What is a Blogroll?
A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs or websites on your website that you find interesting or want to promote.
It is typically located on the sidebar of a blog and can be a way for readers to discover new content related to your website niche or interests.
While blogrolls were more common in the early days of blogging, they are still used today by some bloggers as a way to connect with others in their community and promote their favourite content.
How are blogrolls important?
Blogrolls can be important in a few different ways:
Blogrolls can help readers discover new content related to the blogger's niche or interests.
If a blogger includes links to other blogs or websites that are similar to their own, readers may be more likely to explore those links and find new sources of information or entertainment.
By including links to other bloggers or websites, a blogger can help to build relationships with other content creators.
This can lead to opportunities for collaboration or cross-promotion, which can be beneficial for both parties.
Blogrolls can also be a way for bloggers to promote their own content or the content of others.
By including links to their own blog or to posts that they particularly want to highlight, bloggers can draw attention to their work and potentially increase their traffic.
Types of blogrolls
There are two main types of blogrolls:
A static blogroll is a list of links that remains the same over time. It is usually displayed on a blog's sidebar and consists of a set number of links that are manually added by the blogger.
The links in a static blogroll do not change unless the blogger decides to update or remove them.
While static blogrolls are less common than they once were, some bloggers still prefer to use them as a way to showcase their favourite blogs or websites.
A dynamic blogroll is a list of links that automatically updates based on certain criteria, such as the blogger's most recent comments or posts.
This type of blogroll is often powered by a plugin or widget that allows the blogger to customize how the links are displayed.
Dynamic blogrolls can be useful for promoting engagement and building community among readers, as they highlight the most active or popular members of the blogger's audience.
How do blogrolls work?
Blogrolls work by displaying a list of links on a blog or website. They can be located on the sidebar, footer, or a separate page of the blog.
Typically, blogrolls consist of links to other blogs or websites that the blogger wants to promote or that they find interesting.
The links in a blogroll can be added manually by the blogger or automatically generated by a plugin or widget.
Some blogrolls may include descriptions of each link or a thumbnail image, while others may simply display the name of the blog or website.
Blogrolls can be useful for both bloggers and readers. They can help bloggers to connect with other content creators in their niche, promote their own work, or build relationships within their community.
For readers, blogrolls can be a way to discover new content and find other blogs or websites that share their interests.
The criteria for inclusion in the blogroll
Here are some common criteria that bloggers may use:
Bloggers may include links to other blogs or websites that are relevant to their niche or interests. For example, a food blogger may include links to other food bloggers or recipe websites.
Bloggers may only include links to blogs or websites that they believe are high-quality and offer valuable content.
This can help to maintain the blogger's reputation and ensure that their readers are receiving accurate and helpful information.
Bloggers may include links to other blogs or websites whose authors are active in the blogging community and engage with their readers through comments or social media.
Bloggers may include links to blogs or websites that they have a personal or professional relationship with, such as friends or collaborators.
Some bloggers may include links to other blogs or websites as part of a reciprocal agreement, where each blogger agrees to promote the other's content.
Creating a blogroll
If you want to create a blogroll and you have access to edit the HTML code on your website, you can simply add the links manually.
To do this, follow these steps:
Open your website or blog in a text editor or HTML editor.
Look for the section where you want to add the blogroll, such as a sidebar or footer.
Create an unordered list using the HTML <ul> and </ul> tags.
Add list items (<li>) for each blog you want to include in your blogroll and insert a link to their website using the <a> tag.
Save your changes and check your website to ensure the blogroll is displaying correctly.
By adding the links manually through HTML, you have complete control over the appearance and layout of your blogroll.
However, this method can be more time-consuming than using a built-in feature or widget and requires some knowledge of HTML coding.
Adding a blogroll to your WordPress site using a plugin - like Better Blogroll or Advanced Blogroll - is quite straightforward.
Here is how you can do this:
Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Go to "Plugins" > "Add New".
In the search box, type the plugin name and hit Enter.
Choose the one that suits your needs, for pulling in external blog feeds.
Click "Install Now" next to the plugin you choose.
Once installed, click "Activate".
Now, you will need to configure the plugin according to your needs. Usually, you can find the settings for the plugin under the "Settings" tab on your WordPress dashboard.
In the settings, you can adjust how the blogroll behaves, what blogs to include, how many links to show, whether to show a blog's logo or favicon and more. Each option is well-explained, so read carefully and adjust the settings as you see fit.
Once you are done configuring the plugin, you will have a fully functional blogroll on your WordPress site.
When it comes to blogroll practices, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. These include:
Only include links to blogs and websites that you genuinely enjoy and find valuable. Don't include links simply because you want to receive a link back or because you feel obligated to do so.
Keep your blogroll up-to-date by regularly reviewing and adding new links. Remove links to blogs that are no longer active or that no longer align with your interests or values.
If you include a link to someone's blog in your blogroll, it's a good idea to notify them via email or social media. This can help to build relationships and encourage reciprocation.
Respect other bloggers
Don't include links to blogs that engage in spamming or unethical practices. Similarly, don't expect other bloggers to include a link to your blog simply because you have linked to theirs.
Consider organizing your blogroll into categories to make it easier for readers to navigate and find relevant content.
Pingback and trackback for the blogroll
Pingback and trackback are two related features that can be used in conjunction with blogrolls to help bloggers keep track of who is linking to their site.
Pingbacks and trackbacks notify a blogger when another blogger links to their post. Pingbacks appear as a comment with a link, while trackbacks appear as standalone links.
Both are useful for tracking who is linking to your content and discovering new blogs.
When it comes to blogrolls, both can be useful for bloggers who want to know when someone has added them to their blogroll.
By receiving a pingback or trackback notification, bloggers can follow the link back to the original site and potentially build a relationship with the blogger who added them to their blogroll.
Better Blogroll and Advanced Blogroll to offer advanced functionality
Better Blogroll and Advanced Blogrolls are two widgets for WordPress that offer advanced functionality for blogrolls.
This widget allows bloggers to create and display blogrolls in a more customizable way, with options to add descriptions, images, and other metadata to each link.
This widget is focused on improving the performance and SEO of blogrolls. It allows bloggers to create multiple blogrolls with different settings, such as nofollow attributes or link target options.
Some of the advanced features that may be available in an advanced blogroll widget include:
You can choose to display only certain links based on criteria such as category, date, or tag.
You can customize how the links are displayed, such as using images, logos, or descriptions.
You can choose how the links are organized and displayed, such as in a grid or list format.
You can customize the colour, font, and other styling elements of the widget to match your website's design.
Blogrolls are a useful tool for bloggers and website owners to showcase their favourite blogs and websites and connect with their audience.
By including relevant and high-quality links in their blogrolls, bloggers can increase traffic to their own sites and help their readers discover new content.