This is a question we’ve heard before. Is the blogroll dead? Perhaps a better way to phrase the question is to ask whether or not your blogroll is an effective use of the valuable real estate on your blog. In other words, is your blogroll bringing in an adequate return on your investment (in this case, the investment is your time and the space allocated to it)?
Let’s face it, if your goals for your blog include monetization and growth, then every pixel of space on your blog should be filled with something that adds value either to your user experience or to your overall business plan for your blog. Think of it this way – if you had an ad on your blog that wasn’t bringing in revenue, you’d probably replace it. Shouldn’t the same theory apply to your blogroll? If your blogroll isn’t helping you reach the overall objectives for your blog, should you replace it?
Take some time to evaluate your blogroll. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How many people actually click on the links in my blogroll? Check your stats. If no one is clicking on those links, then they’re may not be the most effective use of that space.
- Are you getting more incoming links from contextual linking or blogroll links? Check your stats. This will show you how helpful links are in driving traffic to your blog versus your presence on blogrolls. Chances are, other bloggers are seeing the same results from their presence on your blogroll. It gives you an idea of how important it is for you to spend time trying to get on blogrolls versus getting other bloggers to link to your content from their posts.
- How often do you look at blogrolls and click on the links in them on other blogs? What percentage of links do you follow within posts versus through blogrolls during your daily blogging activities? A significant imbalance can help you understand the degree of focus you should put toward blogrolls in your overall blog marketing plan.
- How up-to-date is your blogroll? When was the last time you checked the links on your blogroll to make sure they’re still working? Is your blogroll cluttered with blogs that are not relevant to your blog but that you linked to out of reciprocal linking courtesy? Does your blogroll add value or does it simply clutter your blog? If it’s not ading value to your blog now, can you change it so it does enhance the user experience?
So is saying blogrolls are dead too strong? Probably. Blogrolls still provide incoming links, and everyone wants more links, particulary from popular sites. Interestingly, I’m seeing more and more blogs everyday that have eliminated their blogrolls completely or replaced them with a single, separate page of recommended reading and links. Could this be the new trend?
I’m sure blogrolls will stick around for awhile, but do take some time to review the role of your blogroll and its usefulness to your blog in terms of meeting your short and long term objectives. You just might be able to use that space more effectively.