The Great Survey of Linking Blogs

Way back when I started this blog, I had some plans for how I would handle certain things, including the blogroll, the links in the side bar to other blogs.

My theory at the time was that a blog roll over a given size would cease to be of value to those listed.  The more choices offered, the less likely any particular item would be chosen.  So I planned to limit the blog roll, at various times, to 10, 15 or 20 blogs.

And they would be blogs I would keep tabs on.  You would know, clicking on my blog roll, that you would end up on an active blog discussing MMO related topics.  This would be a quality blog roll!

Of course, watching traffic over time, I discovered that the blog listed at the top of the blog roll got a majority of the traffic, and that the top three on the list accounted for almost all of the blog roll traffic.

This lead me to suggest to at least one blogger than he rename his blog to Aarhus Gymnastikforening.  The name looks really interesting in English, it would get him the top slot on most blog rolls, and there was bound to be some residual traffic generated by confused Danish soccer fans.

(You can see why people generally approach me for blogging advice exactly once.)

Anyway, my initial theory of limiting the size of the blog roll meant I would not automatically reciprocate being linked on another blog with a spot on my own blog roll.

So I decided, by way of a thank you, to call out any blog that put me on their blog roll or other such list as part of my month in review post.

So since my October 2006 month in review post, I have done this.

I figured I would get through a few months on new blogs and then I would go back and rotate through the list again, adding in new ones as they showed up every so often.

But in what I consider an amazing turn of events, I have been able to list at least two new blogs a month (the average is a little over 4) in my monthly summary for 59 months straight.  And I already have two blogs set for this month, so it will soon be 60 months straight.

So, first, wow!  And, second, thank you all very much!

Having hit the five year mark, I decided to see what had become of all of those blogs.  So I went through all of my monthly reviews and clicked on every single one to see what was going on.  I also moved the data into a spread sheet and came up with a few status categories so I could quantify all of this.

One of my first surprises was the number of duplicate entries.  I thought there might be 3 to 5 such entries.  There were, in fact, 16 blogs listed twice, and one listed three times.  Go World of Blogcraft, but call me a liar if I ever call you unforgettable.

So let me get to the numbers.  Those will speak for themselves.

  • Total Blogs Listing (including dupes): 281
  • Total unique blogs listed: 263
  • Average blogs listed per month (no dupes): 4.49
  • Most blogs listed in a single monthly review: 13 (June 2007)
  • Least blogs listed in a single monthly review: 2 (more than a few times)
  • Number of listed blogs still active: 74 / 28%
  • Number of blogs moved: 12 / 5%
  • Number of blogs dormant: 108 / 41%
  • Number of blogs gone or otherwise inaccessible: 69 / 26%

For those numbers, the count is only for the URL I listed.  I might have mentioned below that a given blog moved and then went dormant, but I only counted it as moved.

Now, if I was feeling really motivated, I would go back and chart the start date and end/last post date for the blogs that are dormant (not sure to what to do about the ones that are gone) to get some sort of life expectancy for a blog.  But it is clear that most blogs fold up after a year or two.  Such is life in the blog lane.

It was actually pretty neat going through the list.  There were quite a few “Oh, I remember this blog!” moments.

Another surprise was… well… how many blogs I missed.  I will be able to hit my quota for the next few months with obvious omissions.  And then I can move onto the ones that have moved.

I have included, below the cut, all of the blogs listed in past monthly reviews.  I removed the duplicates, keeping the first listing for a given blog.  I also put a status message next to most of the blogs.

I went through the list in four sessions, and my thoughts on what to do with the list changed from session to session.  So for some of the blogs marked as “Gone,” the name is there without the link to the blog.  Later I decided to only kill the link if it went to a particularly noxious link-spam site.  If you really want one of the original links, you can go back to the original month in review post for it.

My thoughts on what counted as “Dormant” wavered a bit as I went.  In general, if a blog was not posting at least monthly and hadn’t posted in August, it was marked as such.

There is probably room for a study on how often a dormant blog will get revived and how successful such revivals end up being.

For those of you interested in the raw blog list, broken out by month, you will find it after the cut.

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

  • Aggro Me (The most linked-to dormant MMO blog around)
  • Timesink
  • Tomas.Rofkahr (Gone)

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

17 thoughts on “The Great Survey of Linking Blogs

  1. epic.ben

    Fun! And while I liked your suggestion to rename my blog A…. Whatever it was, I was actually thinking of something like Although that appears to be taken.


  2. cyanbane

    I wonder if these dormant blogs still opine, just in different social spaces.

    I think you should do a “Where are they Now” and start with Aggro Me and Nerfbat ;)


  3. bhagpuss

    Lots of good names on there. I’ll have a ruffle through them later.

