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Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Make the Most of a Blog Linky

Memes, linkies, linkys, Mr.Linky, McLinky, blog hops, blog party, whatever you want to call them: those tools that allow you to link up on others' blogs, with a post that you have written.

Are you guilty of linking and then complaining that it's not worth it because you don't get anything in return?

I'll tell you some hints on how to make the most of them!

First of all, before we even get started, make sure that YOU are following the rules for whatever linky you are joining in with. 
  • You should be linking directly to a particular post, not to your home page. That way, if someone follows the linky the next day or days later, they can find what post you meant to link.

  • Somewhere in the post, you should mention that you are participating in a link up- most have a button, but if you don't use that, you should at least include a text link back. Otherwise, it might not be obvious that you are joining in and the person managing the links might delete yours. Plus, it's good manners: the linky gives you traffic, you should give your readers a way to find it, too.

  • Make sure that you really are participating in what you are linking to: do not link a giveaway or a follow me post to something like MamaKat's Writer's Workshop or my Pour Your Heart Out. I do monitor and will delete those as spam.

Now that you have your post done and are linked up, here are some tips to make the most of a linky:

  • Try to link up as early in the day as you can. While I don't think you need to fight to be first, if you link at the end of the day, you aren't going to get as much traffic.

  • Do NOT just link and run. If you link and then do not visit anyone else, do not expect a ton of traffic.

  • Visit as many of the other linkers as you can. You can do this in any order that you want- you don't have to go in order.  Visit the ones after yours, visit the odd numbers, the evens, the ones that end in 3 or 4 or whatever number you choose.  For a huge linky like the Ultimate Blog Party,  where yes, I was like #574 to link up, I started visiting those directly above me and worked my way up. Then, I started visiting those who linked up after me.

  • Leave a thoughtful comment when you do visit. Saying "I'm stopping by from  Pour Your Heart Out, come visit me at ....." really doesn't do anything to encourage someone to visit you. A comment like that means you probably didn't read their post, so why should they go read yours?  We all want our words to be heard- show you've read theirs and they will be more likely to go read yours, too.

  • The same goes for if someone comments on your post from the linky- do not go to their blog and just say "Thanks for visiting my blog!" without reading their words.

  • You can mention where you are visiting from or thank someone for visiting your blog- but there should be more to your comment.

  • An exception might be if you are participating in a Follow Blog Hop. However, if you cannot find anything to say about that blog, then WHY are you following?

  • Don't get discouraged- some people do return visits and others don't.  But, the more that you try, the more likely that others will find you, too.
A blog linky is what you make of it!  They can be great places to find new blogs, but YOU have to be an active participant. There isn't a magic linky out there that will draw in tons of new readers without you doing any work.

Do you participate in linkies? Do you have any tips to add or stories to share?



Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

I don't do linkies because it's overwhelming. It's like going to a giant party and hiding behind the table with the lemonade.

April 4, 2011 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

These tips are so important. I have people that break them on my meme every now and again.

April 4, 2011 at 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good tips!

I've gotten out of the habit of going to alot of meme's because of the amount of time involved.

April 4, 2011 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Good tips. I found some blogs I am anxious to read at the blog party this weekend!!

(I used the time I should have spent folding laundry. Oh well.)

April 4, 2011 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

Great tips. I know we've talked about these before. The part about the comments is so true!

April 4, 2011 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I agree that it's fine to say where you're visiting from, but only after you leave a comment relevant to the post.

For big link ups, I try to visit people above me. At the end of the day, I try to go back and visit the people at the bottom of the list because, quite often, they don't get much traffic from the link up.

April 4, 2011 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Charlene Juliani said...

Great tips Shell!

To be honest, I've been guilty of breaking a few of these...like accidently adding my blog home page, instead of my post (honest mistake, I swear lol).

Or adding a post and then getting busy or forgetting where I posted and didn't get the time to go back and visit. On those, I consider it my fault for not getting comments or whatnot, you know what I mean?

I hate the ones where people comment and never come back.....or the comments like you mentioned. If I spend alot of time writing a post, I'd like someone to comment on the post, not just give me some generic "hi" comment.

I try to follow up on comments, but it can be overwhelming sometimes. But everyone feels that way, I'm sure...we are all busy with kids, work or whatever and have been guilty of it at least once in awhile.

