Blogger Discussion: Is the Blogroll Dead?

Perhaps this has been going on for quite some time and I’m late in my observation, but I’ve started to notice that blogrolls are becoming a thing of the past. Although there are some bloggers who do have blogrolls listed somewhere on their blogs, many do not.

Which has led me to question: What has led to the absence of blogrolls in the current landscape of blogging?

When I first ventured into blogging in 2011, I came in with the mind to be supportive of other bloggers. To this day, I still maintain a blogroll on my personal blog under the title “The Daily Reads.” It’s the way by which I inform my audience of bloggers whose content I enjoy and read on a regular basis. Moreover, this is a way for me to introduce my blogging peers to my readers and help drive traffic to their blogs.

And, to make this as ethical and legit as possible, I only link to the blogs that I read regularly and not solely to the blogs of my friends. In fact, I clearly state that I do not participate in link exchanges — that is, adding a blogger’s link to my blogroll in exchange for reciprocation.

I can’t explain with certainty why the concept of the blogroll is a diminishing one, but taking a cursory glance at the blogosphere suggests that bloggers have become less committed to the idea of having one.

The cynic in me is convinced that bloggers have become so concerned with chasing Internet popularity and money via ad revenue/sponsorships that they have become less intentional about promoting their fellow bloggers.

Then, my more sensible side kicks in and I’m reminded of digital advancements and the fact that sites like Bloglovin’ and special interest networks like Brown Girl Bloggers and Black Girls Who Blog exist now, which have presented alternative ways for bloggers and non-bloggers to discover other blogs.

I don’t know, maybe this is all in my head and I’m merely longing for the time wherein bloggers appeared to be more willing to promote and support other bloggers. I can’t really call it.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the concept of the blogroll is dead?

Do you have a blogroll on your blog?

Do you see any value in having a blogroll in this age of blogging?

Brown Girl Bloggers, let’s discuss this in the comments section!

Author: Drea Hall

Drea is a Chicago-based freelance writer and lifestyle blogger at The Drea Daily. She’s obsessed with coffee, books and blogs, handbags, and lipstick. When she’s not blogging, you can likely catch her tweeting about something on Twitter @DreaEHall.

  • I am an old school blogger so a blog roll/daily read list IS the norm (for me) and I was just thinking about how I have to add it to my blog again. I did notice that a lot of blogs no longer do it and that the guest posts/round-ups are what’s hip now. I know some bloggers are afraid that their readers will leave them and go to another site. For me, if I love a blogger and they really inspire me I want to know who inspires THEM. They will never lose me if I enjoy their work.

  • I think because many bloggers don’t want their readers to leave their blog to check out other people’s blogs. Plus, nowadays blogger features/guest posts and such are more popular forms of support.

  • I have a blog roll in the sense that I read specific blog on my readers, but I never list them on the blog. Back in 2009 when I had a personal blog I remember this was sort of the “norm”. Then I took a break and resumed blogging in 2012 and noticed not many listed blog rolls existed anymore. Not sure why but they just seemed gone.

  • Thanks for such a thoughtful response, Jen! I definitely agree with your point about minimalism becoming a ‘thing’ in recent years.

  • Jen

    On one of my blogs I have a blogroll, but you can only access it through a separate page and really I debate at having it because some of my affiliates don’t even have me linked to their own blogs anymore so why am I being the polite one? lol I think you make some solid points about the ‘vanishing blogroll’, esp. with sites like Bloglovin’ taking over, but as someone whose been blogging for about six years, the blogroll was done away with when new ‘fancier’ blog designs came along and you couldn’t have a “cluttered” blog because it was deemed unprofessional. First thing to go was the blogroll as it was a ‘distraction’ away from your blog posts. I’ve even seen some blog experts tell people to even do away with their social media icons for similar reasons. Minimalism became the big thing, which is great n’ all, but to me it took away some of the ‘family’ atmosphere blogs had in the beginning.

    Social media also became more prevalent making blog rolls a bit obsolete, because I remember when I started my first blog (this was before Tumblr and Twitter hit it big!) you had to send out e-mails to get “affiliates”. It was simple networking that oddly doesn’t happen anymore because people barely read their e-mails now, they are checking their social media feeds and connecting there. Other people may feel different but that’s just my take.

