So you’ve decided to take the plunge into hosting your very own linky party?
I must say that hosting a linky party is a TON of fun and VERY rewarding BUT it’s also a lot of work…there’s some key components in how to host a successful linky party but, if done right, a linky party can help you grow your blog and readership quickly!
How to Host a Linky Party and Make it a Success!
Okay, so first off I’m assuming you already know what a linky party is….even if you’ve only been blogging for a week or so you should have already encountered dozens of linky parties! I think hosting a linky party is a right of passage for bloggers….does this mean there’s too many linky parties out there and you should just give up the idea of hosting your own…..HECK NO! I believe there’s always room for another linky party….if done right!
So let’s assume you don’t know what a linky party is…..we’ll start at the VERY beginning:
What is a linky party?
A linky party is, well, a party that occurs online amongst bloggers. A blogger will host a linky party to invite other bloggers to her/his blog to share their work with a different audience. You don’t need an invite to attend a linky party….you just need to have content that is relative to that particular linky party. Sometimes hosts will decide on a theme for the party, or it may be niche centered, or it could be a free for all. Just make sure that you’re linking up appropriately. You wouldn’t want to link up a toddler recipe to a tech party.
How to Host a Linky Party:
1. Do you have the time?
Linky parties take time….it’s not the type of post that you can just write, schedule, and forget about. You have to go back and make sure your link up widget is working, you need to do social shares for those who join in, and you should try to visit as many links as possible each week. We’ll go over all that in just a minute.
2. Do you have a link up widget already?
If not it’s super simple to get a link up widget….I prefer Inlinkz link up widget. I’ve used it since my very first Manic Monday Linky Party and I love it. It’s so simple to customize, there’s great options, the code is quickly generated, and it’s cheap! I HIGHLY recommend paying for the Link-Up Tool…it’s like $20 for a year and is SOOOOO worth it! People prefer to look at pictures when they visit a linky party….so the free text only version doesn’t do much good in getting repeat visitors to your linky party.
3. What is the name of your linky party?
So you need to come up with something catchy…..hence the Manic Monday Linky Party…..I’m sure you figured out it’s from the song Just Another Manic Monday. No one wants to link up to a linky party called The Linky Party….make it fun….attach a theme to it.
4. When are you going to host your linky party?
This one takes some planning….are you going to host a weekly linky party? A monthly linky party? A bi-monthly linky party? Decide when you think is a good time for a linky party….there really isn’t a BAD linky party time….but usually starting it in the morning or evening is best. For example MANY linky parties start around 8pm-10pm the night BEFORE the actual party name…which confuses the heck out of me! Like Thursday’s Things Linky starts on Wednesday night….weird…and annoying (to me anyway). This is why Manic Monday starts at 8am on MONDAY mornings…..but to each his own. YOU decide when YOU want YOUR linky party to be. Then DON’T deviate…..people will come to expect your linky party to start at that time each and every time….they may even put it in their calendars. I always write mine up a day or so ahead and schedule it to post Monday morning….then I just double check that morning to make sure it’s working because glitches do happen and you won’t know until it’s live.
5. Do you want backlinks with your linky party?
This is a tough one that you’re going to have to decide. Many people require a link back in order to participate….this will cut down your participation as people don’t always want to give a link back or don’t want to edit their post to give the link back. It still counts if they have a linky party page where they post the parties they link up. Now I do caution….I read a few months ago that Google is penalizing those bloggers who require a link back for participating in a linky party…..so, I suggest giving your readers the option– provide a linky party button but don’t use it as a requirement….many people will add it to their pages as a reminder to themselves….and you’ll get the Google juice. There’s better ways of getting backlinks without jeopardizing your Google PR score.
6. Decide on the rules…
Are you going to have rules for your linky party? Some popular ones are: visit x number of other links, give x number of social shares, no Etsy shops, no giveaways, only family friendly content, link to the post not your blog home page, etc. Decide what you want people to do when they join in your party….don’t make it too strict….make the rules to encourage participation and visiting each other. There’s no way to enforce these rules but I like to think that MOST bloggers follow the rules based on the honor system.
7. Writing the linky party post….
I have a basic template that I follow each week for my linky party post…..BUT make sure that you change up the beginning each week so Google doesn’t count it as duplicate content. Basically I write a recap of the week or share an affiliate at the beginning of my Manic Monday post then AFTER the break (that little line you insert to break up a post for email and readers) the rest of the rules and content regarding the linky party are the same each week with the exception of the Inlinkz code. Once you finish writing your post you’ll want to add the link up script to your html. Go into Inlinkz….go to your dashboard….click Create a New Link Up….set your options (remember bigger pictures are better…and random display has become very popular as it gives everyone an equal chance of getting visits)….once you’re options are set you’ll submit and a screen will pop up with your code. Just place this code at the end of your post and you’re ready to go. The actual link up tool won’t show up in your preview…unfortunately it doesn’t show up until your party start time.
8. Invite others to your party!
Okay, so this is a VERY sensitive area. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not write “I love this post! Would LOVE for you to stop by http://serendipityandspice.com/manicmonday and link up to my party!” and visit a whole bunch of bloggers and paste the same thing on their posts– this is a BIG blogger NO NO! Don’t worry, I’ve been guilty of doing it in the beginning. The BEST way to get people to your linky party is to add your party to linky party lists and politely invite people. I do visit other linky parties and check out links that I like…if I like someone’s link I leave a genuine comment like “I really like the way you used teal blue instead of the purple you were thinking about. I have a new teal obsession that’s driving my Hubs NUTS! BTW, I host a linky every Monday if you’d like to stop by and link up sometime. Have a fantastic weekend!!” See how this comment is not all about me. It comes across much nicer AND I didn’t link spam them (which Google doesn’t like– are you seeing a trend here with Google?). Now I know you’re wondering how they know where to go to get to your party. When you sign up to comment it usually asks for a website or you’re already signed into a comment program and your website should already be linked to your profile…..so all the blogger has to do is click on your name and it will take them to your profile which will have your blog link.
9. Share the posts linked up on social media.
I try to pin and share as many posts as possible on Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+. Whenever I share on any of these platforms I ALWAYS tag the person whose content I am sharing– and with Pinterest and Google+ shares I always have it auto share on Twitter…..this is where it’s important to make sure your screen names match across platforms like I was telling you in the post about setting up your blog to succeed. Otherwise I try to list each of the screen names….this is why it’s SO important to have your social media buttons EASY to find on your own blog….it makes it easier for others to tag you when they share your content.
10. Comment Comment Comment
I will admit….there are weeks that I don’t do as good of a job at this as I should– and if you have captcha on you can absolutely forget getting a comment from me! I HATE captcha….I NEVER get it right so now I just don’t bother. I try to visit and leave comments on each site that links up each week and leave a meaningful comment. A generic “This is great. Thanks for linking up.” might be easy on you but it’s a complete waste of time as it’s clearly copy and pasted and the blogger will know you’re not being sincere….I’d rather you pin my stuff or share it on other social media than leave me an insincere comment.
Hosting a successful linky party week after week does take a LOT of time but the return on investment is fantastic….at least I believe so.
Do you have any tips for hosting a successful linky party?