Thanks for posting these tips!

April 4, 2011 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Renegades said...

I think it also is encouraging when the hosts of the linkys comment. You are great about that.

April 4, 2011 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger MrsHull said...

Thanks for posting this. It is a great reminder to everyone. I hate it when people leave comments like, "following you from ------, hope you'll follow me back." It feels so insulting, as if the only reason they are following me is to get a follow back, not to make a friend or because they liked my content.

April 4, 2011 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like to participate in more of the open-ended memes, like PYHO and MamaKat's. I seriously detest follow hops, because you don't really get a clear picture of the writer's style.

It's a bummer that the time of day you post affects your traffic, but it's sad but true. Our house is on more of a second-shift schedule, so I never get things linked up in the morning!

April 4, 2011 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger John said...

I'm horrible about telling a blogger that I've linked to something from them. Absolutely horrible.

Of course, the fact that my memory works in weird ways doesn't help. See, blog posts, for some reason, reside in the "long term memory" part of my mind. Once I've read it, it's there - forever and ever. Most of the time, I can actually recall a topic and who wrote it...my google-fu is good enough to get me to find the specific post, so I'll post to a random blog entry from a time long past on a random blog way after the fact.

Those who actually follow the referrers are always fun when they comment "really? to a post from 6 months ago, that isn't even relevant anymore?"

"It was funny at the time" is how I always reply - it's even better when I do it within blog comments :-)

April 4, 2011 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Ya I've gotten out of link ups too.I would on days I'm not working like to do more of them though.

April 4, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

this was a great post and reminder. I remember the first time I linked (and it wasn't that long ago considering) and I was amazed that I knew how to do it and how it works to bring people to you.

All great ideas Shell, thanks for teaching us how to be a good "linked" community :)

April 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

This is great Shell. A linky is totally what you make of it. :)

April 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

This is great! It took me a while to figure out all the linky stuff when I first started to do them. This list is very helpful!

April 4, 2011 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Elena Wollborg said...

These are really good tips! You know what else I'd like to know? How you grew "Pour Your Heart Out" - tips as a blogger on how to grow your own link-up.

April 4, 2011 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Great tips. I want to do more linkys but I found the one I did was quite time consuming. I am hoping to get into them more in the next week or two. Maybe pick one a week for now and get up a little earlier that day to be able to participate fully.

April 4, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Moments and Impressions said...

This is great! I try to visit the "party" daily for about 10-15 minutes. Pop in to a few new blogs, say hi and follow some new friends!

April 4, 2011 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

These are really great tips. I don't usually participate in a lot of link ups, mostly because I feel like I can't devote the time to reading a lot of the other linkup's. I don't like to link and run, so I feel like I shouldn't link up if I can't pay it forward to other linkees!

April 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Desperate Housemommy said...

Well said. A lot of these tips are just general good bloggy etiquette. Bottom line: Treat others as you'd like them to treat you.

April 4, 2011 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger MrsJenB said...

Such great tips. I actually had to reduce the # of linkys I've been participating in throughout the week because it's impossible to keep up with everyone - visiting eventually becomes a second full-time job of its own!

And I cannot stand it when people link to their home page rather than the relevant post - I don't want to have to hunt it down. Especially when I'm visiting dozens of other blogs!

April 4, 2011 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great tips! My pet peeve is when I see a comment that says "Visiting from...come follow me!" It even annoys me when I see this on someone else's page. ]

April 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Pamela Gold said...

Oh, I cannot stand when people just say where they're stopping in from and don't even read my post. Some people are really just about the number of followers and stats. Sad really.

April 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Great post Shell! I love the one where you tell us to make sure we leave a comment that lets the blogger know we READ the post. I try really hard to keep from sounding generic, beacuse I know I hate to get those kind of comments.

April 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous tracy said...

These are great tips. I do not link up much anymore for things - but when I do, it is so fun to find new blogs this way and be part of the linky instead of just linking and running.

April 4, 2011 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Shell! :)

April 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Lourie said...

I can't think of anything to add. Really it's good manners and good sense....oh and follow the host blogger's rules. ;)

April 4, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I appreciated these guidlines... I feel like I've learned/ am learning a lot about blogging from you, and am grateful for the advice. You're like my blog-Yoda!!

April 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This is great advice. I think it is always good to leave a comment on the host's page as well. Don't just link and run.

