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Blogging 101: Build a Better Blogroll

Link love lifts all blogging boats, so highlight some sites you love.

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.

Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.

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 a few links you love.

Why do this?

  • You tell readers more about yourself through what you choose to share.
  • Giving readers recommendations turns you into a trustworthy source of great stuff.
  • 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 WordPress.com blogs you follow.
  • The “Links” widget displays a list of sites you choose, WordPress.com 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? Ideas? Head to The Commons.

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