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Zero to Hero: Day Thirteen

  1. NOTE: Zero to Hero forum threads will close after five days. If you're just starting out, welcome! Feel free to visit a more recent thread to say hello, ask questions, or seek feedback. Happy blogging!

    Lucky number 13? Let's make it happen!

    Today, you'll continue contributing to the fabric of the blogging community by creating or improving your blogroll. As always, find full details and resources on the Zero the Hero main page.

    Use this space as a place to ask questions and seek feedback from fellow bloggers, or just to talk about blogging, why you're here, and how your month is going.

    Please refrain from posting links to your blog unless you're seeking feedback -- this is a place for discussion. Irrelevant comments and spammy links will be deleted. Instead, give your posts the "zerotohero" tag to enable other participants to find you.

    The Daily Post has a weekly open thread on Sundays called "Community Pool," for peer feedback. If you're looking for general feedback on your blog or feedback unrelated to this challenge, please visit that thread.

  2. Simply stated reciprocal links are based on an agreement by two sites (two way) to link to each other. Reciprocal linking is often used by small sites as a way to increase Web site traffic and link popularity. However, if you plan to enter such arrangements then it’s important to understand the implications and the realities.

    I am seeing some reciprocal linking going on between zero to hero blogger who have unrelated blog content and as these bloggers are primarily beginners I'm posting to tell them entering "I link to your blog and you link to mine blogroll linking agreements" is NOT a good blogging practice.

    Quality reciprocal link exchanges in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but most reciprocal link offers are of low quality. If too many of your links are of low quality it may make it harder for your site to rank for relevant queries, and some search engines may look at internal link and external link ratios as well as link quality when determining how natural a site’s link profile is. If site gets a lot of reciprocal (two-way links), especially if they are not related then the search engines will assume that these are solicited links, and search engines do not give much importance to such two-way or reciprocal links and may even penalize your site if you go overboard.

    The function of a Links page or the antiquated Blogroll is to recommend high quality related sources of information to your readers. If you are entering any links at all that do not direct your readers to such sites then you are completely off-base.
    Understanding Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal Links

    Read more here >

  3. I got rid of my blogroll, because from my stats it was not getting clicked, much, and from Referrers those places where I am on the blogroll of others did not get clicked much either. So, looking for a more streamlined sidebar, I took it down. But I put a lot of links in my posts, to sites I find interesting. I get far more referrals from comments I have made.

  4. @timethief, thanks for that context. It's definitely something to consider when you're looking at how your blog performs in search engines, and bloggers should be linking to sites they think are high quality/they recommend. That being said, links and blogrolls *are* a great way to build community, which is what draws many people to blogging to begin with.

    Also, to clarify for folks, there's no need for all links to be reciprocal. If you have a blog you read, love, and would recommend to your readers, add a link -- whether or not the other blogger links back to you. It's about sharing things you find to be worth sharing.

  5. luthersjournal
    Member

    @michelleweber
    I have tried the "blogs I follow"- and the "community"-widget (in german "abonnierte Blogs" und "meine community").
    "Blogs I follow"-widget shows really the blogs you appreciate and follow. So you actively control the widget.
    "Community"-widget shows everyone who is visiting or commenting on your blog. So maybe there appear guys you wouldn't prefer to meet or some advertising devils. So you have no active control over that widget.
    Did I describe the difference between these widget correctly?

  6. Personally, I like blogrolls if they are about related content. If I'm looking at a photography site, it's neat to see what other photography sites that photographer likes. I would not be as interested in seeing what other cooking sites that photographer liked.

  7. themadmuslimah
    Member

    would you be ale to know if someone has added my blog on to their blogroll? can you change where the blogroll is on my blog?

    i feel like such a newbie on wordpress (even though i am but that's not the point :P )
    http://thatmadmuslimah.wordpress.com/

  8. @michelleweber

    That being said, links and blogrolls *are* a great way to build community, which is what draws many people to blogging to begin with.

    LOL :D Wewill have agree to disagree because I think the emphasis on creating a so-called "community" of fellow bloggers who do not have related blogs does not amount to a sane and sensible use of time and effort. I'm thinking most participants have offline lives and that means their blogging time will not exceeded 1- 2 hours daily. I think there is high value in investing time and effort into relationships with bloggers who have blogs with related content. And my experience is that there is little value in investing time and effort into relationships with bloggers who do not have blogs with similar content.

    It's a fact that blogs created today will no longer be active in 6 months to a year from now. They will be abandoned or deleted. It's my observation that those bloggers who focus on creating relationships with other bloggers who have blogs with similar content do create a community of interest and are more likely to be active and remain active.

  9. missing word! It's a fact that most blogs created today will no longer be active in 6 months to a year from now.

  10. @rootjosh

    Personally, I like blogrolls if they are about related content. If I'm looking at a photography site, it's neat to see what other photography sites that photographer likes. I would not be as interested in seeing what other cooking sites that photographer liked.

    Then we are birds of a feather.
    On my blogging tips blog this is my Links page and this is what the pages clearly states at the top of it:

    One Cool Site: WordPress blogging tips, tools & tutorials blogroll of links to recommended resource sites aimed to enhance readers’ knowledge of blogging, building a better blog and effective blog promotion.

  11. @timethief, I'm thinking here especially of blogs that don't have a particular focus -- many people are here just to write, or have a place to muse, and their interests/what they read will be varied. And I think that's just fine.

