Apr 102011

Today I started updating my blogroll page; culling dead links, adding long-overdue blogs by people I like, etc. And it got me thinking about my practices versus other peoples, especially when I received an email last week from someone I didn’t know at all who wanted to do a link exchange. I politely responded with my text link rates, and (not surprisingly) never heard back.

My Blogging Commandments:

1. I comment wherever I want to, when I have something of value to add. I don’t comment JUST to comment. I don’t comment just to get my link in there. And if that person is someone who never, ever reads my blog? So what. That won’t stop me from commenting.

I’ve seen this happen here on my blog. I’ve seen bloggers eventually stop commenting because I didn’t follow suit and start reading/commenting on their blog. It’s not necessarily an insult, perhaps it’s just not my cup of tea. I’m reading fewer and fewer kink-related blogs these days. It’s just not my current “thing”.

2. I link to people I like. People I read. People who I respect their opinions and writing. I do NOT link to somebody just because they’ve asked me to.

If a blogger asks to swap links, what that says to me is “I don’t like you enough to link to you, regardless of whether you link to me. I’m doing it just to get a link from your site which might get more traffic than mine.”. That’s how I read it. If a site asks to swap links, that means they think I’m dumb enough to devalue myself and give them free advertising, lol.

3. I don’t feel obligation to link to someone just because they link to me.

It’s a great compliment. I sincerely appreciate it. But I hate obligation, so please don’t play that card.

And finally…..I hate it when someone comments and then leaves their link in the comment with “please read me!” Save that for email. That sounds bitchy, I know. But there’s a space anyways in the comment form for your address. That’s already a link. The fact that you went about it that way tells me “I’m trying to drum up traffic and I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about your blog, the content of this post, or you and I’ll likely never be back”.

Give respect. Get respect. (and why the fuck do people want a link on my blog? I’m a small damn fish!)

I asked this on Twitter and got a lot of agreement, but no disagreement. Surely there’s people who disagree. I’m honestly wondering if my practices are in the minority. When I responded to one link exchange email last month, I’d told the person that if they wanted to be seen, get traffic and be a part of the community that they should participate…comment…that I see them as a stranger just wanting a hand-out who can’t even be bothered to read/participate on my blog. And that feels like being used. Their response was that they had been asked a few times for a link swap so therefore they thought it was ok/normal.

 Posted by at 12:47 pm

  19 Responses to “Blogging Practices: On Commenting and Blogroll Links”

  1. I do what I want. I pay the fees on my hosting and domain, so I don’t think I owe it to anyone to link to them unless they’re paying me to do it. My blog is my blog. My blogroll is a list of people I actually read (and I do need to update it). I would much rather click-through blogroll links to things that the blogger I’m reading actually finds interesting, than some crap they just linked to because of exchanges and such.

    I guess this all sounds pretty negative, but I just sort of have an ‘I don’t give a shit.’ attitude. I want to interact with people who are genuinely interesting to me, not people who are just leaving comments to get traffic. I’m the same way you are. There are a lot of times I enjoy reading a post but feel I have nothing to add to the discussion. Sometimes it’s because the blogger already covered it and I feel like an ‘I agree’ would be silly. Sometimes it’s because I feel like it wouldn’t make a difference because that blogger is stuck in their own little world and any criticism would be met with ‘ugh, you’re just being a hater’ or something equally dismissive.

  2. I agree with you almost completely. However, I have no issue doing a link exchange with a blog that I don’t read so long as it’s a sex-positive blog that’s passing on good material to readers. I’d never want to promote a blog that supports anything unhealthy or false.

    ~ Ok, that’s a really valid point. Thank you. I think that if I did that, I’d put it in a different category. Seriously, very good point

  3. My blogroll is so outdated. I don’t think I’ve updated it in forever. I don’t use it myself anymore. I have all the blogs I want to read in my google reader. It does happen to be a frequented page though so perhaps I need to update it. I’ve found some treasures of blogs I think I should share. (Maybe I’ll restart my monthly “newly discovered blogs” post again.)

    I link to people who link to me, but I don’t particularly like. They get placed in a different list altogether from my other blogroll lists.

    I have noticed that since I’ve switched to using RSS I don’t comment as often, but when I do it’s to add value to the discussion. The quality of comments is what is important to me, the quantity, not so much. I also don’t mind that many of the readers are lurkers. I’m not writing to garner comments. I’m writing for other reasons altogether.

