This is a guest post by David Lazar.
So you have successfully begun writing for your own blog and you are starting to gain a lot of contacts with fellow bloggers in similar niches – do you create a blogroll on your blog or not? It is a question that does not have a definitive answer. Some people believe that a blogroll is beneficial to any blogger, while others think that it is completely unnecessary.
So what is a blogroll exactly? It is basically a list of links that is usually made as a sidebar on your blog that links to other blogs. What blogs you put on your blogroll is really up to you, as is the decision of whether or not you believe that you actually need one. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of including a blogroll on your site in an effort to help you decide whether or not you want one if you are still undecided on the issue.
One of the main benefits of having a blogroll is that it enables you to easily form good relationships with other blogs. If you are linking to a blog through your blogroll, then that blog is expected to reciprocate and link back to you as well. If you are getting links to your blog from a relevant and valued site in your niche, then this link is good for your Google rank and your reputation in this particular blogging circle. These links that are coming from other sites should also increase traffic to your site as well.
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By linking to other blogs you are letting them know of your existence. It is sometimes a lot easier to get the attention of a good blog in this way instead of sending an email to introduce yourself – which may never be read if the blog is very popular and gets a lot of mail on a regular basis. When you link to a blog from your site, blogging software tells the owners of these sites that you have given them a link, which increases the chance of the owners of that blog checking out yours and even subscribing to it if they like what they see and read.
If they subscribe, then the chances of quality cooperation increase as well. These blogs could find content that they like on your site and link to it or, as mentioned before, they could add you to their own blogroll.
Another great thing about blogrolls is that you can tailor them to reflect your personality. It doesn’t have to be just one big list of blog links, you can divide the links up by categories and in that way, even begin to include links to blogs that you read and enjoy, but have little or nothing in common with your own blog. This allows you to reveal your personality to your readers, which might help them connect with you even more if they notice that they share some other passions with you that have nothing to do with your blog’s niche.
Even though there is a good chance that a blog you have added to your blogroll will link back, it is far from guaranteed. If you are adding tons of blogs to your blogroll and not that many link back to you, it really is not that great for your SEO. One of the biggest problems with having a blogroll is that it can get enormous really quickly. Knowing when to stop and who to include is essential. Also, if you put too many blogs on your blog roll, your readers might no longer view it as a valuable resource, since it’s obvious that you have no policies and that you are giving every blog under the sun a link.
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If you are including too many people, you might not be getting the links back that you are looking for, and if you are being really picky, then you might be offending other bloggers who did not make the cut. So it really is a double-edged sword.
Deciding who to add and why you are adding them might become more of a pain in the neck in the end than an actual benefit, leaving many bloggers to find it much easier to just get rid of the blogroll entirely.
If something is worth the effort, then you are ready to do it, but if an aspect of your site takes more time to maintain than it is worth, it’s time to put an end to it. Most of us start off as freelance and part-time bloggers, so we don’t have all day to fuss about with our blogs. Maintaining your blogroll could be taking valuable time away from doing more important things, namely, creating quality content for your blog and being a writer.
Having a big blogroll will undoubtedly lead to a lot of maintenance work. As we all know, the shelf-life of some blogs are sometimes limited and you could be dealing with a lot of dead links in your blogroll that you will have to delete. Having to click through your blogroll and identify the dead links in order to remove them can be a very painstaking pastime, especially if your blogroll is huge. Ignoring these dead links and letting them rot in your blogroll will make your blog look unprofessional to readers constantly annoyed by clicking on links that don’t work.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. It certainly can’t hurt experimenting with a blogroll to see where it leads. If you run into more benefits than problems, if you have the time to maintain it, and if you can deal effectively with the politics of who to put on your blogroll and who to leave off, then you might be someone who can use a blogroll to his or her advantage. If you run into more hang-ups than advantages, then it might not be for you. Just like all things in blogging and in general, it won’t hurt to try it out and see where it leads. It’s all a part of the learning process and it’s always better to try something out for yourself than to take the word of other bloggers and blindly follow the recommendations of others. Give blogrolls a shot and see for yourself!
About the author
David Lazar is a regular blogger at PDF Converter blog. With a background in journalism, he specializes in writing blogs on a variety of topics, including freelancing, careers, finances, technology and new media.