When I first started blogging, I quickly realized that as fun as it is to share my crafting projects, homeschooling resources, and general thoughts on life, it was MUCH MORE REWARDING on the days that I actually had engaged readers.
If you are a blogger or if you’re just thinking about starting a blog, you probably agree with me on this point but when you start out, HOW do you get readers?
Pinterest abounds with an infinite amount of posts on this very topic and many of them are extremely helpful. They cover everything from how to grow your social media followers to methods for gaining subscribers and the subject of this post: Linky Parties.
How to Organize and Get the Most Out of Linky Parties
I am focusing on linky parties only in this post because they are extremely effective for the beginner blogger who doesn’t already have a large social media following (like myself). You can tailor your linky party strategy to find the exact kind of readers you want to visit your blog without paying for any kind of marketing. Read that: FREE.
So what is the drawback? Well…as with most things of value, they are going to cost you money, or they are going to cost you time. Most of us feel pretty limited on both. Since linky parties are a free method of promotion, as you can imagine, they can take a good amount of your time, but here is a little secret:
They don’t have to take up all your time in order to be effective.
I have been using linky parties as one of my primary methods of promotion for several months now and have discovered that all it takes is a little organization and a strategy.
So what is a linky party?
It’s a place on the web where you can go to link your blog post for all others who visit that site to see it. It is also a place to find other blog posts to read that interest you, and a place to network with other bloggers. Sound good? If it doesn’t, rethink blogging, because for a blogger, this is a goldmine.
When I first started using them, I just googled linky parties and started linking up everywhere. The problem was that each linky party had its own rules and guidelines. Each one required at least two or three comments on other linked blogs. Some required that you comment on the links directly before yours, others just wanted you to find some posts to comment on. Some prohibited linking up your giveaway posts, others allowed them. Some linky parties had a theme, others didn’t. By the time I finished linking a post or two and commenting for just a few linky parties, I was mentally wiped out. I was forgetting which parties I had linked to already and which I had made comments on. I was still getting a few readers and page hits from them, but it started to seem like the small number of readers I gained was not worth the time. It wasn’t. But now that I am organized, It SOOOO is.
Below I provide a few general tips for managing your linky parties. If you are ready to get organized and up your linky party game, go ahead and subscribe to my blog for some free tools to help you either get started, or get organized with the linky parties you already use.
Tips to maximize linky party benefits and minimize the time you have to spend on them:
- Find the right linky parties for YOU. There are so many. I am primarily a crafting and parenting blogger and I have found that there are some parties out there that just don’t provide me with that much traffic, because they are hosted by bloggers who are not parents or crafters. Some linky parties say that you can post any type of post, which is great, but if most of the party-goers have nothing in common with you, you will probably not gain much from posting there. Still, be willing to try any linky party once or twice, but keep an eye on your stats to see how many engaged readers actually came to you from that party. For instance, there is a linky party over at Sew Many Ways called the Sew Darn Crafty linky party. I NEVER MISS that party. Why? many of my posts are sewing posts. Sew Many Ways is a very well established sewing blog with loads of traffic – most of them are people who like what I like. I get a TON of traffic from that one party.
- Keep track of the posts you link and the comments you make as you make them. You will forget, especially if you are posting more than once a week. Nothing is more annoying than checking back to see if you have already posted a certain link and seeing that you did. What a time waster! You can subscribe to my blog to gain access to some organizing tools to help you with this. More on that at the end of this post.
- Follow all the hosts and co-hosts on social media. Many of them ask you to do this, some require it in order to be featured and some do not say anything about it, but you should do it regardless. Why? When they feature a post, they often post it to their social media accounts. You’ll want to know when that happens. Also (as I am learning as a new co-host at the #HomeMattersParty found HERE), it is a considerable amount of work to host a linky party which benefits many bloggers, so it’s just a good way to say thank you to those hosts who are helping to promote your blog.
- Make meaningful comments on other blogs that actually interest you. Don’t just do it because you have to. Many of these parties have hundreds of links. There are bound to be a few that strike your fancy. Let them know it the same way you would want someone to let you know they like your blog!
- Set a daily yet brief time limit for yourself to devote to linky party promotion each day. There comes a point where the time you spend will not be worth the amount of traffic a linky party is capable of providing. Only you can decide what that is for you but if you set your time limit and use your organizing tools, it will become a simple daily habit, like brushing your teeth. You’ll do it and be done and see the results.
- When you first link up to a party, write down: the name of the party, the URL, the general topic, any special notes or rules about it that you want to remember (if applicable), and the day of the week it goes live. (Again, my tools will help you keep track of these).
- Be sure to, at the time of your first post, put their button on your side bar (I prefer side bar to posting their button in the actual post you link, because then you only have to do this once and it stays up there for all to see). You can see on my side bar, I have the heading, “Where I party.” If they do not provide a button code, I simply copy the image URL and put it in my side bar with a link to the linky party page (have questions about this, just comment or contact me and I will help).
Okay, are you ready to start getting the most of out linky parties? Subscribe to my blog using the above email and name subscription form and you will receive access to two files:
- For those who like to keep track of things in writing, not just digital format (ideal for those with paper blog planners already – this can simply be added to your planner): a printable page to use each time you sit down to your daily linky party scheduled time. It provides space for you to link up to three parties each day and keep track of all your info for the day.
- For those who would rather just keep track on your computer: An excel file with a sheet for each day. The excel file starts you off with one or two linky parties filled in (these are linky parties I use and may not be the best for you depending on your blog’s subject matter but they are parties I LOVE and that have been the most effective for me).
For either of these organizers, make sure you actually indicate to which of your posts you linked (not JUST that you linked posts) and which blog posts you commented on. You will find it very helpful to have this information. Often times, I would comment on a blog post and then a month later it would show up at another party looking interesting yet vaguely familiar. You can go straight to your organizer in this case, to see if you should click through to comment or if you already did.
Many bloggers organize their linky parties by day and keep them listed in a linky party page on their blog, such as this one here at Confessions of a Ninja Mom. If you are new to linking up, this is a GREAT place to start to find parties you like.
I hope you find this and my organizing tools helpful. Blogging is a lot of work but I love how there is a huge community of bloggers out there willing to share tips, tricks, tools, and advice ALL THE TIME, and I am glad to be a part of that community. Feel free to contact me or comment if you have any questions about any of this.
Do you use linky parties as a blogger or a reader? How do you like them? Do you have a strategy for them?