Thursday, 3 January 2008

Blogging Etiquette: How do you link yours?

Every so often I get an e-mail arriving in my inbox, usually saying they loooooooove my blog and that it's the best thing since Nutella on toast (I may be paraphrasing) and have added it to their blogroll, and would love a link back. Occasionally the random person owns an equally random website, and it's clear they've sent the same email to about 50 other unsuspecting and unrelated bloggers, to the tune of...

Hi i'm Some Random Bloke...i've read some of your articles and I feel we have a lot in common...Pls visit my website at and comment on mine...please..pls try to link me up too...thanks sexy!

..which I generally ignore, particularly because anyone who calls me 'sexy' having seen half a black and white picture of one eye, or indeed just because I'm female, is not someone worthy of my time. Indeed, if you have to ask people to comment on your blog, that's not really a good incentive to read the thing.

Another good one was this:

I'm Alex, a leading editor of a sex toys condoms website and a loveshop website.
I've found your site in google search and it seems interesting to me.
That's why I would like to offer you a useful for both sides Link Exchange. I'll place your link on my sextoys condoms website and you'll place my link to with text 'Unique Sex Toys –' on your site. Are you interested? Is it ok for you?
Please, let me know as soon as possible.
Thanks for time.

Hmmm, Hi Alex, leading editor of a sex website...thanks for the offer, but as you are proposing something that would be beneficial for neither of us, I'm going to have to decline it.

But then I'll also get the odd person who clearly has been on my site, seen what it's about, already put a link to my blog on theirs and emails me to tell me about it in the hope that I'll go to their site (fair enough) and do the same. In this case, I emailed back saying thanks for the link and that I'll check out their blog, but usually I link to people who are actively involved in my blog or whose blogs I read regularly. However, thanks for the alerting me to yours, etc. I haven't heard from them since, they haven't been back here that I can tell, and their blog has about 3 posts on it anyway. Win some, lose some.

Here's how I see things, blogrolls are what keep the blog community connected, but they're also a way of sharing things that will entertain others. I don't see the point in directing someone to a blog which is maybe updated, say, once every 2 months. Unless that post every 2 months is worth the wait. Or which I myself don't really find that interesting. If I like it, I'll link to it. If someone links to mine and I find out via technorati, I'll stick it on bloglines, read it for a bit, then if it becomes a regular read I'll share it with you lot. I like keeping the list short, so that if people take the time to click somewhere else, I know I'm not sending them to a dead end. Likewise, if someone I put on the link list then drops off the edge of the planet, I'll take it off and replace it with something else.

It's also a way of giving something back to the people who make my blog worth writing in, i.e. those who comment regularly. I blogged for ages without receiving one comment, mostly because I didn't know how to get onto other peoples bar clicking 'Next blog' at the top of the page, which mostly gave me things in Japanese. So now I have a small but perfectly formed audience who I rant to, it's nice to return the favour. You scratch my blog, I'll scratch yours. But it's not just about returning the favour, there are blogs I read and comment on regularly who have never shown up on mine, but it doesn't stop me linking to them or visiting their blog. There are also loads I read but never comment on, but who knows- this year I might start.

I know I also have readers who lurk about and don't say a word in the comments box, but who send me comments in e-mails, or just a note to let me know they're reading (Hi Lauren and Sarah). Or those that want to use a picture or post on their sites, or, obscurely, for discourse analysis in their English coursework. In these cases, I'm happy to oblige and correspond.

But it seems I shy away from the 'link exchange' side of things, or 'returning the favour' just because it's rude not to, and was wondering how everyone else gets the balance right. Big blogroll, small blogroll? Maybe as my blog grows, so will the list. But right now I like it how it is. Anyway - the point is there's love happening on here now than there was when I started, and give it another year, I'll probably be wittling away even more time on this thing.

So have a click on some of the updated links on the right, you might find something you like. Tell me about your blog. Tell me about your aunt's brother's blog (unless it's crap and about their cats or something...not into that). Say hi on here. Say hi on email. Send me something funny you think I'll like. Tell me what you want to see more of. What you like. What you hate. What you ate for breakfast today. Who's on your must-read blogs, who's definitely not.

