Blogging 101, Day Thirteen: Build a Better Blogroll

Link love lifts all blogging boats. Highlight the blogs you love with a widget.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

By now, you’ve made some connections with other bloggers and have at least a few favorite reads. Today, you’ll continue weaving the fabric of the blogosphere, using one of its essential tools: link love.

Today’s assignment: share links you love with a widget.

Why do this?

  • Because you tell readers more about yourself, your personality, and your interests through what you choose to share.
  • Because giving readers recommendations is not only a low-impact way to give them more great content, it turns you into a trustworthy source of great stuff.
  • Because when other bloggers see you referring them traffic, they’re likely to drop in on you — a traffic win-win.

The ever-expanding vastness of the blogosphere can be overwhelming. When I find a blogger I like, I’m always excited to see their recommendations; it’s like getting advice from a friend rather than blindly falling down the rabbit hole of the internet. And the community- and traffic-building benefits — linking to others makes them more likely to visit you — make sharing links a no-brainer.

If you have an extensive collection of links or prefer not to have a sidebar, try a permanent “Links and Resources” page.

There are a few ways to share links in a widget:

  • The “Blogs I Follow” widget will automatically display a list of the blogs you follow.
  • The “Links” widget displays a list of sites you choose, or not.
  • The Text widget — like the one you used for to create your About widget — accepts HTML, so you can use it to display and describe links.

Here are details on using the Blogs I Follow or Links widgets — for the latter, you can also check out our “Build a Better Blogroll” tips. If you decide to use a text widget, there’s an easy shortcut to help you generate the HTML needed to create links.

If you go with the Links widget and want to earn an extra gold star, give your blogroll a boost with one of these tips:

  • Add hover-over text to the links to give each link a punchy description that entices readers to click. “The funniest blog about reptiles on the internet!” “Easy-to-follow tutorials for Renaissance Faire costumes.” You get the idea.
  • Categorize your blogroll. If you’re really into parenting blogs, home renovation blogs, and video game blogs, split your blogroll into categories to help readers get to the content that’s relevant to them.

If you have a lot of favorites, you can rotate the links you feature. Sharing five new links ever week or month keeps your blogroll from being overwhelming and is another thing readers can look forward to.

Questions? Ask away, or head to The Commons for more chatter.

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    1. Well neither did I. These assignments make you work so hard, but the end result is really good. Made a blog roll for the first time yesterday in two months.. Also informed the people whose blogs I was nominating ..:)


  1. Blogrolls are pretty kewl. Gonna try that out one day.

    Anyway, what I prefer doing, since it has more impact ‘individually’, would be to feature one blogger using the image widget. I’ll usually design a custom logo for them (i.e. add the name of their blog over their blog icons/gravatars) and then html it so that it’ll link to their blogs when clicked on, and then upload it. For me personally it has a greater impact, as mentioned above, and people will be more drawn to your blog naturally because you’re giving them undivided attention by just featuring one person everyday.

    It’s better than to feature everybody in one widget. It’s way more work, but you can choose a weekend and source out seven blogs that you love and start designing/scheduling their blog icons for the next seven days. Heck, you can even create a contest out of it by offering your readers a space in your footers or whatever place really that allows you to include an image widget. Like I mentioned earlier it makes your readers/fans/fellow bloggers feel more special, and they’ll likely be more loyal followers who will end up being some of your most hardcore fans.

    Since school has started I have been too busy to do this, but now since everything has kinda settled down, I’m going to do this again. Just leave a comment for me to check out your blog, and if I like it I might feature and send you a link 🙂 I’ve read a couple of amazing blogs in the two weeks, and I’m preparing a list of blogs to be featured daily. And like what WordPress said, it’s going to bring our community closer together as we help each other out by sending each other our attention, and more traffic along the way 🙂

    Take care guys!

    My blog is

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is a great idea. Clearly, you are an innovator! After reading your blog, I can see that your future looks very bright…tell your parents to quit shouting at you! You sound like a superstar.


      1. Image widget is very useful, plus you can control which one goes on top and which one goes on bottom. The only issue I had with image widget is, if you have way too many, it gets really irritating because in your widget menu you dont see the image just the text and to figure out which one is which can be hard. I used links for mine .:) Also just visited your blog -woah the number of awards.. Would love to see some images in the side bar but its your personal preference..

