I compile this list every year, so I started by checking all 99 blogs on last year's list to see how many of them still linked here. About one in four have fallen by the wayside and don't appear this year. Most of these are on hiatus (either deliberately, or through month-long neglect) which is a shame. One blog has vanished off the face of the internet (most years it's more than that, so something's improving). One has removed its blogroll altogether after updating to a revamped template. And five are still going strong but have removed me from their blogroll, the most high profile of which is the Visit London blog (not that I'm complaining, you understand, just saying I've noticed).
One interesting thing this year is that several blogs have returned to my list after a year or more off. They slipped out because nothing was posted during the month I last ran this survey, but something's appeared again this July so now they're back in. For some, it seems, a blog is now somewhere to publish thoughts occasionally, when inspiration strikes, without feeling pressured to post something more regularly. Meanwhile I can usually refresh my annual list with several new blogs, but this year (although I've hunted) there don't appear to be many to find. My list is ever-shrinking, and is now less than half the size it was five years ago.
These collapsing numbers could be explained by an increasing lack of interest in what I have to say, and far fewer people linking as a result. Who wants to read the verbose ramblings of a self-indulgent non-professional when the web now has so much more varied content to enjoy? And it takes effort to read 800 words a day, a length which I'm sure scares many potential visitors away. It's so much quicker to read a pithy 140 character summary, or to look at one lovely photo, rather than taking time out to plough through seven potentially irrelevant paragraphs. But no, I don't think it's that.
No, this is the continued long-term decline of blogging as a means of communication. Fewer people blog these days because alternative platforms exist (and take far less effort to update). Blogrolls have become invisible and irrelevant, especially to anyone subscribed via an RSS feed, so only us old-school bloggers maintain them. The majority of fresh 2013 blogs have no blogroll at all, because sidebars don't look good on smartphones, and because the focus is more about self-promotion these days. Most importantly, new readers no longer come clicking via a long-standing blogroll in a sidebar, they arrive via a one-off reference on Twitter/Facebook/whatever. A blog is now only as good as its last post, and long-term reputation counts for very little.
I still have a blogroll, obviously, I have done since I started. It's over there on the right hand side of the page, assuming you're reading this page as I intended rather than just the stripped-out content elsewhere. I link to 20 blogs I like and admire, partly to showcase them to others, but also so I have a quick means of reading them. Less than half of these blogs have a blogroll, so only a fraction link back, but hey, no problem.
Anyway, I hope that today's list is fairly complete, but I bet it isn't. Let me know if I've missed you/anyone off the list, and I'll come back and add you/them later. And maybe you'd like to click on a few of these 95 links to see what you're missing. I can't promise they're all thrilling verbal discourses, but I'm sure you'll discover plenty that are.