    I didn’t comment at the time, but I also found your recent overview of your five years so far very interesting and useful.

    I wish I’d started using my blog back when I made it, which was over two years ago. Although given that I had my own website up and running and getting decent traffic back in 1999, six months before I even played Everquest for the first time, it’s pretty ridiculous that it actually never even occurred to me to start a blog until I’d been playing for ten years!

    Anyway, now I’ve started I mean to carry on. I hope I’m still “Live” when you do your ten-year round-up.


  4. SynCaine

    You never linked me? A-hole.

    On a serious note, very interesting list, and pretty telling in terms of blog survival and just how many people stick to it. I’m not sure if writing for this long is an achievement, or an ‘achievement’ (WoW). But um, yea! We made it!


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Yeah, there seems to be this huge blind spot where I missed blogs I read every day. Though, I think at one point I mentally had it as an either/or thing. You either got on the blogroll or you got a thank you link.

    And you Syp, you’ve been on my blogroll forever, and at the top no less, so you have gotten probably the maximum effect. But the cat thing will never be forgiven! (Once I remember what it is, I am totally writing it down so I will never forget!)


  6. Syl

    I add new blogs to my blogroll frequently and frankly don’t care how many there are – I read all that are listed. :) just as often, I review which ones need to go and sometimes I only add a new one in turn for removing an old. this has kept the size somewhat steady or at least growing slowly, making for a nice and concise list I can fully recommend. obviously there’s still many out there I have missed so far. ;) I don’t use alphabetical order myself, I actually use the blogroll for my personal reading rather than a feedreader (ya rly), so I wanna be notified on new articles.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Syl – I salute your efforts. However, I note that you use Blogger/Blogspot. I am totally jealous of the blogroll feature there that lets you show the latest post from a blog and lets you sort blogs based on how recently they last posted.

    If had that, I would expand my blogroll to rival that of Kill Ten Rats and just display the most recent 30 posts.

    I used to use my blogroll as my daily reading guide. If nothing else, it might have fooled some people into thinking that being on my blogroll had value because they were getting at least one referral a day.

    Then again, I am going to guess that most bloggers do not study their traffic as much as I do. I like the numbers and am interested in what people read and comment on as well as what Google seems to find worthwhile.


  8. smakendahed

    I gave up keeping a blogroll. It ended up being more work maintaining and, being lazy, that just wouldn’t do.

    I do make an effort to read up and post on the blogs I do follow even if they never have me in their blogroll….


  9. Gazimoff

    I came up with a similar problem of blogroll maintenance. In the end, I settled on using technology to solve the problem.

    I use the WordPress links feature to keep a blogroll, but I use WP Social Blogroll to auto-refresh the sidebar so that the most recent entries go to the top. That way it’s easy to see who posted recently, and by keeping the sidebar list to 10 entries it means that blogs that have gone into retirement drop off the main page.

    I also use WP Render Blogroll links to maintain a full list of bloggers on a separate page, sorted by category. It means that if I don’t see any new posts for a while I can go in and check if they’re still posting, or moved etc.


  10. Green Armadillo

    @Wilhelm and Syl: The Blogger “sort by latest post” feature is definitely a huge advantage. There’s no order bias (whether alphabetical or by when I added them), you get to the top of the list by pure meritocracy, and I don’t even need to prune the dead ones if I don’t want to, because they’ll just stay buried below the cut until they re-emerge. (I’m not removing Book of Grudges as a matter of principle, in case they bring it back again.)

    And I suppose I was vaguely aware that I’ve been at this since 2008, but it’s always frightening to see it written down. Thanks for making me feel Ancient, Ancient one. :P


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Green Armadillo – And, on top of the list having no order bias, except in favor of the most prolific, it actually shows the title of the latest post. This is why both you and Blessing of Kings are probably so high on the list of referring sites for this blog.


  12. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Blogrolls are strange beasts. I usually go through and add/remove blogs about twice a year. I used to use mine to visit sites on occasion, but then I finally relented and started using an RSS reader.

    I don’t see my site listed, so I guess I was always on there. :) I think I was rude and didn’t return the favor until a few months ago. I’ve been coming here for quite a while, so I should have added you a while ago. I think I don’t maintain my blog roll much not only because I don’t actively use it much anymore, but also because so many blogs come and go. Especially in the era of Twitter and Google+, seems a lot of people have migrated away from blogs. :( But, I still enjoy them.


  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Brian – The list in the post is of blogs that linked to me on their blogrolls. If you recently added me, I may not have noticed. I see you removed Aggro Me as well.

    As I said, in doing this list, I realized there are quite a few blogs I have yet to include.


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