        Mine is :



  2. I’ve been having some trouble with the “link” widget — instead of letting me add custom links, it defaults to “blogroll” and shows categories like “discuss” or “get inspired” etc etc. Am I doing it wrong, or is it a glitch?


    1. Have you first added the links you want to display in the “Links” tab? The Links widget pulls from there — the ones it’s showing how are the default links that appear if you haven’t added any others.


  3. Never really thought about doing this. Wish I would’ve done it soon because I enjoy the blogs I follow and am pretty sure that anyone stumbling on mine would enjoy them too.


    1. You should.. Well try get onto this. Is like if you promote good things, people come to you for advice all the time. Make sure its relevant and fits your profile .. Good Luck 🙂


  4. Good idea! Shall add the link widget right now.

    Problem is I recently switched themes and now the blog’s looking pretty clean, I don’t wanna ruin the “minimalistic” sort of thing i’m going for as my interface 😦

    Anybody know where to insert the widgets? One of the menus or the sidebar?
    Any help would be appreciated!

    also, if anyone wants a follow, drop me a link below! Will definitely check each one out.


      1. ah, good idea on the page! But wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of giving the followed blogs exposure a lil? Because the menus are not as exposed as the sidebar.

        and now, dilemma on whether to pick the list style or the grid style!


      2. Oh, I just wrote a comment about doing just that, I think a blogroll page might be more interesting, and able to control categories more easily. Thanks for this encouragement, so I feel I might be on the right track!


  5. I’ve found some really interesting blogs this way but wasn’t sure how to set up something similar. I’ll have to give this a go once I’ve got my act together a bit. Been at this less than a week and only discovered the widgets. Must get my head out of the 1990s and embrace the technology!


    1. I like your blog roll it is very organised. I was unable to get mine organised therefore just using one side bar for them.. How did you get them next to each other and well aligned ? Which widget did you use – link or image?


  6. Hmmmm. I think I got my sidebar’s look just how I want it to be. :). Maybe my only concern is the actual appearance of the text. Would you know if there’s a way to adjust the alignment of the widget to center? I kinda want the texts of my widgets to be centered so it would’t look as messy – at least in my eyes. Hahaha! Any ideas?

    But great assignment nevertheless! :).


  7. My blogroll is probably too long for the sidebar, so I’m thinking about a blogroll page, with names, short descriptions and links to each blog I follow. This way I can control the categories myself, and add photos or excerpts as I like. Also, I’m really interested in Lhu Wen Kai’s idea, see comment number 4, about an image widget on my sidebar highlighting a different blog from my blogroll every week… might take me some time to implement this, but I’m putting it on the top of my to do list right now!
    come visit my blog and if you like what you see, follow my blog. I will follow you back!


    1. a blogroll page, with names, short descriptions and links to each blog I follow

      What a wonderful idea. It will be such a nice tribute to the bloggers you follow.


  8. Thanks for this tip (as well as the many others)! They really help us “newbies”!! Keep ’em coming, please. I especially liked the recent one about future dating blog posts! Nifty info. 🙂


    1. No body s****.. You just need some motivation I guess.. Somedays can’t be stuffed myself.. But I love spreading the word.. Just keep trying and ask for support.. There are plenty of people on wordpress to help .. Good luck and happy blogging 🙂


  9. My blog is about animals. Should my blog roll only include things about animals or should I also link to blogs related to my other interests?


    1. Hi I like your blog. You also seem to have a bit extra research on the environment and your post in support of earth day. You can also have people whose blog is about environment, saving the planet, about pets, dog food just maybe, something on nature earth, etc. Good luck 🙂 Keep doing the honorable work in support of animals 🙂


  10. I have added the blogs I follow widget and made it into a grid. I actually did that before today. However, today, I fixed my about me widget. However, I find, I keep tweaking and tweaking my page. It is an ongoing process.


    1. Yes, one keeps evolving everyday.. Keep going. Also you have lovely cats.. I saw your blog roll. If you may like for some of the most important ones you can use the image widget..If you fill in the small description about each blog you follow, when we hover over it it can point us in the right direction..Overall a good blog 🙂


  11. I like all these tips. I’m going to utilize them once I build my roll. I’m still learning about my fellow bloggers so it’s difficult for me to categorize them or give them a proper description but I will keep this all in mind!


    1. Hi just came across your blog.. this is great stuff.. I also saw myself in your blog roll.. Thank you so much.. I you have enough time maybe you can update our picture as now, I have made my header a bit better.. But its your blog and your choice..Thanks once again 🙂