    I don’t think blogrolls are bad things to have and I’ll keep having mine as I think it’s just good web manners to give props to other bloggers. I feel similar that they are great discovery tools as I kind of like seeing what other blogs bloggers are reading/who their connected with, and you never know what you’ll find!

  • Hahaha it’s up now! :D

  • Yep, that also happens to my favorite way of supporting other bloggers: giving them direct traffic to their blog. I also like to comment if a post resonates with me.

  • Ahhh, got it. That’s really helpful to know! Thank you for breaking it down.

  • By sharing other websites you are increasing outbound links from your site. When someone checks the traffic on their analyics ,your page will be listed as a source where people can find their link. Google loves this! Also use Google+ for Authorship and networks. Best regards Drea hope to connect soon.

  • Hmm, I’ve never thought about having a blogroll for SEO purposes. How exactly does that work?

  • Absolutely, The Black Queen! It’s all about trial and error and figuring out what works best for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  • I have encountered the same issue as far as inviting others to blog on my site. I also have a lifestyle blog that is consumed with my personal thoughts and opinions, which is just fine with me!
    However I do see the value of featuring bloggers which I find is best done on social media so that your audience has a direct link to their brand.
    Hope you two ladies get the change to visit soon.

    Best wishes in 2015

  • @Tamesha I agree with Drea.

    Finding time on the weekend is super useful for me, also making a timeline and prioritizing posting over interaction is of importance, but there is balance in both.

    I personally spend 75% of my time online so I am looking for ways to be more productive during my offline time (i.e scheduling posts, sending emails, and joining blogger groups)

    Blogging is a journey and everyone has their own niche so it is best to do what works the best for you over time.

    Best wishes

  • I currently have a super useful blog roll on my domain Moments of a Black Queen, and I use it freqently as a reference for sites I want to keep up to date with. I don’t think the Blogroll is dead and encourage bloggers to use it for SEO purposes as well as the need for keeping up with the best sites on the web. Check out the page Browngirl Bloggers!

  • Well, at least you’re supporting other bloggers, Tamesha. That’s commendable considering some don’t even take the time to do that. Lots of people think blogger spotlights are interesting reads, however, I seldom find them worth a read unless it’s a blogger I’m already familiar with and I’m burning to get to know more about her. It’s a matter of personal preference I suppose. I don’t mind clicking through links on a blogroll.

    Re: finding time to post and making an editorial calendar – use your weekends if you can. That’s usually the only time anyone who’s in school or working full time has the extra hours to spend on blogging anyway. Good luck! :)

  • That’s why I don’t wish that those type of blogger features go away – because there are many bloggers, who unlike me, find them very useful. People like to know which other bloggers their favorite bloggers are co-signing/supporting/reading, which is understandable.

    And re: your point about the support of other bloggers coming in more varied forms, I will concede to that point, as it is one that I made in the post. I think that because we have bloglovin, twitter, and social media in general, we can use those tools to support other bloggers in addition to having a blogroll. It all works out in the end. I’m just pro-blogroll and I’m kinda sad that I don’t see them as often.

  • Can’t wait to check out your blogroll, Mary, so hurry up with that. :) And it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who’s noticed the decreased appearance of blogrolls. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • I’ve never gotten the urge to feature others or have guest bloggers because I’m selfish and enjoy being the sole writer for my blog, I’m to be honest. Being that I have a personal lifestyle blog, guest bloggers just don’t fit in the equation right now. In terms of spotlighting other bloggers via blog posts, if I could think of a more creative, less conventional way to do it other than the standard blog post of Q&As and photos of the featured blogger, then I’d possibly consider it. I do, however, support bloggers in other ways – namely, through my blogroll and by including links to blog posts that I found interesting in my weekly newsletter.

    I recognize that there are a myriad ways that we can be supportive of other bloggers. My chosen way just so happens to be through the blogroll, sharing their posts on social media, as well in my newsletter, and by leaving comments.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marie. PS – Love!

  • What’s crazy is that one of my goals this week was to make a blogroll so for this to come up is quite timely! I too have observed that blogrolls seem to not be as rampant as they used to be when blogging was fairly new. I want to show my support for more brown girl bloggers so I know my list will mostly feature black women. So yes, they do have value!