    When I update Submissive Guide late this summer I’ll be removing a blog roll type page altogether. It’s just not necessary and a rarely viewed page for the site.

  4. This is a well thought out post on a subject that seems to divide many.

    Here’s my answers to your poll

    Do you only link to people who link back?
    No, I only link to blogs that I actually go and read on a regular basis and I have decided to keep my blog roll, at the moment, to a maximum of 15 as there are just not enough hours in the day to keep up with more than that.

    Will you add a link to someones blog just because they ask you too?
    No, for the reasons above…..

    Do you see blog roll links as a traffic aid or as an endorsement
    To be honest, it is a bit of both, blog links helps develop the blogging community, driving traffic and creating a ‘ring’ for readers to explore but as I said, I like to link to blogs I read and thereby endorse.

    When you see a blogger who has no links what do you think?
    Curiosty is the honest answer as I wonder why they make that choice, thats not a negative thought though.

    I agree with you that I don’t feel that I have to link back if I find my link on someone else’s blog. It’s flattering and I will often send them a message saying so and thanking them but again, I only link back if I find myself becoming a regular reader.

    Without a doubt links drive traffic and help with blog exposure just as link buttons like wanton wednesday do as well. I think for me it’s all about joining in the blogging community, playing along, reaching out to others and creating a pool of resources for the many readers who stuble our way.


    ps….wanna link swap? LOL, sorry coulnd’t resist it…. *grins

    ~ The whole entire reason I create e[lust] is to help us create this “ring” like effect of community driven traffic. Personally I think that it does more than a half-assed blogroll link anyways, ya know? With e[lust] I’ve got people from all different types of blogs participating, so this means if an erotica blogger joins elust, then they’re showing their readers whole new worlds of different types of blogs. I do know that some readers use their oft-read blogs’ blogrolls as their own private bookmarking area, so yeah there’s some traffic but I don’t link to give people traffic. Actually I think people probably get more traffic from my site when they comment as opposed to just a blogroll link.

  5. ““I don’t like you enough to link to you, regardless of whether you link to me. I’m doing it just to get a link from your site which might get more traffic than mine.””

    ^ Exactly. You get these ‘Your site is awesome, would you like to swap links?’ emails, but if they really liked my blog that much then they would just link to me anyway! It’s bollocks, and the idea of ‘link exchanges’ is so outdated nowadays.

    I link to anyone whose blog I enjoy reading or who I interact with on Twitter. When I leave comments on a post if it’s relevant I’ll include a link to my own posts on the matter, for example ‘Great view of Toy, I disagreed about the X though, here’s my review if you fancy comparing opinions’. I think some people would consider that a bit cheeky, and I guess it can be, but I only do it when it’s relevant and readers/the author might actually be interested in seeing my post.

    One thing I’m not keen on is when people leave a comment, then add the name of their blog as a sort of signature? As you say, there’s already a form field for the address of your blog, so you don’t really need to include another generic link in the comment.

    ~I’ve actually gone so far as to remove it when someone leaves their link as their signature. Left the comment, but removed the link. Also I have said on others’ blogs that “hey i reveiwed this too or i reviewed that and i think you might like it better” or maybe “i wrote about this also recently”, but i will not ever include the link. I figure that if someone really wants to know MY post, they can come to my blog and do a search for it. easy.

  6. I’m with you on this. I have sites in my blogroll that I actually read (although it probably needs updating). There are friends who blog who I haven’t added just because I don’t read theirs regularly, but it doesn’t mean I think less of them. I put people on the roll if I enjoy their writing regularly and find them worth sharing – I tried link exchanges much earlier on and it just seemed like a bad idea. I ended up with a semi-literate (and consequently horribly boring) blog on my blogroll at one point, and I didn’t feel proud about having it there. After a few months, I removed the link. I’m not bitchy enough to tell the person why I removed it (unless someone wants a critique of their blogging I usually leave it alone). I think odds are they removed mine eventually.

    Not everyone I link links back to me, and that’s okay. And I’m flattered and thankful for the many people who link to my blog from theirs who I’m not familiar with.

  7. “~ The whole entire reason I create e[lust] is to help us create this “ring” like effect of community driven traffic. Personally I think that it does more than a half-assed blogroll link anyways, ya know? With e[lust] I’ve got people from all different types of blogs participating, so this means if an erotica blogger joins elust, then they’re showing their readers whole new worlds of different types of blogs. I do know that some readers use their oft-read blogs’ blogrolls as their own private bookmarking area, so yeah there’s some traffic but I don’t link to give people traffic. Actually I think people probably get more traffic from my site when they comment as opposed to just a blogroll link.”

