Blogging 101: Build a Better Blogroll

Link love lifts all blogging boats, so highlight some sites you love.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

By now, you’ve made some connections with other bloggers and have at least a few favorite reads. Today, you’ll continue weaving the fabric of the blogosphere, using one of its essential tools: link love.

Today’s assignment: share a few links you love.

Why do this?

  • You tell readers more about yourself through what you choose to share.
  • Giving readers recommendations turns you into a trustworthy source of great stuff.
  • When other bloggers see you referring them traffic, they’re likely to drop in on you — a traffic win-win.

The ever-expanding vastness of the blogosphere can be overwhelming. When I find a blogger I like, I’m always excited to see their recommendations; it’s like getting advice from a friend rather than blindly falling down the rabbit hole of the internet. And the community- and traffic-building benefits — linking to others makes them more likely to visit you — make sharing links a no-brainer.

If you have an extensive collection of links or prefer not to have a sidebar, try a permanent “Links and Resources” page.

There are a few ways to share links in a widget:

  • The “Blogs I Follow” widget will automatically display a list of the blogs you follow.
  • The “Links” widget displays a list of sites you choose, or not.
  • The Text widget — like the one you used for to create your About widget — accepts HTML, so you can use it to display and describe links.

Here are details on using the Blogs I Follow or Links widgets — for the latter, you can also check out our “Build a Better Blogroll” tips. If you decide to use a text widget, there’s an easy shortcut to help you generate the HTML needed to create links.

If you go with the Links widget and want to earn an extra gold star, give your blogroll a boost with one of these tips:

  • Add hover-over text to the links to give each link a punchy description that entices readers to click. “The funniest blog about reptiles on the internet!” “Easy-to-follow tutorials for Renaissance Faire costumes.” You get the idea.
  • Categorize your blogroll. If you’re really into parenting blogs, home renovation blogs, and video game blogs, split your blogroll into categories to help readers get to the content that’s relevant to them.

If you have a lot of favorites, you can rotate the links you feature. Sharing five new links ever week or month keeps your blogroll from being overwhelming and is another thing readers can look forward to.

Questions? Ask away, or head to The Commons for more chatter.

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  1. Blogs I follow widget created! I had to change my theme because my prior one only allowed for footer widgets. I think I like the change overall, but I’m wondering if I should change the theme again to allow more sidebar widgets? I love the idea of supporting fellow bloggers to reciprocate for their support!

    Here’s the new look:

    Any thoughts or feedback always welcome!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Audrey! When I’m feeling courageous I will do a blogroll (the downside to the “Blogs I Follow” widget is that it shows only your most recent follows. I want to be able to highlight blogs I’ve followed longer but that are favorites. I think you inspired many of us to share the love with your Shareable Sundays. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I just followed what you did for the blogroll and figured it out, I am impressed with myself lol. But seriously thanks for the inspiration and feedback!!!


  2. I just added the “blogs I follow” widget to my blog. I was a bit resistant to add another widget to my blog, even though I only have the bare minimum! I think this is mostly due to the fact that widget-wise, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! It’s definitely a great addition though 🙂 I also gave my header a make-over. Let me know what you guys think!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! It took me forever to finally be happy with it 🙂 I remember coming across your blog during our “about” page assignment. Lovedddd it. I’m sure once you figure it out it will be stunning!


  3. I think I will also do a weekly or monthly post about it like @Abbie in that way I have a chance to explain what I love about them. And in others blogs I have seen this, I like it a lot that way 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’ve been considering a blog roll for a while, but didn’t want more stuff on the sidebar (especially after the assignment a few day ago to experiment with the side bar, I’ve got into a shape I like).
    The tip about adding a resources page is a great one, which I’ll add to my todo list – not something I can fit into today.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. OK, I am a bit confused here, sorry. I do use the ‘Blogs I Follow’ widget, but the blogroll shows links like ‘WordPress support’, theme gallery, etc. Is this the same as what this assignment is about?


    1. Blogs I Follow and Blogroll are two separate widgets:

      1. Blogs I Follow automatically displays the blogs you follow.

      2. Blogroll/Links shows a list of the blogs or sites you’ve added to your “links” section, and lets you show websites.

      You can find the “links” section of your dashboard here:


      You’ll see that sites like Support and the Theme Showcase are added by default — you can delete them, and add whatever sites you like.

      For more detail, use the links in the post. “Build a Better Blogroll” in particular is helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You can have both, and they are a bit different. Most importantly, a blogroll can include links to any site, or not. Check out the links in the post for more detail on the widget options.


  6. Hi everyone, I wanted a blogs I follow widget and added it, but then the text crossed over with the text on some of my pages- words on top of each other, so I delted the blogs I follow. Also, I think when I added the widgets, the header image whoich used to stretch across the whole screen, became shorter, with gray on both sides. Anyone know how to work this stuff?
    I’d also love for anyone to check out and comment or follow my auhtor blog, and point yours out to me!


  7. For now I used the ‘Blogs I Follow’ widget which has been really good because it has 10 of the people I have found since joining Blogging 101! 🙂 It’s at the bottom of the page:

    Eventually I’m going to use the link widget to create a custom list because I use both WordPress Reader and Bloglovin’ & I want to categorise them.

    Does anyone think there is any value in creating a specific ‘Blogroll’ page? Or is sidebar links better? My sidebar is so long!


  8. You know what, I seem to learn something new everytime I pop in here, lol 😀 That blogroll thing is something I hadn`t even considered, but now that we are on that topic – it really sounds like something I should do! I will try and find out how I can make that widget work for me.
    Ps. When I click on the “The Commons” link that is referrred to in this post- I come to a protected blog. Is there a particular criteria one has to meet, in order to be given access to that site? Thank you in advance 🙂


    1. Anyone who registered as part of the challenge was given access to the Commons; registration closed in the first week of Blogging 101. If you missed registration, you’re still more than welcome to follow along and comment here, and we’ll be running Blogging 101 again if you want the full experience.


  9. I really feel that my blog is on the up and up. It’s getting the right feel finally, and I’m very pleased I decided to enroll in Blogging101. I’m learning a lot, and I can’t wait for the rest of the class.

    I’m having a lot of fun with the widgets as well, and I decided that promoting Blogs I Follow was just the right amount of juice that my sidebar needed!


  10. Is there a way to put the Blogs I Follow or Blogroll widget on a page, as opposed to the sidebar?

    I took your weekend advice and filled out my sidebars with widgets, but if I add blog links, it’s going to be really crowded.



  11. Finally got there with a blog roll. Took quite a bit of effort, I didn’t want to use a widget, rather a dedicated page.

    Writing the HTML was tricky, but I cheated!

    I temporarily put the Widget on my site, with the grid format.
    Then did a “view source” on the page to grab the HTML.
    Use Microsoft Word to create a blank HTML page.
    Edited the HTML page in notepad to copy the source in.
    Re-opened Word, where I could move and order the tiles in the way I wanted.
    Used Notepad to grab the HTML.
    Paste that into WordPress.

    Quite a bit of fiddling, but meant I could customise without having to worry about HTML editing.

    I quite like the result, and would welcome feedback.