For the past year on Obesity Panacea, Peter and I have been doing a weekend post linking to articles and blog posts that we think might be of interest to our readers.  We didn’t come up with this idea ourselves – in fact we quite happily copied it from Darya Pino (Summer Tomato) and Yoni Freedhoff (Weighty Matters) among others.  We aren’t able to post one every weekend, but we try to do one whenever we have time.

Making this type of weekly roundup post is easy – we typically just look back over our tweets from the past week and/or the interesting links we’ve forwarded on to colleagues, and then arrange them into a list.  If we didn’t spend much time online in the past week, we will quickly visit popular blogs in our area, or see if there have been any useful posts on Researchblogging.org.  Whereas a typical post on peer reviewed research can take up to a few hours, a roundup post rarely takes more than a few minutes.  And yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if roundup posts were among the most useful for any blog. Why?  Roundup posts perform two key functions:

1.  Weekly roundups provide extremely useful content to your readers

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve come across useful article or blog post in someone’s weekly roundup post.  There’s no doubt that it’s a useful service for your readers, especially considering how little time and effort it takes to put together a list of the most interesting stories you’ve come across in the past week (I sometimes email articles to myself throughout the week in order to make it even easier).  And for some reason it really does make a person seem more like an “expert” when they can list all the cool stuff they read in the past week.  Since you’re reading all that cool stuff anyway, you might as well share it with the world.

2.  Roundup posts help out other bloggers

Just as important as helping your readers is helping out other bloggers in your area of interest.  Blogging is a very community-oriented endeavor, and it’s much easier to grow an audience if you are connecting with other bloggers in your niche.  Roundup posts are a great way to do that, by showing people that you read and value their content.  Bloggers using WordPress get “trackbacks” telling them that their post has been linked to, and those using Google Analytics can also tell when they are receiving incoming traffic from another blog.  That means that roundup posts are a simple way to bring your blog to the attention of others in your area, which is a very good thing.  If you’re looking for an easy way to connect with other bloggers in your area (and you really should be), doing a weekly roundup is a great way to start.

Regardless of the topic or style of your blog, weekly roundups are a best practice that benefit you, your readers, and other members of the research blogging community.  And as you might expect, we will be trying to do one here on SoB from now on.  Here are the posts that caught our eye this week.

Those are the articles that caught our eye this week! Did you notice (or write) any articles this week that you think people should know about? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Travis