    I agree with you and I thik e[lust] is a great invention and yes, certainly does drive traffic in a way that a blog roll never would.

    I guess I use my blog role as a bookmark area for myself, which i share with my readers, I kind of like that thought though

    I also agree about comments being a great way to drive traffic and again, develop a ‘talking community’. This post is a perfect example of that, lots of people with an opinion they want to share, for me that is a sign of a great blog post.


  8. Just wanted to say that I have been known to leave my link in as part of my signiture as since I moved my blog I cannot get the openid to link to me that many blogspot blogs have and so I have to sign in with google but I don’t have a google profile so it leads to no where. I have explained to people why I have done it though as I agree, it does seem rude in a funny way, like that is the only reason you are there.

    I blame openid for being stupid….LOL


  9. Blogrolls are very personal things. I tend to think of my blogroll as an extension of my site. I only link to blogs I actually read (& enjoy) and I wouldn’t link to someone else’s just because they asked (or because they paid). Ultimately, it’s a reflection of me and my interests.

    I also don’t mind if it’s a one way thing, either. I always tell the blogger that I’m linking to them, as a courtesy, but I never expect them to reciprocate unless they want to. I’d certainly never ask or even hint at any kind of exchange.

    I also actually think blogrolls are very useful, particularly for a relative newbie like myself. I always enjoy stumbling across a new blog and glancing across another’s blogroll is a great way to do that.

    I periodically check my favourite bloggers blogrolls, to see if they’ve added anything new and I also do a backward check on new bloggers I’ve discovered by checking theirs as well to gauge their interests. For example, if I discover a new blog and their blogroll is full of misogynistic porn producers then I’ll probably skip it. If, however, they read Violet Blue & Tristan Taormino or other bloggers I like then I’ll most likely take a second look.

    As far as comments go, I only comment if I genuinely have something to add or ask. I’ll never just post a ‘Great review!’ comment. Again, I don’t mind if the blogs I comment on never even read my site. I tend to expect it as I’m very new to this. I also don’t feel the need to comment on another’s blog just because they commented on mine. I tend to reserve my comments to either a valid opinion on something, a question, or letting the blogger know that they helped me (for example, in the case of a product review).

  10. I never thought of it in those terms, but it seems that my blogroll commandments are exactly the same as yours! My blogroll is terribly out of date- I used to rely on it much more, but since I started using Google Reader to keep track of my favorite reads I tend to neglect my blogroll.

    What I need to do more often is browse the blogrolls of those I already read and find new blogs, it seems like my feedreader has gotten kind of stale.

    Great post Lilly!

  11. A couple of years ago I sat down and updated my entire blogroll and Google Reader. Put in everything I was reading and took out everything I didn’t. Ever since then, if I add something to my Google Reader, I add it to my blog roll. If I stop reading something, I pull it off of both. It was mostly for selfish reasons. I occasionally get questions about what economics/finance blogs I read and I got sick of emailing back with a list. This way I can just send someone the link to my “stuff I read” page and they can see for themselves.

    I do want the link to my site to appear in my comments, though I’m happy to have it in the header, rather than as a footer. I don’t comment specifically to promote myself but I certainly want anyone who finds my comments super awesome to have easy access to the rest of my writing.

    I don’t really utilize people’s blogrolls. I hardly ever click on anyone’s. I am pleasantly surprised when I see someone has linked to me though. Always makes my day.

  12. I link to blogs that I read regularly. I’ll also link to blogs of friends who I may not read as often anymore, but I still like as a person and feel like I want to give them credit for their writing, even if it’s no longer my cup of tea. I’ll also link to people that comment often on my blog in thoughtful ways, out of respect.

    I don’t expect reciprocol linkage. I don’t link to people just because they ask me to. And I’m the worst commenter ever, and often feel bad that I never comment on the blogs of people who always comment on mine, and always worry they think I’m not reading. I am! I just only comment when I have something of value to add!

  13. I am a complete troll on your blog so I was not surprised that you did not link to mine. However, you have inspired me. I am inspired by your recent posts to make my blog a bit more creative…to discuss topics that have been on my mind but I have feared discussing for fear of rejection. Also, I am leaving a lot of the vitriol blogging behind which I thought was an important point you made.

