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Blogroll, Shmogroll.

24 02 2009

toilet-rollNot long after I discovered the concept of blogging I became aware of the convention known as the ‘blogroll’; the list of blogs, usually placed in the sidebar, that reads as a list of other recommended blogs (you’ll find one to your right and down a bit).

As the web is built on the concept of links, I took it as read that this was a key defining element of what made a blog.  Moreover to be listed on a blogroll was to be included in that blog’s roll of honour.  Not really so.  Very few visitors ever click on the links in a blogroll.  The blogroll here lists just four blogs.  Two are WordPress links which were automatically generated when I set up the blog and it seemed a bit churlish to delete them.  One is for PRMediaBlog where I also post and the fourth is a link to Todd Defren’s PR Squared blog, which I included beacuse I believe that Todd is ‘the’ trailblazer for PR 2.0 or digital PR.  Of the four as the only link with no vested interest, it could be considered to be the ‘control’ in terms of click through.  The results are not spectacular.  The first 5000 visits to this blog generated just three visits to PR Squared or a 0.06% click through rate.

Blogrolls just don’t generated much traffic.  I predict that Todd’s blog will get more visits from this single post than from three months on the blog roll…but that’s up to you not me.

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8 responses

24 02 2009
Dan

I subscribe to PR Squared anyway, so I wouldn’t be likely to follow the blogroll link.

Anyway, I’ve always seen the blogroll more as a bit of a mutual back-slapping from bloggers, rather than something that generates traffic. It shows that you’re a fan of the blog, and it’s part of your network, which acts as a testimonial and makes you part of a neighbourhood – which I think’s really important, given the sheer amount of stuff out there.

24 02 2009
Rob Brown

Dan – I don’t disagree, I just think blogrolls promise more than they deliver. I notice you don’t have one on your blog. http://gloryinvirtue.wordpress.com/

24 02 2009
Todd Defren

Thanks for the 3 visitors (and for the kind words)!

24 02 2009
Kerry Gaffney

Don’t forget the link love too, that’s a major part of the mutual blog love in. They are als rather handy when you’re trying to source a group of bloggers that talk around the same areas.

25 02 2009
Dan

Ha, true! Thought you might point that one out.

I’ve only written one post so far, so I thought I’d better add more content before I started linking from it, and getting any return traffic. I guess it’s backfired for me really!

And a comment from the man himself – Todd Defren! Quality.

15 05 2009
Chris Marritt

Rob – I think Dan’s first point is really valid. One of the great thing about blogrolls to me is finding a site you’ve not come across before – not so much using them to visit sites you already know about.
On the other hand, I like to see blogs I already know about listed because it helps give me a flavour of who you are. Because there’s a shared knowledge of those blogs, the blogroll tells me in a second the types of thing you’re reading.
Finally, they’re essential for newbies. My first steps in social media were totally organic – someone recommended FIR to me; From that, I heard about Technorati and used it to find Stuart Bruce. His blogroll led either directly or indirectly to pretty much everything I read about PR and social media now.
All that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily have a blogroll of hundreds, but more than four wouldn’t hurt.

18 05 2009
Rob Brown

OK Chris, I think it’s a good argument and I’ll take another look at my blogroll. I thought it was important to make the point that links within the posts were much more valuable in terms of driving traffic than blogroll links.

18 05 2009
Chris Marritt

which is still valid, of course.

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