What is a Link party?
Link parties are found on blog posts on websites/blogs and usually have some sort of cutesy name, like Wedded Wednesdays, Thrifty Thursdays, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday that stays with that link party week to week (or month to month) for easy reference. Most link parties are weekly, and are posted at the exact same time every week. Some will sign you up for an email reminder list (automatically, or as an opt-in feature) so that you will reminded each week, and know when the party goes live (aka, when the post is published).
Link parties usually have specific rules and themes. As there are a gazillion different types of blogs out there, there are just as many different types of link parties. Some want to feature all things creative – DIY and crafts and recipes. Others have a spiritual focus, or parenting, or marriage, or beauty, or book reviews, etc. I’ll talk more about good linking practices in a bit, but, let’s just say, it is not okay to drop any of your blog posts onto any link party.
Link parties always have a host, the person who published the post. Sometimes link parties have multiples hosts or visiting co-hosts, who are also publishing the very same link up. When there are multiple hosts, your links are being seen on multiple sites, and without you having to manually input your link (I’ll tell you how soon) on each one. It does it automatically. This is a huge pro of linking up to larger pin parties – more people will see your link.
But, ultimately, a link party is for like-minded (or just like-genred) bloggers to share posts with each other in an approved manner.
Where can I find a link party?
There are actually entire websites devoted to being a link party directory, just for bloggers like you! I recommend looking at LinkyTools Link Party Directory for a list of blog link up parties.
However, I know one of the things I did in the beginning was simply ask some of my other blogging friends if they knew of some good link parties or even hosted any. But, as not all link parties are the same, I suggest reaching out to bloggers in your niche, or to search blogger’s pages, as many may list buttons in their sidebars for the various link up parties they are regularly linking up to, or they may even have a page dedicated to them (like I do). This is very helpful in finding relevant link parties for the content you create. Keep in mind that some bloggers stop doing link parties eventually, and new ones start up all the time too.
How do I link up at a link party?
There are several different link up tools and companies that bloggers use for hosting link parties. The most popular ones are inlinkz and linkytools. I personally love inlinkz as they preload your images. However, both of these services cost you money, unless you are doing text-only link parties. Most link parties however show images, as we are a pretty visual people anymore thanks to Pinterest and social media at large.
At the bottom of the post that is hosting a link party (and you might have to scroll past 100 other links first) there will say either “Add your link” or “Click Here to Enter.”
Then they will ask you for three things – Name(Caption/Title), URL, and Email. You will also be prompted to select your image, which you can either manually upload from your computer, will be preloaded for you, or you can add from your blog post via “From Web.”
When it says “Name” do NOT enter your name! I hate that is labeled this way, when really it is asking you what your blog post is titled, or what text you want to show in connection with the image that will show in the link party. Don’t make this rookie mistake when linking up. Also, many link parties limit how many characters are allowed (due to space restrictions on their blog or personal preference) so you might have to get a tad creative to come up with a 15 or 30 character title that will draw in readers, making them want to click and learn more. Because, ultimately, that is what you want to do with the “name.”
When entering the URL, do NOT link up to your homepage. You must link up to a SPECIFIC blog post. As much as you love everything you write, a link party is not for sharing your entire blog.
When it comes to the email address, some bloggers require that you leave one, as well as a name too. Others do not. If it is optional, I always chose to leave it off (and save a little time).
And last you will set your image to be shown in the link up. All link ups use square images, so you’ll have to get creative with your cropping if the image is not already square. Since images are the first thing people will see, and can be very small in the link up, make that image stand out!
And then click submit! And you are linked up!
What do I do after I link up?
Well, most bloggers hosting link up parties ask you to follow them on various social media channels. Some ask you to pin others’ posts. Some ask you to visit at least 3 other linkers posts. Some don’t do any of that. It really just depends. But, the purpose of link parties is to share, and part of sharing is caring about your fellow linkers. While, of course, you are not expected to read every other post shared, try to find a few that look interesting to you and leave a (meaningful) comment, letting them know you that you read their content, and you found them from that link party. It’s also nice to tweet or share about the party so other people can find it.
Pros and Cons of Linking up at Link Parties
Linking up is a great way to find other awesome blogs, either the hosting sites themselves, or through all the other bloggers linking. This is important when working to develop your blogging tribe. You want to find and connect with others! You need to if you want to be a successful blogger. Absolutely need to. Link parties, comments, and following others, can help you get to know them, and figure out if you really like them, and if they really like you.
You will also gain pageviews! Inevitably, if you link up to several link parties each week, you will get some visitors, page views, and maybe even some new followers!
You will gain comments! I have found that link parties are the best way to get comments on your blog posts. It was one of my favorite things about linking up. I love meaningful comments, and I don’t know a blogger who doesn’t!
