Building a Better Blogroll

I’d like to tell you that “building a better blogroll” involved cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla icing. Blogrolls are certainly sweet – and a little quaint. Ever since people started worrying about what kind of “link juice” to pass with their blogrolls, it seems that blogrolls have fallen out of favor. That’s a shame, because blogrolls are friendly and fun and who cares about “link juice,” anyway? Pour yourself a big mug of coffee, roll up your shirt sleeves, and let’s make a blogroll together.

The following instructions are specific to and 


If you already have a list of “Blogs I Follow” in, you can use it to create Links in your own blog.

1.  First, go to the Reader.

2.  Click the Settings icon to the right of Blogs I Follow to display the following Edit dialog:

Export Reader Links

3.  Click the text link Export under “Enter a Blog URL to Follow.” An Excel file called wpcom-subscriptions.opml will be downloaded to your hard drive (most likely to C:\Users\<yourname>\Downloads unless you have modified your downloads directory or are not running Windows).

NOTE: If you have entered Links in a self-hosted WordPress site, you can export them to an OPML file using the plug-in “Export Blogroll in OPML Format” by Lopo Lencastre de Almeida – (available in the plug-ins library). Install the plug-in, then click Tools > Export Blogroll. It will export the .opml file to the root directory of your blog, using the name of your blog and a .opml extension. Be sure that you have ftp access to the root directory, so that you can locate and download the file to import it into another blog.

You cannot export Links from a blog.

Links: The Basic Building Blocks of Blogrolls


If you created an OPML file using Export, you’ll need to import it into your blog’s Links.

1.  From the Dashboard, click Tools > Import. (You may need to install a plug-in, but you will be prompted if that’s necessary.)

2.  Click Blogroll.


3.  Select the .opml file you downloaded when you exported the Blogs I Follow from the Reader or the .opml file you created with the plug-in. Choose a category for the imported links, then click Import OPML File.


Enter Links Manually

You can import links and add them manually – each import adds to the database of links, and does not overwrite the links that are already there.

1.  Click Links > Add New.

2.  Fill in all the blanks.

3.  For Target, it’s a good idea to select Blank. That will keep your blog open in another window, so your readers won’t get lost and not find their way back.

4.  Click Add Link.

Enter a Link

Display Links in Your Sidebar

Using the Links Widget

1.  From the Site Admin Dashboard, click Appearance > Widgets.

2.  Drag and drop the Links widget into the Sidebar area and Save.

Using the Blogs I Follow Widget

If your blog is on (not self-hosted WordPress), you don’t even need to export the Reader links in order to display them in your blog’s sidebar. You can skip those instructions – just do the following:

1.  From the Site Admin Dashboard, click Appearance > Widgets.

2.  Drag and drop the Blogs I Follow widget to your Sidebar or Footer area.

3.  Save.

Blogs I Follow Widget

However, if you want to combine blog links with links and blogs that are not on, you should use Links, rather than the “Blogs I Follow” widget. The advantage of using Links is that you can combine blog links with other website links.



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at For more information on her children's books, please visit
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