The Static Link Lists

When we first started up NEPA Blogs many long years ago, having a dynamically-updating list of blogs wasn't an option. Or maybe it was. I forget.

In any event, we created both static and dynamic link lists to showcase blogs, and started to update every new blog to both lists. Which felt redundant. The static lists were sorted alphabetically, though, while the dynamic lists sorted according to most recent post, so they were different.

And then, a few revisions ago, we bumped up against a limit in the Blogger system: any one links list can only have a finite number of entries on it. Hit that limit and you can't add any more entries. If you come near that limit on a dynamic list, the last few items on the list won't update dynamically.

We came up with two solutions for this. We broke the dynamic list into three lists: blogs that have updated recently (for some arbitrary definition of "recently"), blogs that don't appear to be updating anymore, and blogs that fall between the two other lists. The breakdown for the static list was more arbitrary: rather than constantly re-alphabetize, we just added blogs to List 1 until it was full, then began to add blogs to List 2, and so on.

It's not a perfect solution for the dynamic links, since blogs are often moving between lists 1 and 2, and sometimes between lists 1 and 3. Ideally, Blogger will address and correct the problem. But the long-term solution may involve moving to another blogging platform, which will probably involve a huge buttload of work, especially if we want to keep all the posts, comments, and links.

The static lists take up a lot of space on the sidebar. They're incomplete, because we haven't been adding every new blog to them. And they don't helpfully let us know when the linked blog has stopped updating like the dynamic lists do. Well, sometimes do, unless there's a problem with the RSS feed or something like that.

But the static lists are still useful. They give exposure to a lot of blogs that might not otherwise get exposure. And I'm not entirely convinced that Google's "spiders" read dynamic and static lists the same.

So here's what we're doing: archiving the static lists on a "Page", a link to which which will be displayed on the front page to keep the links at a level close to the top level of the blog. It's, again, not a perfect solution, but it does allow the lists to be archived for later access if we want to do something else. And it frees up some space on the front page - and possibly makes for a faster and easier load.

Let us know if you have any suggestions!


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