

    and what do you think about link exchange? :)

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