When I first started reading food blogs, blogrolls were a great resource. I clicked around dozens of sites with dizzying speed, jumping from one list to another, making delightful discoveries. Now I see these lists as more of a Who’s Who and wonder, like all of you (don’t tell me you haven’t!) why MY blog is not listed. (For those of you who are not bloggers, narcissism is an occupational hazard.)
But I also wonder why we list other blogs at all. Is it to acknowledge friendships, mutual admiration, favors, collegial comeraderie? Guilty. My “Resources” section is more straightforward, as it doesn’t list the blogs of individuals as much as places to get useful information. No political problems there.
Is it to boost SEO rankings? According to a comment on a post on the value of blogrolls, the links within your posts are much more valuable.
Another commenter said she deleted hers and now uses Twitter to get to a blog. Which makes me wonder: Is her blogroll for herself or for her readers? I hope it’s the latter, but I worry my blogroll is really more for the people who find themselves on it.
The ultimate blogroll is over at Simply Recipes. Updates from Favorite Food Blogs automatically displays part of each blogger’s latest posts. It’s so good I just added it to my blogroll under Resources. Favorite Cooking and Food Blogs from Around the World, another list on the site, describes each blog. Admirable.
Have you deleted blogs from your roll? I have. Even though I loved the people, their blogs were not ready for prime time. I couldn’t explain to readers why I listed those links, so I simply removed them one day, and agonized over whether those people noticed. No one’s said anything yet.
So, dear readers, are blogrolls simply popularity contests, or do they serve a purpose? Do you actually find them useful?
Update 12/3: I interviewed Sydny Miner this morning. She’s the senior editor of Simon & Schuster and editor of Molly Wizenburg’s and Paula Deen’s books. She said she uses blogrolls all the time to find new blogs she likes. She especially likes the list on Simply Recipes, and said she trusts who Elise recommends (who knew!).
So, if you can help someone get discovered by an editor, or if an editor discovers you because you’re on someone else’s blogroll, that’s a pretty good argument for why to keep it.