If you’re new to blogging, you might have seen mentions of “linky parties” and “blog carnivals” and wondered 1) what the hell they are, and 2) if they should matter to you. Yes, and here’s that bloggy breakdown you didn’t know you needed.
What are linky parties?
A “linky party” or “link up” is a party on the Internet with colorful drinks and gluten-filled snacks, where only the most prestigious members of the blogosphere hang out and make fun of other bloggers with crappy traffic. #justkidding
In its simplest form a linky party is an event that a blogger hosts on their blog. They invite other bloggers to share their work with a new audience on a specific topic or theme. You don’t actually need to be invited to the party; you simply need content that relates to that linky party’s theme. Then, just like that guy at work who always seems to know when there’s cake in the breakroom, you mosey on in and join the party.
Let’s say you run a blog about nutritious recipes. You could host a linky party by inviting other bloggers to share links to posts with their favorite nutritious recipes. You might niche it down even further by limiting the event’s topic to nutritious desserts or gluten-free recipes.
Sometimes the host will choose your link as a featured post, meaning they’ll write something nice about it and link back to your page. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you could join a party that’s so happening that no one even notices you’re there. Don’t fret; there’s always a learning curve. One suggestion: show up as soon as the party starts so that your post is linked quickly. It helps to show up near the top.
How can you participate in a linky party?
You’ve got two choices here:
- You can catch wind of another blogger’s linky party and add a link related to the chosen topic.
- You can host your own linky party.
Joining a linky party
To go with Option 1, head to your favorite search engine and enter one or more of these keywords:
- link parties
- linky parties
- blogger link up
- blog hop
- blog party
That should trigger a plethora of search results. Wading through all of the options can be frustrating because search results aren’t always reliable — surprise! — but be patient and you’ll find at least a few linky parties you might be interested in joining.
Some bloggers host linky parties weekly, others monthly, and others even less frequently. Once a blogger decides to host a linky party, they usually will announce the theme of the party and the date and time for posting links.
Write a post on your blog that fits with the theme of the party, and return to the hosting site at the right time to add your post’s link. (Linky party hosts typically use either Linky Tools or Inlinkz to allow fellow bloggers to add their links.) Boom! You’re partying with fellow bloggers now.
Pro tip: Take note of the other bloggers at the party. Make some bloggy friends by visiting their sites and commenting on pages. And be sure to give a shoutout about the party and its host on your site — it’s not just a nice thing to do; it can generate traffic.
I need to reiterate here the importance of following the rules. The last thing you want is to get banned from future linky parties! Also, many linky parties include a disclosure that states that participating in the party grants the host permission to use the images and text of your post should they decide to feature it on their website. If you aren’t cool with this, don’t participate.
Hosting a linky party
Want to host a linky party? It’s easy. Here’s how:
- Make sure your site has a widget for a link tool (see above).
- Decide on a theme, date and time.
- Promote your party in the blogosphere. You might use a hashtag like #linkyparties, set up a Facebook invite, and include your party info in your next newsletter.
- On the day of your party, follow the instructions for your chosen tool to publish the widget for everyone to link to.
- Continue promoting on social media throughout the party.
- When you’re finished, follow the instructions on your chosen tool to close the party down.
What are blog carnivals?
Now let’s tackle the beast known as a blog carnival. Like a linky party, the carnival post will include links to other people’s posts. Unlike a linky party, you host the blog carnival and you decide on all of the content and linked blogs.
Essentially a blog carnival involves you finding a bunch of posts that you like or want to feature, obtaining permission to share (not exactly always necessary, but definitely the smarter route to take), and then creating a list of chosen posts to feature on your blog.
How can you find posts for your blog carnival?
You can put out a cattle call for submissions. Mention the topic you’re seeking posts for and then promote to your network of fellow bloggers. Others do all the work and you just put it in a pretty package for the mutual benefit of everyone involved. It’s a beautiful thing.
There you have it, the Keep It Simple Silly explanation of linky parties and blog carnivals. Now, when newbs shout, “WTF are those?,” you can explain. It’ll make you look smarter. Trust me.
Do you participate in linky parties or host blog carnivals? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!