April 4, 2011 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger thechattymommy said...

Following you back from UBP!
Thanks for stopping by.

April 4, 2011 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger PBJdreamer said...

Thanks for the tips.

I still have no idea what I am doing and I have been blogging three months.

I do a regular post on Tuesdays called Gratituesday. I want to encourage others to post their own grateful list but I don't know how to make a button or a link up.


that is all

April 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Fantastic tips, Shell! I agree, please don't waste anyone's time by NOT participating and just throwing any ole link in there. It's not cool for those who may see it before the link-host does, and it's not cool for the host, as well. :)

April 4, 2011 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I love these tips Shell and they are so true. You can't link up to something and then not do any work reading other blogs. I try to visit as many as I can when I link up with others.

And the comments that just say "visiting from ..." are pointless. Read the post and leave a comment that has something to do with the post.

April 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Liz Mays said...

I just totally forgot my comment because while I was scrolling down to write it, I saw a comment stating only that they were following you back from the hop. I burst out laughing because you just talked about that on this post!

April 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Cindi said...

Thanks so much for the great tips Shell. Definitely helpful for beginners, like me. Learning this stuff one linky at a time. (LoL)

April 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Great advice! Yes I hate when people just say come visit my blog. It is almost a guarantee I won't if that is all they say.

April 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Hutch said...

All of those are so true! If anyone tells me to come visit in a comment I usually don't. If they don't and they're a new visitor, 99% of the time I will go visit them back. The 1% is when I forget, which does happen :)

April 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Such great tips...its always upsetting to see people linking up then not leaving a comment. You are like a blog rockstar yet you still manage to visit and leave comments.

April 4, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Great tips, my biggest pet peeve is when people link to their home page or link to a post that has nothing to do with the linky. Thanks for such a great post.

April 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Sweet Little Smoothie said...

Such a great reminder! Honestly, I love linky's for all the inspiration out there - I've found 90% of the blogs that I now follow from linky parties. It's awesome to get traffic, but it's just as awesome (in my lil opinion) to find new ideas, techniques etc through visting all the other link ups.

ps - I'm stopping by from the UBP :)

April 4, 2011 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

I do participate in linkys and host one myself. Thoughtful comments on the other participating blogs is really the only way to get out what you want from the linky. Visiting participants and commenting, actually commenting thoughtfully, will earn you some comments on your blog. I suggest expecting to receive about 10% the number of comments back that you send out.

April 4, 2011 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

Ohh, good tips! I usually try to go to the one before and one after (if there is one) and then I usually go to the ones that catch my eye. I'm much more likely to keep reading that way. Let's be honest, I don't want to follow every linky blog I read and they don't all want to follow me, but I have found some great ones through linkies.

April 4, 2011 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm glad you're giving these reminders. And you are good about doing all of this (I've seen you in action). I try to visit people in linkys but I am often late and ... like you said, don't get much in return.

In general I care more about the solid follows and reciprocal visits - friends that come back and people that I can connect with - than I do about sheer number.

Although sheer numbers are really nice too sometimes, huh?

April 4, 2011 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Dot Com said...

Linkys can be fun in the beginning but over time I felt like all i was doing was joining linkies and then by the time THAT was done - i didnt want to comment on blogs - and I think commenting is much MORE important. I'm working really hard on getting better at commenting. You always do such a good job. What is your secret!? LOL

April 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger A Mommy in the City said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

April 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Thanks for the awesome tips!! I'm kind of new to the blogging world, so this post was very helpful!

April 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

These are such great tips, and you have to love the irony. People, why are you commenting if you don't at least read the post?? I think the best thing is to always manage expectations. Even if you're the next Emily Dickinson, some people are only out to link up, leave their own link, etc. Not everyone has the same goals and motivation so it can really alter the effectiveness of linkys!

April 4, 2011 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Simoney said...

Great advice Shell.
I am sometimes guilty of the "link and run" style, though I always link up a proper post and comply with the rules. I'm finding my blogging time severely limited at the moment, I would love to be able to visit and comment on lots of other people's links cos I know when I do, I get traffic! so you are 100% spot on with that.
Otherwise it's just hit and miss.
BUT I always do try to leave a decent comment when I visit. I can say that for myself.
{You always have great advice and tips, thanks Shell!}

April 4, 2011 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Great advice. I tend to stick to Memes where I'm posting with a purpose. I don't have a lot of time to visit people, but I always email back and visit people who comment on my posts.

