Links Page vs Blogroll Page

Back in the day, a website would have a links.html page with outbound links to websites the webmaster liked and enjoyed.

I didn’t research this, going off my memory or how I thought it went…

When the blog came along, the Blogroll came into existence. This would usually be in a left or right sidebar on the homepage and contain a list of links to other blogs (still websites) that the webmaster liked, read or was friends with.

Through the late 00s, blogs started monetising, and the fight for SEO rankings was rampant. Blogrolls and external links (that weren’t ads) were quickly removed from websites and blogs.

Recently, outbound links have become okay again, especially in the small and independent web. I like this. Somewhere along the way, the idea of the links page disappeared in favour of the Blogroll (there is nothing wrong with a Blogroll) and was re-appropriated as a page of links to the webmaster’s profiles on external websites or platforms.

Now, I still maintain a Links page and include a Blogroll, Personal Sites (that aren’t blogs), a Podroll, and other websites that aren’t run by individuals but that I find valuable or useful.

I have outbound links to select platforms in my footer…


  • When did this happen, and why?
  • Do you maintain a Links page, a Blogroll, or both?
  • Why do you do it that way?
  • If you do maintain a list of outbound links to external profiles, how do you handle them?

I never noticed that shift as such, so I can’t say when it happened. Probably it was just something that carried over into the indie web from portfolio/professional sites, if I had to guess?

I do have a Links page full of links, but no Blogroll as such. The links page is a place for me to put stuff. I don’t have a blogroll because… I guess because I haven’t gotten around to it?

I think the closest thing I have to a list of links to external profiles is on my About page but honestly that needs an update and isn’t quite what I think you’re talking about.

A couple of things caused the rise of the blogroll.

  1. The rise of blogging and use of weblog scripts.
  2. The increased use of RSS feeds and readers. Bloggers subscribed to other blogs and wanted their readers to know who they were reading regularly. I always kinda liked a blogroll in the sidebar on blogs but that was hampered by limited space and now sidebars have fallen out of favor because of smartphone screen size. The only constant is change.

Links pages were more associated with static HTML sites like Tripod and Geocities. But really, having both are really useful on a modern personal website.

Personally, I’m really sloppy about maintaining blogrolls and or links pages on my blogs because I’m link mongering every day on the directory, I kinda let links and blog lists slide on my personal blog. And I really need to get off my duff and set up a RSS reader again. Since Google pulled the plug on Reader I’ve been making due using social networks to alert me to new posts but that is not optimal.

Flamed, your memory is correct, somehow linking out became associated with fear. Webmasters became afraid that search engines (read Google) would label them as a “link farm” if they had too many outbound links. In so many large and small ways that fear of linking really warped (corrupted) the Web. So my 2 cents is link out freely, often and without fear.

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I had Blogrolls on previous blogs, but I don’t have one on my current site. I’m not sure if I want one — right now I’m linking to a few blogs on my Bookmarks page.

I guess I could have called my Bookmarks page “Links” instead, but I thought that might be confusing since I also have a personal links page on a subdomain. I like the idea of being able to send folks to one place that links my social media, website, zines, and games.

all the blogs and webcomics and stuff that i remember reading through the 00s never stopped having an outbound links section where they linked to friends and blogs & sites they liked… links to other places were a pretty important part of “the blogosphere” and generally the blogs i read were part of particular subcultures - knitting bloggers, for example - where it would be kind of weird and unsociable to not be commenting, chatting, participating in challenges, making friends, linking to blogs you like, etc. monetized blogs were only monetized by running some banner ads or by publishing your blog in book form.

so in my experience it seemed more like people just moved off of blogging and personal websites and onto platforms where having an outgoing links page wasn’t a thing, and personal websites became mostly used for portfolios. which is basically a digital cv/resume, so in a portfolio context “links” would only be links to your own professional online presences because it’s a showcase of yourself and your work. (or, more cynically, you don’t want to link to someone a client might like better and hire instead of you)

i have two links pages! one that’s a resources page for things that are useful, links that are good to have on hand to help with specific needs. it grew out of a googledoc i put together when i was co-modding a roleplay that had a lot of unstable teens in it; we had to make a rule about not having mental breakdowns at us because it happened A Lot, and needed to have something to redirect kids to when they got going. so it started with the crisis hotlines!
and i figured i have a lot of other useful bookmarks sitting in my bookmarks folder only being useful to Me, and with search engines being totally overrun with SEO-optimized bot trash it can be really hard to find actual information and resources that aren’t a weird copy-pasted nonsense site, so it’s nice to have vetted lists of practical links available.

my other links page is where i put my button wall and links to sites that are more neat/fun/interesting than specifically Useful Resources. not that they’re not useful, just like… things you might not specifically look for. things you didn’t know you needed, i suppose!

i don’t have a “my links” page or “contact me” or anything like that. i’m not especially active online, not interested in having all my social media connected to each other, and i have nothing in particular to promote, lol! all the stuff i’m interested in sharing with people on neocities is on my neocities, pretty much. i have a link to my cohost and my less-nasty ao3 account, but the ao3 link is gonna be moved into my fandom section when i’ve got that more put together.

if i read a lot of blogs i might have a “blogroll” but i don’t actually! so the couple of blogs i like are mixed in with the rest of my fun links in the link stickerbook.

I have had a links page on my site since I first wrote it. I got around to trying to update it a few years ago but gave up because so many links were broken. Despite that, I still think they are a good idea, it was just that maintaining it got to be a bit of a pain.

For a while I had thought of simply deleting it. I was getting so many spam emails because of it, “I think that xxxxxxxx would make a wonderful addition to your links page…”