What Is a Blogroll?

How you can use blogrolls to boost traffic to your blog

The Journalist's Blogroll

martinstabe / Flikr / CC BY 2.0

If you're new to the world of blogging, you might hear the term "blogroll" at some point and wonder what it is. A blogroll is a list of links the writer likes and wants to share. They're typically found in the sidebar for easy access. We explain how it's used, the proper etiquette involved, how it can help boost your site's traffic, and more.

How Blogrolls Are Used

A blogger might use a blogroll to help promote their friend's blogs or to give their readers a wider variety of resources about a particular niche. The blogroll can be set up based on each blogger's personal preferences, and it can be updated at any time.

Some divide blogrolls into categories. For example, a blogger who writes about cars could divide his or her blogroll up into sections with links to other blogs he or she writes, other blogs about cars, and other blogs on an unrelated topic.

Check out Lifewire's guide to other popular items for your blog's sidebar.

Blogroll Etiquette

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

Sometimes, you may not like a blog that links to you. 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 site that links to you to determine if you want to add them to your own blogroll or not.

Another appropriate move is to contact the person 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, even if you don't particularly like the blogroll owner or their content.

Contacting someone to ask permission to add their blog to your blogroll is probably unnecessary. Since that person 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 it.

Also, asking someone to add your website to their blogroll is not good etiquette, even if you already added their site to your own blogroll. If they want to add your website to their blogroll on their own accord, that's great, but don't put them in the strange position of having to turn you down directly.

Blogrolls as Traffic Boosters

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

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

If you're the one with the blogroll, it's wise to update the links occasionally. We don't mean remove your favorites and replace them with new links even if you don't like those sites, but at the very least add new links sometimes or rearrange the order to keep things fresh. If your visitors know 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 it's just a list of links to websites. You can easily make one no matter what blogging platform you use.

If you're using a Blogger account, you can do this in a number of ways. Just add a Link List, Blog List, or HTML/JavaScript widget to your blog containing 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.