Let's talk about blogrolls. Pretty much everyone has one, the question is, Do we need one?
Pro and Con
On the pro side, a blogroll is a good community builder. It tells your readers what blogs you like to visit and where to find interesting content. A blogroll is a good way to create links in and out of your blog, and mutual linking is a good thing. Some blogrolls are even set to update with the title of the most recent post, thus creating specific links to your favorite blogs.
On the con side, the blogroll is another item you have to maintain. You have to pay attention to blogs that have gone dormant, have new feeds, or have new URLs. No blogger could put every blog he or she likes to visit in a blogroll because the list would be huge. So the questions become, Which blogs do you put in your blogroll? and Can you ever remove some blogs to make room for new blogs? Finally, I wonder if anyone really looks at other people's blogrolls (except maybe to look for his or her own blog!).
Now, let's assume that you want to have a blogroll. What's the best way to set it up? Is it better to have one long list or several (one blogroll each for book bloggers, authors, and publishers, for example)? Blogrolls can be alphabetized or arranged by most recent post; they can be static or scrolling. There are a variety of widgets available to spruce up your list; are any worth installing?
Why Do I Care?
My current blogroll is restricted to people who are in the 2009 Read & Review Challenge. I have it set up so the blog with the most recent post is on top. I also use a Blogger feature that lets me show only the first five blogs, but the rest can be revealed by clicking on "see all." (I have a second very short blogroll, which I set up to exchange a couple of links.)
At end of year, when the Read & Review Challenge is over, I am going to have to make some decisions. I can take the blogs I really love and make sure they are in my reader and then delete the blogroll altogether. Or I can rename the blogroll and leave it as is. Or I can start over and add every blog I like to visit (and hope I don't forget anyone or hurt anyone's feelings).
Help! Tell me what you think about blogrolls. Would it be horrible if I simply removed them on December 31? Or is the mutual exchange of links too important? Do you actually maintain your blogroll, adding new blogs and deleting old ones? If you notice your blog in someone's blogroll, do you automatically reciprocate?