During the blogging explosion in the early part of the decade it became common for bloggers to create 'blogrolls,' a list of links to other bloggers they or their readers might enjoy. Many bloggers also created linkrolls to other favorite sites such as media, research, or special interest pages. On its face blogrolling is a simple task of basic website skills, but actually much more ponderous was the formation of one's blogroll elite. How many other bloggers should be included in your linkroll? What is the right balance of quality and quantity?
The size of blogrolls seems to have no preference for popular blogs or obscure ones. I've seen blogs of all sizes with lists long and variegated (100+ links) as well as short and concise (a cozy 8-12). My criteria was lax. If I intended on visiting the site at least a half dozen times in the near future, I would link it. If it was of service to my readers then bonus, but my blogroll, as well as my linkroll, was created specifically for my own surfing convenience.
Resulting in a diverse though slightly longer than average blogroll, it has served me well. In addition to always adding new sites, from time to time I'll partake in a good housecleaning. Not only dead links but also writers that I for whatever reason don't visit any more. It's an ongoing process that can be as much fun as writing.
While some add blogs to their linkrolls for the reading convenience of themselves or their visitors, others are interested in using their blogrolls to display their blogging friends, networks, or their ideological communities. I came across an interesting piece on blogrolling criteria at Jon Swift's site. His motto is simple:
Although this is a conservative blog I have a liberal blogrolling policy. I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs, whether conservative, liberal, moderate, libertarian or Albigensian, with the exception of spam or porn blogs or anything else your mother would be embarrassed to read. Just drop me a line if you add me and I'll add you.
I'll add this guy to my linkroll because I like what he writes and I intend on dropping by his site in the future. I don't think I'll drop him a line however as I lack the desire to pursue other bloggers to link to me, even though I'm flattered when they do.
Here are a couple of other good pieces on blogrolling that offer advice for those who aspire to be a 'successful' blogger. Gary Conn with Controlling Your Links and Brad Shorr with Blogrolls - Long or Short.