The Problem With Link Blogs (Plus Five Link Blogs That Rock)
Link blogs suck because they don’t provide content. With few exceptions, link blogs suck because they jump on the back of people who actually create content. Link blogs nonetheless play an important role in the hypertext ecosystem by mixing and working up information spaces, bringing good stuff (back) to the surface. And hence, every content provider is also happy about link blogs, as must be search engines for obtaining votes for relevant documents.
Link Blog Tension
So what am I talking about (while not talking about spam link blogs)? I merely want to point out two things:
On the one hand, you may define link blogs as blogs that publish rather short posts like “hey, check this out, click here” or “look what’s here, I agree” and that—you name it—include links to resources (outside of the respective blog). Since link blogs are popular but good content scarce, subscribing to link blogs may lead to a lot of repetition and can hence turn into a waste of time for both authors and visitors.
On the other hand, link blogs can be helpful for prioritizing and promoting content, and they may therefore be important. Link blogs can actually help to find good content, and become a useful place to turn to for certain topics. But this seems to become more rare given the sheer amount of link blogs—there are so many that I had a hard time finding five good (in the end, outstanding) link blogs, as featured below.
Interlude: Blogs With Benefits
One thing that helps link blogs is an increased post text to link ratio, meaning that there must be some added value. For example, commentary by the author. It can add context and character.
Exceptions Prove the Rule…
…so here are five blogs that have proved to be valuable:
InfoDesign. Hammers out design, usability, user experience, and information architecture posts that would otherwise stay out of sight.
Max Design and their links for light reading. I wondered about labeling this a link blog, but considering “links for light reading,” it must count as one. Must-subscribe collection of mostly development-related links.
Bruce Schneier. Security guru with a high frequency of security-related link posts to articles, studies, and more. If you don’t want to dig deep into security, this is a great (link) blog.
Boing Boing: Classic. Boing Boing has built an excellent link blog, garnished with its own and reader views. The content being picked definitely makes Boing Boing a “directory of wonderful things.”
Einfach für Alle (German): Best German link blog on accessibility and web development. Short posts, but to the point and generally linking to content of major quality.
What’s your opinion? What are your favorite link blogs?
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma. I love trying things, not only in web development, but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
Sorry, but this rant is pure
[edited]. Linkblogs are as good and bad as blogs with long or short postings. As there are many really good blogs on this planet it is nearly impossible to catch all good postings all by yourself. How should you know? So I am happy to see postings with links to good readings. Maybe someday there’ll be a link to your blog, too.
Linkblogs - as you call them - do something very important: they reduce the complexity of the blogosphere and they don’t claim to have the smartest ideas themselves but they link to good postings.
After reading this rant I don’t understand your point. You hate linkblogs but on the other hand name exceptions that provide quite a huge amount of links. So what’s the beef? Were you just in a bad mood?
Well, I prefer good linkblogs over such rants.
On April 8, 2007, 9:55 CEST, Keegan said:
Understand your point. Almost agreed. Link blogs as you call them might be useful but rather become bothering. Fair enough.
On April 9, 2007, 9:05 CEST, james kingsted said:
I see you point link blogs aren’t really that helpful, their is the exception to the rule but most of these blogs aren’t useful! I do agree with you that it would help if they did increase their post text to link ratio. I mean come on would it hurt them to just say something. but if they point to good resources then I guess I can forgive them a little. maybe just a little!
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