  12. @luthersjournal, that's right. And then there's the "Links" widget, where you manually add the sites you want to display -- so it can include non-WordPress.com sites.

    @themadmuslimah, you can put your blogroll anywhere you'd like in your sidebar/footer; just drag the "links" widget to wherever you'd like it to be.

  13. "michelleweber

    I'm thinking here especially of blogs that don't have a particular focus ...

    Oh! I see what you mean now. I incorrectly assumed that every blogger has a purpose for their blog or they would be investing their time and time elsewhere.

  14. Added my blogroll, I like the grid option!
    Question: how can I make my gravatar a circular image?

  15. Also I don't want my gravatar appearing on my latest post "written by." where do I go, in which settings, to change this option.???

  16. I added a blogroll, the grid option and I'm hoping I did it right. The photos of the bloggers looks rather big. Is this normal or can I downsize the images?

    http://linkingloops.wordpress.com/

  17. @easygoingmama
    have you located this blog yet? http://gentlestitches.com/ this is the home of aussiegurumi.

  18. @birgerbird
    You have a CSS upgrade. Click this link and post into the CSS Forum for help please http://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/css-customization#postform

  19. @timethief, that is the cutest blog ever! Thank you and I will follow.

  20. @easygoingmama
    You are right. They are BIG. I don't use this widget http://en.support.wordpress.com/widgets/links-widget/#settings and I deliberately select not to display gravatars in my Recent Comments widget to reduce page loading time.

    This is the report on your page loading time and it's not a good one. Your website is faster than 53% of all tested websites http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/eFLafI/http://linkingloops.wordpress.com

    These are the ways to reduce page loading time:
    1. Edit posts and insert "the more tag" so only excerpts appear on the front page. http://en.support.wordpress.com/splitting-content/more-tag/

    2. Reduce the number of posts appearing on the front page here > Settings > Reading
    Blog pages show at most _ posts

    3. Reduce the number of images and or media embeds displayed in posts and/or make them smaller.

    4. Reduce the number of widgets in the sidebar and footer areas.

    You may also consider using a responsive width theme. 133 Responsive Layout WordPress Themes are found here http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/features/responsive-layout/

    Responsive width means the layout adapts depending on the size of the device being used to view your site. When responsive width themes are viewed on mobiles sidebars appear below the posts in order to provide as much space as possible for reading.
    If you do switch to using one then disable the mobile theme here > Appearance > Mobile

    To see what others see your blog now depending on the device used use this link http://www.responsinator.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flinkingloops.wordpress.com%2F

  21. @easygoingmama
    I thought you might like it. :)

  22. @timethief, thanks so much for the heads up on the blogroll photos. You always have so much great information! I'll check this all out -:)

  23. @@easygoingmama
    You're welcome but I sense I'm a wee bit too technical for you beginners and I don't want to put you off blogging, while michelleweber is working so hard to hook you. lol :D

  24. You're spot on for me @timethief! I adapt quickly and want my blog to look clean and professional. Nothing worse than a cluttered up blog, makes me want to rant....LOL but I won't.

    @michelleweber has been fabulous! I've learned so much that my brain might explode-tehe!

  25. @timethief what does that mean in plain language?

  26. ediblereflections
    Member

    I'm going to try the blogroll for a bit and see how it goes with my blog. My purpose is not to necessary get reciprocal link, but to show my readers valuable content.
    I limited my blogroll to 3 blogs, just because I don't want to clutter my sidebar.
    My blog is certainly a work-in-progress. As I'm sure it is for everyone.
    Feel free to let me know what you think.
    http://ediblereflections.com/

  27. http://beansfootyblogs.wordpress.com/

    Bit of feedback on my blog would be nice. Preferably on the last 2-3 blog entries.

  28. @timethief, I did it! I changed the theme and cleaned it up. Even did my own header..LOL

    Your thoughts please :-) thank you!

    http://linkingloops.wordpress.com/

  29. @easygoingmama
    Kknow that we have less than 6 seconds and usually only 3-4 to hook anyone who clicks in before they click out again. That along with the fact that page loading time is a page ranking factor is why reducing page loading time is important.

    I strongly prefer this Misty Lake theme to Spectrum, however, it didn't make much difference to reducing page loading time as you are still displaying full posts and you have images displaying before the text.
    Your website is faster than 61% of all tested websites http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/cNTVAK/http://linkingloops.wordpress.com/

    If you really want to reduce page loading time then edit your posts and provide a "teaser" or introductory paragraph with "a hook" followed by the insertion of "the more tag". http://en.support.wordpress.com/splitting-content/more-tag/ After inserting "the more tag" on a single line all by itself embed the image and consider using text wrapping.
    See here please > http://en.support.wordpress.com/visual-editor/#alignment

    The alignment icons in the WordPress editor are for aligning text; they are not for aligning images. They are used to achieve wrapping text around images on either the right or left hand side, or to display an image that's centered without text on either side of it.

    Align-left means position left, with the rest of the content wrapping around the right side of the image.

    Align-right means position right, with the rest of the content wrapping around the left side of the image.

    Align-center means position center, with no wrap-around (= the rest of the content below the image).

  30. @michelleweber has been fabulous! I've learned so much that my brain might explode-tehe!

    Agreed - she rocks!

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