This is the latest installment of Dear WordCount, an advice column that answers your questions about writing, blogging and running a freelance
I am new to blogging. I found my blog listed on a blogroll last night. I have never interacted with the person and I don’t know how they found my blog. This blog is the first one that I have encountered that has material related to mine. Does the person wants to be helpful? Or is the person trying to benefit in some way? I did notice they have over 80 websites in their blogroll. Is this just a normal part of blogging and what people are supposed to do? I’m also curious what normal etiquette is in this situation. Do I say thanks? Or should the other blog owner have said, “By the way, I linked to your blog?”
It’s common practice to include blogs that similar to your own in a blogroll. A blogroll is a list of blogs that typically appears in a left- or right-hand column on the front page of a blog. People use blogrolls to link to resource they think their readers would find helpful, or to other blogs that cover the same ground they do.
If someone’s included your blog on their blogroll, it’s a sign they consider you legitimate and a part of the community of bloggers who write about the same thing. Be flattered, especially since you say your blog is very new.
“They probably just thought your blog was cool. Blogrolls to me are just a way to tell people what blogs you like,” says Dylan, who like you is taking part in the 2011 WordCount Blogathon.
Turn a blogroll into an opportunity
You could turn this into an opportunity to build up traffic to your own blog, which is another perfectly acceptable practice. Start by reading and commenting on posts written by the blogger who added you to their blogroll. If they respond, build up a rapport so that one day when you write a post you’re especially proud of you’re comfortable asking them to leave a comment. That could lead to swapping guest posts.
Blogrolls fallen out of favor with some professional bloggers for a variety of reasons. In recent months, I’ve cut mine back substantially to a list of essential resources that I think freelance writers should know about. I also minimized it because it’s not a heavily traffic area of my website and I’d rather have people reading my posts than linking out to other places.
Still, blogrolls serve their purpose, and many people still cultivate them. If you’re just starting out and want to establish yourself, a blogroll’s a good way to do it.
Here are some more tips on setting up and using blogrolls:
- What is a blogroll (About.com)
- Blogrolls – Yes or no? (Success Blognet)
- Free tool: build outreach lists from blogrolls (BuzzStream)
- Are blogrolls defunct? (Performancing)
- Bye bye blogrolls (Fernando Gros)
What do you think: Do you have a blogroll ? Did you have one but dropped it? If you’ve kept yours, have you changed what’s on it?