Diana Rambles: How to Host a Successful Linky Party

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to Host a Successful Linky Party

Bloggers love to participate in linky parties, especially thumbnail (small photo) linkies. They want to show off what they've been blogging about and have people visit their blog. Less than 2 months ago (Sept 2011) I started a new blog and then created a weekly linky party that has become very popular. Having your linky party succeed requires more than a good idea. Here are my suggestions for creating a successful blog linky party.
1. Decide what you want your focus to be and identify your audience. 4 months ago I decided to start making bentos for my daughter's lunch. I found myself searching online for ideas and came across many bloggers who make bentos. Some of these bloggers were already connected to each other and some were not. I decided to start a new blog that would bring bento bloggers together. I found a few bento linkies but none had a theme. I decided to call mine Bento of the Week and to have a different theme each week. I list the upcoming themes on the sidebar so that people can plan ahead. I also decided to have voting as part of the link-up. This allows for a favorite to be picked each week. This favorite is posted on the sidebar as the featured bento the following week and the winner gets a fancy blinkie blog button announcing their win and their bento pinned on a Featured board at Pinterest.
Do your research and find out what other similar linky parties there are out there. How will yours be unique? What will get people to come back and participate each week? Will there be voting or a winner picked? Will there be an actual prize or will certain links be featured? Where will you find bloggers to invite to participate?

2. Create your link-up guidelines and create an identifiable linky party button. While it can be difficult to know exactly how your link party will go, set some initial guidelines. Put basic guidelines in each party post post. Full guidelines can be listed and linked separately. Do you require the participants to follow your blog or comment? Do you want them to post your button or link back to you? New participants might not know how to participate. You can see a tutorial on how to submit a link to an InLinkz Link-Up Linky here.
Having an identifiable party button is also important. This will allow people to recognize your blog party. It's a bonus if the button ties in with your overall blog design. You want to stand out from others and have people remember you and having a unique look to your blog/button will do this. You can see how I did this with Bento Blog Network. Make sure that the font on your button is easily read. If people have to squint to read the text then you will be remembered for the wrong thing. It's also a good idea to make sure your blog is organized so that people can easily navigate around and quickly find what they are after.

3. Create an account at InLinkz. Bloggers seem to use either Linky Tools or InLinkz for their linky parties. Linky Tools is slow and sometimes doesn't show on some browsers. InLinkz is quick, easy, and user friendly. They have text-only (free to use) and thumbnail link-ups linkies. There is a charge for InLinkz, but it is worth it. Starting a collection for an Link-Up at InLinkz is fairly straight-forward and there are all kinds of parameters & modifications you can put on your linky collection. Check out InLinkz today!

4. Create your first party post. This is the exciting part~ making your linky party live. List the guidelines, format your post so everything looks nice, and publish. Make sure you or a friend have something that can be added to the linky right away so that people see participation.

5. Visit blogs of your target audience and invite them to participate. This is a great way to let people know about your party. You can leave a comment saying something like I love how you created the smiley face. This would be perfect for this week's 'Linky Party' at (name of your blog). Make sure to include a link. You will be doing a lot of these type of comments the first few weeks but it will be well worth it. Find people via comments, other parties, Pinterest, or other places. You should also list your linky party at Link Rink.

6. Visit & thank EVERY participant. This might seem like a daunting task, but people participate in your party to show off what they've posted about. Visit their post and leave a comment regarding the link (such as That is so adorable!) and thank them for their participation. It's also a good idea to follow their blog. This also makes you stand out as a caring blogger, not just someone who is trying to get people to visit your blog. I've stopped participating in some link-ups because the host NEVER acknowledged my participation or visited my blog. That tells me that they don't care that I linked or that they think they are too busy or important to comment. My Halloween themed bento link-up had 93 participants (excellent for the 5th week of the linky party) and while I didn't comment on all 93 links, I made sure I commented on every blog represented and thanked them. Make sure you follow up/respond to comments that people leave for you. Find more comment tips here. These will also help with your success!

7. Make any necessary adjustments. It might take a few rounds of your party to iron out the bugs. Make sure to inform your readers of any changes. It's also a good idea to have a contact link so people can email you with questions or suggestions. If you get any emails, respond right away!

8. Don't take things personally. If things don't go as you planned, don't get discouraged. Participation might not be as you hoped or no one comments on something you post or someone leaves a negative comment or complains. Don't get upset, don't take it personally, and remain neutral!

9. Plan ahead. If you are going to be out of town or have a super busy week coming up, set the linky to post. InLinkz allows you to set up a new linky (collection) ahead of time.

10. Continue to network. Keep it up with #5 & #6, even after your linky party has taken off!

Creating a successful blog linky party is rewarding, but it takes a lot of time. You can meet new bloggers, get lots of new readers/followers, get great ideas from one another, and have fun!