Friday, 14 August 2015

How To Run A Successful Linky

How To Run A Successful LinkyAs some of you know, I blog about different themes each month. When I originally started doing this, my first theme was fiction. I searched for a linky specific to fiction and I couldn't find one. This lead me to decide to run a linky which coincided with each month's topic. I ran the first one for two weeks, and decided it wasn't working. Why? It was too niche, too limiting, and a lot of bloggers don't write about fiction. I was unwittingly ruling out probably 80%+ of bloggers!
Instead of quitting altogether, I thought about what made the linkys I enjoy joining each week successful. They all had one major factor - they were either open to any type of post, or at least a wide range of posts. That's when my linky, #AnythingGoes was born!
Running a linky isn't as easy as you might think. It's not just a matter of posting it, and then forgetting about it. It is quite time consuming, but I believe the benefits your blog will get from running a linky are worth the time spent on it. Due to it being time consuming, its important to make sure that time is well spent! Read on for my top tips on making your linky successful!
1. Choose your theme wisely
As I mentioned above, try to choose a theme that is inclusionary. If you want to grow your linky, you need it to be open to the majority of bloggers. If you have your heart set on a specific theme, I would never say don't do it. It's just worth considering what you want to gain from it - if you want a lot of link ups, general theming is the way to go. If you are happy to have less link ups, then a more specific theme could work for you.
Recap: The more general your theme, the more potential link ups!
2. Choose a name and badge that reflects the linky's theme
I chose #AnythingGoes, as that literally describes the linky! You want your linky name to reflect the sort of posts people are welcome to link up, and the sort of posts they can expect to read there. Ideally, you want it be catchy, but I would also say keep it simple. I thought of using a Z instead of an S, but I decided against it. It's unlikely anyone will search for that, so you are limiting potential visitors.
With a more general theme, it can be a bit harder to choose what you want your linky's badge to be. I opted for something bright, colourful and fun, as it catches the eye, and hopefully represents the laid back feel to my linky. If you are going specific, choose an image that matches the topic, if not, then choose an image that you feel represents your blog. Again, keep it simple. If the badge is too fussy, people may not want to add it to their site!
Recap: Keep it simple, catchy and relevant!
3. Decide on your rules
I know the word rules can be off putting, but they are quite important to making your linky a success. The most important points to consider are how many posts can a blogger link up (some say 1, some say up to 3, some say as many as you want), and how many of the other link ups are they expected to comment on (usually, the rule is the host's post and at least 2 others). This is also the point in your post where you would mention adding your badge, or a backlink to your site. Some bloggers also make it a rule that you follow them on social media. I don't make it a rule, but having it as a suggestion with the links to follow you is a good idea - linkers will want to keep up to date on when your next linky is!
Recap: How many posts can be linked up per blogger? How many posts are linkers expected to comment on? Any other rules?
4. Decide on your commitment to your linkers, and stick to it!
This is where you need to work out how much time you are willing to commit each week. It is important to be realistic here and not over commit. Don't promise anything you are not willing to do. I committed to re-tweeting any promo tweets that I am tagged in using my Twitter name and the #, pinning any pinnable images to a dedicated Pinterest board and commenting on every post linked up. There is no harm in doing more to promote each post linked up when you have the time, but don't promise it if it might not happen. If all you plan to do is host it and not promote or comment, don't say you will.
Recap: Decide on your level of commitment, and don't over promise!
5. Choose it's go live day and how long it will run for
There seems to be no hard and fast rules with how long a linky should run for. Some run for 1 day, some 3 days, 5 days, a week, a fortnight, a month - it's your choice. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, a one day linky will be a lot easier to promote (one day of intense promotion) but the smaller window means less potential traffic. A month long one gives a lot of potential time to link up, but you might find it runs out of steam towards the end of the month, and you will need to invest more time in promoting it to keep it fresh in people's minds. Also, the longer it runs for, the less chance you have of a reader spotting it in your post list when visiting for something else. I chose 1 week, because it is a happy medium.
