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Giving context to a blogroll

Garrit Franke’s recent post, titled “Roast my site”, motivated me to write about something that has always bugged me with personal sites: the grocery-style blogroll.

Simone Silvestroni's avatar in reply to Garrit Franke ·

While list-only blogrolls are pretty common, the result of reading them across various blogs is an uninspiring jumble of names. I never ever click on any of them because to me it’s like clicking on a random link on a random page. What I would like to see instead is context:

  • Who is this person you’re linking?
  • Why are you following them?
  • What’s in their blog that caught your interest?

It doesn’t have to be a long synopsis, a little context is what might actually drive me to their websites, which should be the ultimate goal of a blogroll: to share interesting bits of the web to potentially like-minded people. I’ve stumbled upon several blogrolls that are descriptive and interesting, and beside my own, these are fitting examples: Starbreaker’s links, Silvia Maggi’s links, Keenan’s Blogroll and Maya Land’s Blogroll. The latter is also a beautiful example of how to format an OPML file for the web, something I’d really like to do someday.

Edit: 25 December 2023

After publishing the post, I received several awesome replies. Evidently, the grocery-list blogroll is so common that people don’t even notice the lack of context is making them bland. People who changed their blogroll and added context so far: Garrit Franke, Ali Reza Hayati, Mike Haynes, Michal Zelazny.

Another amazing discovery was the post The Art of Hyperlinking by Flamed Fury, which, unbeknownst to me, wrote a very similar (while more articulated) post. Flamed also has a blogroll with context.