Do blog rolls serve any purpose?

Many blogs have a list of the blog author’s or authors’ favorite blogs. This is considered almost required courtesy, a form of mutual appreciation and acknowledgement, by which blogs help promote each other. But do blog rolls really accomplish anything, other than the expressive purpose of displaying the blog author’s own preferences? Do readers discover blogs as a result of linking to previously unread blogs from a blog roll? Every time I can remember that a reader has said that he or she found VFR by linking to it from another site, the link was in an actual reference to VFR in an article at that other site, not a link in a blog list. Similarly, other bloggers have occasionally told me of experiencing a boost in readership when I linked to their site, but that link was from an entry mentioning and recommending that site, not from a mere standing list … though, of course, since I’ve never had such a list, I have no basis for comparison.

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Terry M. writes:

The only usefulness I’ve found so far for blogrolls is that one can navigate from blog to blog more easily that way. For instance, I can utilize Savage’s blogroll to get to VFR, or to Vanishing American’s, or to 4W, or whichever blog I want to go to next from his blog.

That said, I’m very new to this blogging thing, but I’ve been able to analyze the little bit of traffic I’ve gotten so far in this way. The only traffic I seem to be getting from blogrolls is the blogger himself/herself. This would tend to confirm what you’re saying. Blogrolls are not that valuable in driving a significant amount of traffic your way. But they simplify the process of “blog-hopping,” if that’s the way to put it.

I’m interested in what more experienced bloggers have to say on the subject.

Ben W. writes:

I have set up a website and forum for a friend who has a unique religious message. Since there are others that share in part his message, I asked him whether he wanted any links to their websites on his pages.

He said, “No.”—The problem being that they all diluted the message one way or another. He would stand on his own. Of course, the other websites and blogs noticed this “standoffishness” (they all interlink with one another) and thought him arrogant.

This has cost him readership, but his evaluation of this situation is, “What type of readers do I want?” Or as he told me, “God will bring those that he wants here and will remove those he doesn’t want (addition and subtraction).”

Steven Warshawsky writes:

There also is a practical reason for having “blog rolls” on one’s own blog. The more links are included in one’s website (and the more one’s website is linked to by others), the more likely it will fall higher up the ladder on web searches. For newer or less popular blogs, it is a common piece of advice to include lots of links to other websites as a way to boost search engine results.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 25, 2007 09:45 AM | Send

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