You could get featured! Many, but not all, blog link up parties will feature 3 or more posts form the previous weeks’ link up. And often they will share, pin, and promote the posts they feature on their various social media channels. This means you could potentially get a much bigger traffic boost! I know I was featured on some link parties a few times and I loved all the extra traffic that came my way from it. In fact, some bloggers recommend only linking up to parties where there are featured posts, but I don’t agree with that personally. Some “smaller” link parties with no featured posts brought me the best link party traffic.
Time. Linking up to link parties, and lots of them, every day, or several days a week, takes time, especially if you are doing it appropriately and reading and commenting on a few links shared by other bloggers at each party you link up to.
Plus, because you often want to be one of the first to link up to a party, it might mean rearranging your schedule, or being at your computer, right when these things start, which can be taxing on other parts of your life. I say it is recommended to link up quickly after it begins because some link parties are so very large that they actually have two (or more) pages of links. If you aren’t on that first page, chances are you won’t be seen by nearly as many people, so you won’t get pageviews or comments. If you are one of the very first links submitted, everyone else that links up will have to scroll past it. It greatly increasing your chance of getting read. However, some bloggers set up their link parties so that the links rotate and aren’t ordered by when they are submitted.
To get featured, it’s often about receiving the most clicks. I hate this, because it doesn’t actually mean the best content is being featured, it usually just means they were one of the first people getting their links submitted, or they happened to have a better picture or title, even if the content itself wasn’t really that awesome. When I hosted the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up I went through and read every post and featured the posts that I felt had the best content, even if no one had read their post other than me the previous week.
You really get so little pageviews sometimes. Seriously. There are some link parties that would bring me zero traffic. None. Or they would bring me maybe a handful. Taking the time to link up (though only a few minutes per party) seemed so stupid if it wasn’t benefiting from it. The Return On Investment wasn’t always adding up. My advice on this is to track your pageviews from the various sources over a month’s time and see which link parties are duds and which ones are working for you. Don’t waste your time on blogging things if there is no ROI.
How do I host a link up party?
If you are interested in hosting a link up party, it’s really as simple as coming up with a name for your party, what day of the week and what time you want it to go live, any rules, copying and pasting some linky code, and gathering any co-hosts you may want to join in on the fun. Or, you can simply ask to join a link party that is already going as a co-host. You have to also make some sort of badge for it, that people can put in their sidebar or link party page.
Pros and Cons of Hosting a Link up party?
When you are the host of the link up party you can run it however you want! If you want everyone who links up to follow you on your social media channels, you can do that. If you want to feature posts every week you can. If you want people to follow each other, leave comments, pin stuff, etc, you can make that part of the linky rules. If you want to self-promote your blog on the reminder emails about the link up party, you can do that too! There is freedom in hosting.
Pageviews. If you have a large party, you will get a lot of pageviews from everyone that links up. And every pageview is another ad impression, another chance for them to like your other site’s content. However, be aware that many linkers aren’t staying around for you. They are only thinking about themselves and their blogs. They want people to read their stuff.
Finding awesome bloggers and content to share! This is one of the best things about hosting. When you host you can find some inspiration for your own writing, have an idea of what topics are trending in your niche, gather posts for a round-up, and help promote your fellow bloggers.
The connections with other bloggers. I have found that hosting a link party gives you the added bonus of reading the same few blogs over and over again, allowing you to get to know these bloggers better. From hosting my link party I have connected with at least two awesome bloggers who are becoming good friends and who have both guest posted on my site.
Link party posts are dead after a week. They aren’t evergreen content. They aren’t pin-worthy, reshareable, or interesting to most people who aren’t bloggers. This means they will not bring in a lot of pageviews in the long run. Link parties are generally only for those who are bloggers themselves. That is, unless you are specifically, and purposefully writing an original, awesome post, with a link party at the end of the post. I know some bloggers who do this. And I think it’s smart of them. They are increasing their ROI for hosting a link party.
The time. This is a huge con for me. If you are a good host, you try to hit up as many, if not all, of the posts linked up each week, leaving comments, pinning to a group board for the link up, scheduling some to share on your SM platforms, and then picking features, writing the reminder emails, and the next week’s post too. It all takes time! For my link party, which was fairly small with anywhere from 20-40 links, it would take over an hour to do all of that. And I didn’t always leave comments or shares. My time is precious as a work-at-home mom with three young kids to tend to. Two hours of work for something that doesn’t bring me a lot of pageviews is hard to justify.
Link parties are a great way to get other bloggers to find, like, and comment on your content. If you get lucky, you could even have your stuff shared or featured and garner a lot of pageviews from the few minutes it took to drop your link! Unfortunately, this isn’t very common. And in my experience, there are lot of other, more efficient ways to connect with bloggers and get your content shared. It can be a good way to get new followers, initially, but most people come to abuse link parties and don’t visit anyone else linking up. We are all short on time. However, if you are a good commenter and linker, link parties are a great way to find similar blogs to your own, and make connections that can be extremely important to your future career as a blogger.
Do you link up? Do you host a party? What do you think are the benefits and disadvantages of them?