Blog Roll Insights

I’ve been debating about including a blog roll on my website, so I searched for recent info on blog roll trends and etiquette. A post by Melanie Nelson of Blogging Basics 101 caught my attention. Below is a summary.

Questions to ask yourself before you create your blog roll:

  • What kind of blog roll do you want to create? Will it contain personal favorites or practical resources? It may be helpful to label blog roll subgroups with their own headings.
  • How often will you update your blog roll? I hadn’t previously given much thought to the importance of regularly updating a blog roll. Nelson points out that a static blog roll has little value over time.
  • Who will you include in your blog roll? Will your list be all-inclusive or carefully culled? Not surprisingly, Nelson believes less is more. Personally, my eyes tend to glaze over when I see blog rolls with more than a dozen links.

Mind your manners:

  • Should you contact the blog owners to let them know you’re linking to them? Nelson doesn’t have a strong opinion, but says it’s okay to send a short email as a courtesy. I’d only consider doing so with peer bloggers.
  • Should you ask for a reciprocal link? No, never. Guessing this is common sense to most bloggers.
  • Do you have to link back to someone if they include you on their blog roll? No. This is a slippery slope that could weaken your list and hurt your credibility.

Nelson argues that RSS, Twitter and Facebook have taken over the function of the blog roll in many cases, but that a list of resources can still be useful. Nelson shares her favorite blog links via Tumblr, which I’ve heard of and plan to explore further.

At this point, I’ll likely include a short blog roll on my website – but after reading Nelson’s post I’ll think twice about which links I choose to feature.

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