What Is a Blogroll?

How Bloggers Use Blogrolls to Boost Traffic to Their Blogs

The Journalist's Blogroll
martinstabe/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

A blogroll is a list of links on a blog, usually on the sidebar for easy access, that the blog writer likes and wants to share.

A blogger might have a blogroll to help promote their friend's blogs or to give their readers a wider variety of resources about a particular niche. 

Some bloggers divide their blogrolls into categories. For example, a blogger who writes about cars could divide his blogroll up into categories for links to other blogs he writes, other blogs about cars, and other blogs that are in an unrelated topic.

The blogroll can be set up based on each blogger's personal preferences, and it can be updated at any time.

Blogroll Etiquette

It's an unwritten rule in the blogosphere that if a blogger puts a link to your blog in their blogroll, you should reciprocate and add that blog's link to your own blogroll. Of course, each blogger approaches this with their own blogging goals in mind.

Sometimes, you may not like a blog that links to you through its blogroll. There are many reasons why you may decide not to reciprocate a blogroll link, but it's good blogging etiquette to at least review each blog that links to you through its blogroll to determine if you'd like to add that blog to your own blogroll or not.

Another appropriate move is to contact the blogger that listed your link and thank them for adding you to their blogroll. This should be done especially if their mention is driving significant traffic to your website, but even if you don't particularly like the blogroll owner or their content.

However, contacting someone to ask permission to add their blog to your blogroll is probably unnecessary. Since that blogger has a public website that's available on the internet for anyone to see, they surely won't mind if you add another link to their site.

Also, asking a blogger to add your own website to their blogroll is not good etiquette, even if you've already added their blog to your own blogroll.

If that blogger wants to add your website to their blogroll on their own accord, then that's great, but don't put them in the strange position of having to turn you down directly.

Blogrolls as Blog Traffic Boosters

Blogrolls are great traffic driving tools. With each blogroll that your blog is listed on, comes the possibility that readers of that blog will click on your link and visit your blog.

Blogrolls equate to publicity and exposure across the blogosphere. Additionally, blogs with many incoming links (particularly those from high-quality blogs as rated by Google pagerank or Technorati authority) are usually ranked higher by search engines, which can bring additional traffic to your blog.

If you're the one with the blogroll, it'd be wise to update the links occasionally. I don't mean remove your favorites and replace them with new links even if you don't like those sites, but instead to at the very least add new links sometimes or rearrange the order of the links to keep things fresh. 

If your visitors know that your blogroll is updated every so often, like the same day once a month, they'll likely visit your page on a routine basis to see which new blogs you recommend.

Creating a Blogroll

The word "blogroll" sounds complicated but as you have understood so far, it's just a list of links to websites.

You can easily make one no matter what blogging platform you use.

For instance, if you're using a Blogger account, you can do this a number of ways. Just add a Link List, Blog List, or HTML/JavaScript widget to your blog that contains the links to the blogs you want to advertise.

If you have a WordPress.com blog, use the Links menu in your dashboard.

For any blog, you can edit the HTML to link to any blog. See how to use HTML links if you need help.