In my case, the total blogging time is apportioned this way:
# Doing the mail, which includes comments to my sites and responding to those;
# Dealing with Blogpower issues;
# Following up MyBlogLog visitors who have recently come in;
# Preparing and posting, which takes a fair amount of time;
# Doing maintenance and updating things;
# Spending the remaining available time visiting one of the rolls - for example, today was Purple; yesterday was Blogpower and White; tomorrow is Maroon.
Visiting other sites, of course, takes up an inordinate amount of time. I have a total of 208 bloggers on my rolls but a breakdown of the last 100 visits here in the past few hours reveals:
# 33 Blogger visits [but about 20 returning multiple times]
# 23 Unknown or miscellaneous
# 19 Google Searches
# 15 Google Images
# 6 Blogger Navbar visits
# 4 Technorati
On a weekday it might be different but still - there are vastly more on the rolls than are visiting. I think almost noone would begrudge time spent when there is some sort of return on it. So posting interesting posts on a variety of topics seems productive, in terms of non-blogger visits.
Visiting other sites is where the problem is. What does it give back? Well, with a small proportion, it is friendship and camaraderie; with a wider circle it is learning new things and seeing new angles. But does visiting beget visiting?
The major bloggers are a mixed bag. With DK, Mr. E and some others, it is certainly friendship. But with many of the others, it seems highly unproductive. They're not saying anything DK or Mr. E aren't and yet they don't even acknowledge our existence.
One [now major] blogger told me a year ago that there was hardly any point being on a particular superstar's roll because he might have three referrals from there in the week - it was a bit like Google ads. People generally go to the Big Boys to see what they have to say, not to get into dialogue with fellow visitors or to hit the sidebar blogrolls. Generally.
I often look down 50 to 60 comments and am amazed that there is virtually no communication between the commenters themselves, except someone attacking the blogger and another commentator defending him. Eyes are generally lifted upwards and the commenter is seeking the attention of the major blogger or else just making his erudite point and going.
Is that an unfair summation?
Yet a sidebar link is a sidebar link and it helps with the Technorati. Again - is that ranking so important in the scheme of things? If I culled my blogrolls to a maximum of 50, excluding Blogpower, [and I don't intend to], it would kill many links back to me and therefore my "authority" with Technorati but would it kill my overall readership [including through a Reader] or linking from other sites?
How much do you use other people's sidebars, in other words?
Would it have that great an effect in any day - maybe a 40 to 50 drop in visits - and could the time saved visiting be used more productively in wider general reading, better posts and more quality visits to blogfriends, thereby resulting in more traffic anyway?
I suppose the chip on my shoulder is that I hate wasting time. I hate wastage of any kind but wasting someone else's time is a major crime in my book. Is it a waste of time running a big blogroll or is that the engine room of a blogger's blog?