    I will earn a spot on your blog roll! Trust me when I say it will be my honor.

  14. I only link to folks whose blogs I read, who I would recommend to others. Once in a while I will agree to a link exchange, but only when it’s someone I already know and realize I haven’t yet added them to the blogroll.

  15. You make a lot of really great points here; my unspoken “rules” about linking are pretty similar to yours. I don’t do link exchanges, period. If I link to someone, I don’t expect them to link back – I linked to them because they had something great to say, or because I think my readers would benefit. When I do see my name on someone else’s blogroll or list of links, it always makes my day – someone thinks my little blog is worth recommending, without me having begged them to do it.

    My blogroll is simply a list of the blogs I read most frequently, on my own time. I have close blogger friends that aren’t up there, simply because their blogging style isn’t something I want to read all the time (or because I hear about everything WAY before it hits the blog, hahah). I guess that makes it more of a window into my private reading habits than anything else. I rarely use other people’s blogrolls anymore to find new blogs, as I’m already following too many to keep up with. When I was newer, though, I was all over the blogrolls. That’s how I found some of my favorite bloggers, and a few of my closest blogger friends.

  16. I’ve wondered about this secretly for a long time but never blogged/said anything because I didn’t know if I would insult anyone. You wrote about it perfectly, though, and I agree with everything you said here. I only comment when I want to or feel that I should, not because of traffic. I hate when people do that…And I never put anyone’s link onto my blog unless I really like them as a person, they’re a friend, or their blog deserves more attention because it is a great blog. I put them up on my Blog list more often because I like them or they’re my friends. I never do it because I’m asked to, ever. That’s dumb.

  17. Your poll seems to be closed, so I didn’t vote, but I would have said yes to both questions. My blogroll is purely reciprocal. Maybe one or two exceptions, but basically if someone links me, I link them back.

    In the early days, my blogroll was honest and every blog on there was one I read often, even if they didn’t link me back. (In fact, most at that time *didn’t* link me back.) But now, I don’t want to deal with the politics or hurt feelings or figuring out where the cutoff for “quality” would be. Plus my tastes change a lot, so a blog I hardly ever visit today might be a favorite in a couple months. And just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean my readers won’t like it. (In that vein, I do only link blogs I think are relevant to my topic.)

    Mostly though, the people who do link me are invariably sincere with their link. (I don’t get any sex toy or other commercial sites linking to me.) It just wouldn’t feel good to me to imply that my blog may be good enough for them, but they’re not good enough for me. Plus they’re often so surprised/thankful that I added then that it’s a good feeling all around. I figure what’s the harm.

    So yeah, I’m a wimp with the blogroll. ;-)

    Where I do get militant is with the Followers Section. A lot of those are just sneaky links to porn sites. I’ve deleted about a hundred of those, because I know they don’t really read my blog.

    ~ The polls are free, so can only handle 30 votes.
    So you’re saying that you only link to those who link to you first? That makes sense, as you removed your link to my blog during a time period when I didn’t link to you because the blog was in “repeat” mode, and you put my link back on only when I returned your link to my blogroll at your request. To me, that seems like you’re more about marketing than wanting to be part of the community. Which doesn’t sit too well with me, if that’s the case.

  18. I list links to the blogs I like to read and that I think other people would like to read. I don’t list them all and I rarely change the list (although I think an update is long over-due).

    When talking about a blog of the professional level of yours and some others who have commented here I am reminded of campaign advertising. I may proudly display my choice for a certain candidate for the state governor’s office because at some point I have met and interacted with that person and support her/his platform. I certainly don’t expect that person to campaign for me for the local school board in return.

    This is not to say the little fish of the blogging world should be ignored, just that we (the little fish) need to respect that we aren’t putting in the time, money and effort that people like you and several others do into blogging. You have people who PAY to advertise on your site. Certainly you have the choice of who to (essentially advertise) link for free.

    I don’t expect anyone to do anything based on MY actions. It seems many people would be well served to think of it that way.

  19. I missed the polls but I don’t add someone because they’ve commented or read my blog. I have a blog roll so I can get to the blogs I enjoy reading quickly. That’s the only reason.

    I’ve never stopped reading a blog I like because the blogger doesn’t comment and/or read my blog. Actually, I never really thought having a blog roll was any type of advertisement/enticement.

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