I'm all ears. Thank you for reading and thanks to those who send people my way. I like you v'much.


Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, I never notice anything peripheral to the text of a blog. So I had never looked at your blogroll (thank you for putting me on it!). I just put blogs I like on mine (there are a few which I read but don't link for reasons of my own!) and I never look at mine either so it probably needs updating.
Someone very recently introduced me to RSS feeds so I have been using those a lot - and they rock!
If someone asked me to add them (they never have) I would feel all contrary I think and resist.
But I like the inclusive blogger community feeling. I tend to select other blogs to visit after reading a comment in a box - you can get a good idea of who is likely to write good stuff from their comments.
It's always fun here!
Generally speaking the nice welcoming, interesting and funny blogs tend to attract like-minded people.
Sorry that was a bit long, wasn't it? Just like my blog really!!!

the boy who likes to... said...

One of the common spam comments I get which confuses me are the ones that start
Obviously if you are saying sorry you know are doing something wrong, so save everyone energy and time and not post the spam comment.
But I like to reread the "What great observation..." ones over and over again. Even if I know that at the end they will be sending me to some pill enhancing pharmacy website. It's still nice to read the good bits ;)

James said...

I've been thinking of writing an almost identical post. The whole add to / not add to the blogroll can be a difficult one.

But before that I can't believe how many emails you get requesting links. I can honestly say that I have not had one email requesting me for a reciprocal link. Or anyone tell me that I'm sexy (via my blogging email address that is, I think it might have happened once in real life, although I might of dreamt it).

When I moved blogging platforms I used it as an excuse to cut my blogroll right down and it currently stands at just 11 (of which probably only half of those are regular readers of my blog). My RSS reader has 50+ blogs/sites I keep an eye on, but some are personal interest stuff. The main purpose of my blogroll as I see it is to direct people who read my blog to top notch blogs. But then there is the whole community thing and I feel guilty when people regularly comment and I dont link to them.

I have thought about splitting it up again with a kind of top dozen highly recommended and then an others section for reciprocal links and such like. But then you've got to deal with the whole premier league and second division thing and you wouldn't want to upset a regular reader by demoting them.

I also find excessively long blogrolls off putting. Clearly the person has no quality control on what they link to, so why would I sift through it. By keeping mine short I'd like to think people would find it useful.

All in all it's a bit of a difficult one, and I know I need to be less stingy with my links. I will be interested to see the replies you get on this post.

As a final point I think a link in a post can be a more useful gesture sometimes, so I try to do that quite a lot.

Steph said...

Anyone who ASKS for a link doesn't get one. Right off the bat. I link to blogs that I enjoy and read regularly, if I stop reading for whatever reason, I delete the link. I don't do link exchange either.

Seriously it can be so tedious the politics of it all, so I warn everyone that I'm a fickle whore and change my roll constantly.

Hannah said...

Ah, blogging politics. I have links to blogs I read. That's about it. Nothing too sophisticated about my system.

Blue soup said...

I'm like Hannah, the blogs on my blogroll are the ones that I read more frequently. There are others that I have on my RSS feed, but the ones on the blogroll are my faves and ones that I think people who read my blog might enjoy too.

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jo said...

Would you believe some cheeky foreign bugger just left some promotional spam on this post?

Deleted for all our sakes.

Boy said...

Hi Sexy,
Sorry, couldn't resist. I think your post completely reflect my opinion on the whole thing. My Blogroll (which I'm going to update tonight in fact, as I have nothing else to do, and you've spurred me into action) is made up blogs that I read regularly and are my faves. My google reader has about 4 times the amount, but that needs trimming, as I don't have time to read them all.

I really enjoy blogging now. I have my little homies (such as yourself) who check my blog, and I have my blogs I'll always go and comment on. Makes me happy :).

I also enjoy emails from people, but I think I've only ever had one. Having said that, I don't actually check my email that often (as it's only for my anonyblogging).

kit lizette said...

agree with Hannah, and others here, I link to blogs I like, and read every now and then. That's it.
Don'g get much spam stuff really, not as email nor as comments. You can change the setting though, so that only approved comments will go up. Approved by you, as in the owner of the blog, might be a bit time consuming, if you get a lot of comments.

