Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Linky Parties - 30 lessons in blogging


Linky parties are a huge part of creative blogging.
 When I first started out, they were one of the first things I found; started linking up to and browsing.  It was how I found so many fabulous blogs and crafty ideas and really began to bring other people to my own blog too.

There are so many linky parties out there - some with themes: crochet, tutorials or perhaps just pictures.  Some have 'rules' about how many posts you can link up, and how many other links you are expected to visit.  There are buttons to grab and pages to like - so is it all worth it? 
My answer is a resounding..

YES!

My own linky party here at Creating my way to Success has been running now for 4 years. I've never missed a week and still love checking out all the links where I get so much inspiration and have found so many great blogs and made some wonderful blogging friends.


3 reasons why you should link up

1. It gets you more exposure for your own blog posts. There are often hundreds people linking up to a party - and that means potentially hundreds of people could see your post. Here your photos are the biggest draw card. An eye-catching picture will stand out and make people want to click on the link to see more.

2. Discover new blogs and friends. It's always worth browsing through the link up to find posts that interest you. Visit those links and discover some new blogs. Not only is it great to find other bloggers with the same interests as you, but a good network of blog friends is so important in blogging.

3. Inspiration - I pin so many ideas from linky parties. Things I want to make, try and adapt. I also see what kind of pictures and titles grab my attention and learn from that for my own future post pictures and descriptions.


Keep a list

I have my own linky party list of parties I like to link up to each week. Having this list makes linking up easy - I have them grouped by days the linkies are posted. It took a little time to set up this list -and add all the party buttons to the bottom of my main page but it was worth the effort for the ease of finding the parties to link up to each week.
  Sometimes linky parties stop, people take blog breaks, or just decide they no longer want to run a linky party; so this list is constantly being changed and added to as I find new parties too!



My own linky parties

I have my weekly Round Tuit linky - where anything goes, people link up all kinds of posts and as many as they want.  This now gets around 200 links each week.  I used to visit, comment and thank each and every link, but as it grew bigger, it's no longer viable for me to spend that much time on it. I try to visit as many links as I can each week - I feel that's only fair if people make the effort to come and link up, in return I try to visit them too!

I also have my 500+ Clothes Upcycling Linky, which is ongoing. It started a couple of years ago when I first started upcycling clothes. I spent a month doing a clothes upcycle every day, and finding and featuring others. That was what created the initial interest and since then it has continued to grow and is one of my biggest traffic sources.  Many people have emailed me to say that they have linked up their own projects to this party and get plenty of traffic coming back to them from it, which is great to hear.


I also have several smaller ongoing clothes upcycling linkies which are less popular, but are really just a different way of categorising the other main clothes upcycling linky!



Setting up your own linky party

I would definitely recommend starting your own linky party, there are so many benefits.


I use the Inlinkz service to run my linky parties. It costs me $20 a year to be able to have thumbnail picture links (if you just have text links it's free!). For this price I can run as many linky parties as I want. 

My tips for starting your own linky party

1. Create a button. That way people who link up can display the button on their blog which in turn creates a link back to your blog and is a little 'free advertising' for your blog. There are lots of tutorials out there to show you how to make a button (here's one).

2. Don't have 'rules'.  Just to link up is a process in itself, choosing and cropping the image, adding the title, entering your email etc; we don't need any more hoops to jump through.  I'd much rather people visited my link because they wanted to rather than the felt they had to.  Genuine visitors are far more likely to return again!


3. Try to visit some of the links yourself and thank people for linking up.  I'm a great believer that you get back what you give. Everyone links up to parties hoping for visitors and comments, me included. I always try to make sure I visit and comment wherever possible.



4. Feature your favourite links - and let those people know they've been featured. Everyone likes to know about a shout out.




A final word

I once emailed a few bloggers to ask about their very successful linky parties and how they did it. They were very generous and kind with their responses, but the overall message I got was that there was no magic formula. Some visited blogs and asked people to link up, others felt they had just started their linky at a fortunate time in blogging and rode the wave of interest. Some had link up rules, some didn't.

My own weekly party has grown slowly over the years, with plenty of plateaux! It's now just become such an integral part of my blog, I wouldn't want to lose it. It brings me a decent amount of traffic each week, but most of all I love the inspiration that is brought to me and the friends I have made through it. I believe it has played a big part in growing my blog over the year - even just in the sense of having a regular weekly post ongoing for so long.

The biggest thing I've learned is that persistence pays off. If you start your own linky party - stick at it, it takes time.  Get into a routine of setting it up each week and make something of it for yourself so you enjoy and make the most of it.



Do you have a favourite linky party that you join in each week? 
Do you like to join smaller or bigger parties?
And of course - please do come and link up to my own 
I'd love to see what posts you share!




2 comments:

  1. I think a Round Tuit was the first link party I ever added a project to. That seems so long ago now. I agree totally, link parties are worth it, but I don't link to as many as I used to, or as often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks Pam! I love that a lot of the same people come back each week to link up! :) I'm the same - not joining in so many link parties these days, but I still join in quite a lot!

      Delete

I love comments and try to respond to them all. Thanks for taking the time !