I stopped doing Blog Hops for the most part, because I found I wanted people to follow me for me and not just because the Blog Hop told them too. When I was participating and visiting those "above me" I often found I really wasn't interested in following, and that's not fair, so I stopped.

April 4, 2011 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

This is great, Shell. I do linkys, especially with memes I'm passionate about. . I find them helpful in keeping me consistent with posting blog entries throughout the week. Otherwise days and weeks will go by without me posting anything on my blog. The perks for me: fresh, new topics I get to write about and the new bloggy friendships I get to form.

April 4, 2011 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

These are very good suggestions. I find myself speed reading - especially with the UPB - and dropping the I stopped by without really pointing out something I liked or found interesting. Other times, I find myself so touched that I cannot add a thing to what they have said. Thanks for the helpful hints to a new blogger like me (and thx for stopping by).

April 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tips! :) They are definitely what gets you the most traffic.

April 4, 2011 at 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Lynsey said...

These are great tips! I am very guilty of linking and running sometimes. Like last week over at Mama Kat's, I linked up then went out of town! Ooops! At least I'm visiting you now, even though I'm a few days late and dollars short. :)

April 4, 2011 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great tips! Some I follow the rules and sometimes I don't. I always give a thoughtful comment and follow back though.

April 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Making It Work Mom said...

It is so funny because I feel like your tips are so much a part of common courtesy. Obviously the same way you would treat someone in real life. At least the way I would hope you would treat people in real life!

April 4, 2011 at 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Valuable tips. I especially like the one about leaving a thoughtful comment. "Great post" in my comments makes me crazy. I want to tell them to please say why it's great! Yes, I'm just that needy as a blogger. :) Btw, thanks for stopping by my blog today. :)

April 4, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

This is such great advice it almost makes me want to participate in a Linky.

But no.

Just no.

April 4, 2011 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Helene said...

Great points!! There's nothing I can't stand more than someone who simply leaves a comment advertising their blog and that you should follow them. I used to be really good about visiting some of the blogs on the linkies but lately have been super bad about it. But when I do have the time to leave a comment, I try to make sure it's something heartfelt and/or meaningful to let the blogger know I read every word and that it affected me in some way. That's what we all hope for, in the long run...that our writing has affected someone in one way or another. It's just nice to let someone know that their writing matters.

April 5, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I get so frustrated at times with linky's...rarely do I participate because I usually only get 50 percent in return. I have signed up for some, I just don't link up to everyone I see. I have learned in my year of doing many of these.

I have been bypassing all the blogs that didn't like up correctly at the UBP11...too frustrating.

April 5, 2011 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Great tips. I try not to do linkies because I hate the "follow me" comments; especially after I take the time to read and comment on their blog. Ugh.

April 5, 2011 at 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Mom Went Crazy said...

You're so right! I stopped doing blog hops because I would just get a bunch of comments like "Hi, visiting from ABC blog hop. Follow me back!" This pretty much guarantees I will never visit their blog.

April 5, 2011 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Andi said...

Great tips! I am thinking about doing my first one this month and I am definitely going to use these as best practice! Perfect timing!

April 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Kristy @Loveandblasphemy said...

I have fun with linkys. If I can't visit a whole bunch, I make my minimum at least 2 blogs to visit. If that's the case, I don't expect much in return of course. Some days are like that - just crazy busy! I saw your "letting go" piece for SITS. Loved it!

April 5, 2011 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Good Company said...

Okay I was stopping by to invite you to our new creative storytelling meme:


and then thought maybe you would know something about blog buttons. I put one on the sidebar, but when I put it in a post, it doesn't go anywhere . . .

April 5, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Anne - Mommy Has to Work said...

thanks for pointing all these out! If I'm leaving a following comment, I always, always, comment about the post too. It's only polite.

April 5, 2011 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

I think these are great tips. Although I participate in parties, I try to be selective about how many I choose. A lot of times, I don't think the content of party posts are as high of quality as other posts so I limit the number of party posts I do.

Parties may allow me to attract new readers, but I want to keep the interest of my regular readers and others whwo maay not be participating in the party.

April 5, 2011 at 10:40 PM  

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