Lapa said...


see you soon in my blog. mate

Miss Understood said...

I link to the blogs I read. Admittedly, I have links to one or two people who regularly comment on mine and are so nice that i'd feel awful if I didn't, even though theirs aren't particularly interesting. Shame on me.

Miss Understood said... 'Crabby' on my blogroll. I think you'd like her.

Jo said...

I have done just that, Miss U, and the header image was enough to get me interested ;) Good choice of reccommendation.

It's been interesting to read everyones comments on this one. Unfortunately my brain is fogged by flu and I haven't got the concentration to reply to everyone individually...but nice to hear back from you all. Except the spammer - he can fuck off.

Lapa said...

Thanks Jo.

I don't blame you.

weenie said...

I generally add a link to my blog if I like what I'm reading but I don't expect this to be always reciprocated, eg I might be interested in that person's blog but they might be bored sh*tless with mine.

Occasionally, I click on people's blogrolls to see what they're reading and find other blogs I like the look of.

I think I came across this blog cos I checked out Reluctant Blogger's blogroll! :-)

Bec said...

I do the read for a bit in Bloglines, if they link to mine, and if I like what I see I'll put it in the 'roll. but if they're a commercial thing it's sayanara brother!

I can't remember how I found you now - think that might have been through one of these situs...

rexy said...

I agree completely. In my view, writing a blog is about the writing and it should be primarily of value to the person writing it.

Having said that, I can see why people write for an audience but I am less attention seeking than that. I don't link to other blogs and I've currently got six of my own going, under various names and identities, to reflect different aspects of my life and personality.

I don't care if people link to me but I don't rescind my 'no-linking' policy, even for the great writers out there. I'm always surprised when people read and comment but I don't mind. It seems the only criteria you need to read any of my blogs is to NOT know me in real life.

kimbathewhitelioness said...

Well, I like your style of writing but don't personally care for the attitude behind this one in particular. By that, I mean WHO CARES what one's reason may be for reading and/or linking to your blog? Obviously, if you're blogging to begin with, then you've placed yourself in that position already. I'm certain that anybody who blogs has their own personal reasons for doing so (whether that be to get attention to their person, get attention to their blog, share their thoughts and ideas, or to be a link - a contact - per se to someone or something else; the reasons are vast, I'm sure)and if you put yourself 'out there', or your work, you're going to be susceptible to the freaks, weirdos, as well as the decent people. It all comes with the territory. Expect it.

That said, nice job on the writing. I think your blogs are well-written despite the sarcasm.

Have a nice day.

Jo said...

Weenie - I'm always curious to see how people arrived here. I generally follow the same rule...if I like, and I visit alot...I add.

Bec - You were one of my first proper readers I'm sure of it, and I also do the bloglines read thingie.

Rexy - halloo. I agree with the 'not knowing me in real life' thing. Apart from my boyfriend, no one knows about my blog. I think it's inevitable that you end up writing for an audience, although to begin with...and for ages infact, I didn't have an audience to write to. As a blog grows, of course you write with readership in mind. Otherwise you'd make the whole thing private surely. 6 blogs though - that's a lot of work! :)

kimba - Thanks for the compliment - sarcasm and ranting comes with this blog's territory though I'm afraid! It's not so much I care why someone's reading my blog, it's more that I'm curious as to how people find it, why they stick around, and ocassionally I just wonder how seriously people take the whole 'community' aspect of blogging. Here is the perfect forum to ask around and provoke discussion. This blog started as a practice for public writing, a step towards journalism perhaps, and I never really expected it to draw the amount of links it has done. And of course I expect the freaks and the weirdos, they're entertaining to write about, above anything else.

Homer said...

Sorry to come late to the party - I don't bother with a blog roll because a) it avoids having to give reciprocal links to people whose blogs I don't actually rate, b) half the people on my old blogroll were horrible to me when I chucked The Blogger so I deleted them, and c) one of my very favourite bloggers is "by invitation only" and doesn't want his URL broadcast. To leave him out would be like Christmas without mince pies!


Blog Template by - RSS icons by ComingUpForAir