Yesterday I went over how to successfully start a linky party or blog hop and included 5 reasons why starting a blog hop or link party is a great addition to a blog. I have loved hosting a blog hop over the years. It has definitely helped my blog to grow as well as allowed me to meet so many other great bloggers. Below are 5 more tips for starting your new blog hop!
How to start a link up:
1. Decide what kind of link up you want
Do you want to do a topical link up or a general blog hop? A Prioritized Marriage has a great example of a marriage goal link up. There are tons of general linky parties out there. Some other neat ideas I have seen are DIY linky parties, recipe linky parties, homeschooling resources linky parties, “share your heart” linky parties, and more. I chose to do a general blog hop where anyone can join, but decided to focus it on content rather than a pic of the blog button and blog name. I liked the idea of bloggers choosing their favorite post from the week to link up, and making it a “meet and greet” sort of blog hop. Do you want it to be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or randomly? All these factors go into making your link party fun and unique!
2. Write your post
Next, write your post out in your editor. Explain the goals of the link party or blog hop, any rules you have (must follow your host, etc), and the time and day of the week of the event. Include an image or blog button people can share. It is yours, so be creative! Look around at other blogs for ideas.
3. Decide if you want another blogger to host it, and if you want co-hosts
Hosting your own blog hop is a lot of work. Missing weeks greatly reduces bloggers from returning to the hop again, so you want to be consistent. Having another host helps cut the work in half, and having another partner means if you are having a rough week you have some help (and vise versa). It also means more promotion, since both of your followers will see the link party and be able to join. Co-hosts are people who host the party for you and promote the party for week or several weeks, but are not long term hosts. They benefit from getting more page views, a special pic and description of their blog, and a premium link on the linky party.
4. Use a link party tool
Next, you have to host the linky party. There are several tools out there to host it easily. I use inlinkz, but there is also Linky Tools, Simply Linked, and more. I like inlinkz because it allows my participants to include a photo in their link, making it more appealing to click on. These tools allow you to copy and paste your code into WordPress, Bloggers, or Typepad (always make sure you paste the code in HTML). Follow the directions and you will find it is not difficult to host your own blog hop or link party each week. I pay a small fee each month to ensure my participants can post thumbnails rather than just links.
Once all your hard work is accomplished and you host your first link party, make sure you promote your party! The day it goes live, announce it on twitter, Facebook, instagram, pinterest, Google+, and any other outlets you can think of. Invite other bloggers to join. Have a great time and don’t be afraid to let people know!
Some other notes…
-You can also host giveaways during your parties. This is a fun and great way to get more entries in current giveaways or gain more new participants in your blog hop.
-Find a way to have a weekly “winner”. Each week we select one blogger to highlight based on the posts we get. We look at our previous weeks links and pick a post that blew us away. We proudly tout the blogger and give them prime promotion during the hop. It is a really fun way to promote one another.
-Experiment. If something is not working, try a new idea or theme. I have our changed my blog hop design and theme several times. Listen to feedback and change things that are not working.
You will need to stay organized. We have a blog hop calendar that we share in Google Drive that we update with weekly co-hosts. We communicate on a weekly basis and share HTML. Find a system that works for you!
-Consider an email list
When we first started our hop, we made sure to keep a regular email list using MailChimp. Now that we have a steady following, we no longer send out email reminders. It did help us to grow our blog hop. Just be aware of email laws and make your list ethically!