  • I’ve only been blogging a few months, and it didn’t even occur to me to have a blog roll. But I do support other bloggers – particularly black women – through sites like this one and BlogHer, and I try to make an effort to engage with them on social media as well as read the posts on their blogs. And I’ve actually discovered a few faves via Marie’s spotlights. They’re easier to read and more interesting than blog rolls I think. But my biggest challenge is finding the time for it all. I’m still struggling to find time to post regularly on my own blog, since it’s a hobby (in addition to full time work and full time school). I’ve been resisting making an editorial calendar and operating my blog “like a business” but I’m going to do it in 2015, if it’ll leave me more time to support other bloggers.

  • I am curious why you do not spotlight or feature others or have guest bloggers and only rely upon the blogroll? I am quite curious! :)

    I honestly think that there are different ways that you can show support and while it may not always be how YOU may want, it can come in different ways. I do try to mix it up in my little corner and feature others as well as share tips and info via the varying networks i have. :)

  • This is interesting. I do this, showing off different bloggers personal style and their own personal style inspirations… so I am to wonder or think that perhaps, there is not a lack of support but that it could vary? Blog roll, features, blog lovin, twitter, fb, etc…

    That there are more bloggers in the space, so it only feels like not that much?? I too have a few pages of blog rolls (by categories and niche) as well as shine a light on varying bloggers…

    I actually enjoy reading these type of blogger features on others blogs because it exposes me to additional folk I may not have known about :)

  • Yeah, I would definitely add something to the navigation bar. It’s easy to find and it won’t leave your blog looking cluttered. Depending on my next site design, I may incorporate that again since that’s how I had it the last time I had a blogroll.

  • I certainly think that bloggers, particularly Black women bloggers, have to get better at supporting one another consistently and genuinely. Since I don’t feature guest bloggers or do blogger spotlight features on my blog, the best way I can highlight and point other people to bloggers whose content I enjoy is through the blogroll. I’m intentional about keeping it short and I try to rotate and update the list every two months or so. I hope we do better this year, too, Candice.

  • My blogroll is a single page and it’s featured at the top of my navigation bar – not the sidebar. I once had it in the sidebar and it was definitely too cluttered looking, so I just decided to create a page for it. Agreed – it’s all about the execution. Dee’s idea of a post featuring all your favorite bloggers + why you like their blogs is a really good idea.

  • Surprisingly, I get quite a few clicks on my blogroll throughout the day, and I think it’s because I am intentional about keeping the list short. But you’re right – who has time to click through dozens of links and figure out which ones they like/don’t like? Personally, I don’t read blog posts that feature/spotlight other bloggers because I prefer coming into contact with other bloggers more organically and most of those blog posts that feature other bloggers are boring Q&As. I think a post of favorite bloggers sounds like a more effective, thoughtful way of supporting other bloggers.

  • I honestly think it depends on the person. I had a blogroll back in ’09-’10, but decided to do away with it because it kind of cluttered the look of my site and I prefer a more minimal, streamlined look. Just as you mentioned, I’ve used sites like Bloglovin’, Twitter, etc. to keep up with my favorite bloggers all while finding out about new blogs in the process. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a blogroll. It just depends on how the blogger wants to execute it.

  • DeeGrowsUp

    I don’t believe it’s the fact bloggers don’t want to support other bloggers. I think it’s the fact that a blogroll in this day is essentially defunct. Although I have a blogroll on my website, I am aware of the fact that most people will ignore it. This is because, who has time to click through all of these links and find a blog that is meaningful to them? I think a better way of supporting other bloggers is to regularly feature them on your blog in the form of blog posts. You can write a post of who your favorite bloggers are, explain why, categorize them, and leave it at that. This is something that I am working on. I believe that something of this nature is more visually appealing than a list of links.

  • Candice Frederick

    I actually do have a blogroll (though it’s not posted on my website, I see it internally as an author of my site). I really do think that bloggers should support other bloggers. It’s a way to network, come up with story ideas, and it is is truly inspirational. I feel like there are too many bloggers who only share their own work and don’t read or share others’ work. I hope we do better in this new year.