The go live day is important. If you run it for several days, you will find that although people will link up on later days, the majority of your link ups will happen on the first day. If you have committed to promoting the link ups, it's a good idea to make it go live on a day you are available online. Also, if there are any issues, you are on hand to resolve them quickly. If you are in a position to be online a lot on more than one day, do a bit of research and try to choose a day with less linkys going live. If you have chosen a niche theme, try to make sure it isn't on a day with ones with similar themes to yours.
Recap: Choose your duration and go live day!
6. Promote it, promote it and promote it!
Once you have decided on your theme, title and badge, start promoting it! Yes, before it goes live. Promote it about a week before the first one is to go live. Use your social media accounts, maybe even do a little post about it. If you can create a little interest before it goes live for the first time, you are more likely to get people linking up straight away.
Once it goes live, the promotion certainly doesn't end there, in fact, this is when it really gets started. Think of the above as a linky pre-game! Once it is live, schedule some promotional tweets to run throughout the duration of it. Mine runs Monday to Sunday. I do most of the promotion on the Monday, but I also do some Tuesday through to Friday.
Don't be shy, talk to bloggers, ask them to link up! If, like me, you join a fair few linkys, you have an advantage here. You will already have an idea which bloggers like taking part in linkys. Tweet them, what's the worst that can happen? Even if they choose not to link up, a lot will still give you a re-tweet. If you don't take part in linkys yourself, have a look at some of the more popular ones to get an idea of regular linkers.
I would also say, if you don't take part in them, you should probably be willing to start - if people are linking up with you every week, why not return the favour if time allows for it!
Once you move onto the second week (or however frequently you choose to run it), invite everyone who linked up back again! Some bloggers choose to do this via email, some through Twitter. I chose Twitter. If you only email, only the recipient sees it. If you tweet it, there's a good chance other people will see it too - the more people who see it, the more potential link ups!
Recap: Promote it early, continue to promote it once it is up and running, invite people to link up!
7. Enjoy it!
Running your own linky should be fun! It's a fantastic way to bring extra traffic to your blog, especially to the post you choose to represent you as your link up, and it's also a fantastic way to find new blogs to read. If it feels like a chore, you will come to dread it and none of us want to feel that way about our blogs!
Recap: Have fun!
8. Don't be afraid to change it
Like anything, it will take time to build your linky. Don't be disheartened if you only get a few link ups at first. If you get a few more each time, then it's working! Be patient! Having said that, if you feel tweaking it (or changing it altogether) will get better results, do it! And if you decide it's not for you, there is no shame in saying so and stopping doing it!
Recap: Be patient in the beginning, change what isn't working!
That's it, my top tips for running a successful linky! I don't profess to be an expert, these are just some things I think will help anyone wanting to start running a linky. Also, with blogging, the only rules are the ones you set yourself - I'm saying this is the "right" way, I'm just saying it worked for me! I hope you find these tips useful!
Do you run a linky? Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments!
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  1. Great tips, running a linky is hard work, but very rewarding. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    1. Thank you :) It is hard, but totally worth it! Thanks for hosting :)

  2. Great tips hun and I know all too well running a linky is hard I have had two others fail completely and one never take off at all. Its still up and down each month but getting better. :) Thanks for linking to Share With Me I hope to see you again soon #sharewithme

    1. Sometimes, it can be a trial and error thing, finding the one that works best for you. #sharewithme always does really well :) Thanks for hosting!

  3. Great post. As always! I agree with it all. Sometimes it's trial and error. But all the points will definitely help. #blogstorm

    1. Thank you :) I agree about the trial and error, sometimes you have to play about with it a bit. Thanks for hosting :)

  4. This is fab Debbie - it's all about the promotion. I think so many of the general themes are open to more link ups and have that many more than some of the smaller specific themes. This has also reminded me that I've not linked to #AnythingGoes yet, despite promising too! #blogstorm

    1. Yes, I enjoy linking up to some of the smaller niche ones, but they are so hard to promote! It's open now if you want to link up (shameless plug there lol!) Thanks for hosting :)