Friday 13 January 2012

Getting the most out of Linky's, Blog Hop's & Meme's

It is January and that tends to mean an influx of new bloggers appearing on the scene and I am all to aware that the blogsphere can be a confusing world to arrive in. It is like there is a secret language that bloggers share with SEO, backlinks, HTML, alt tags, pagerank, technoratti, meme's, linky's, blog hops and so on. Help, what do they all mean? Not only that, all of a sudden you realise people are reading what you have written, ekk or maybe that people are not reading and you wonder why not?  So many questions...

New Bloggers Fortnight

Well fear not because there is lots of help at hand. First start to visit some of the great blogging communities out there, like BritMums (if you are a parent), Love All Blogs, Blogger.Ed and Tots100. Then come back here in early February and enjoy two weeks of guest posts from new(ish) bloggers for brand new bloggers.  Last year I held the first New Bloggers Fortnight and it was very successful; go and take a look at some of the posts, they are still totally valid now. Read about other peoples journeys in blogging, how to build relationships, why you should find your own voice and the stress of being the newbie.

The two weeks commencing 6th February will see my blog being taken over by new bloggers sharing their experience, strength and encouragement with you. If there is a particular subject you would like to see written about, leave me a comment and I will see what I can russel up for you!

For today, as a taster I thought I would share about linkys, blog hops and meme's, as getting involved in these is one of the easiest way to start to feel at home in the blogsphere, encourage some comments and to feel like you are making some mates - all good, right?

What is a Meme?

Different people tend to have slightly different definitions but the Urban Dictionary says 'that in blogspeak a meme is an idea that is spread from blog to blog'.  Basically one person writes a post and tags other bloggers to write on the same subject.  They then link back to that original post and if it spreads well it becomes a big web of blog posts all around the same subject that are linked together. Back in March last year I created the 1 Word Meme and that spread pretty well. Others  I have created have bombed but never mind it is all good experience.

As a new blogger, do not feel you need to create a meme, you may not have the know how, confidence or community yet to be able to pass it on. Get involved with ones that are already out there, if you see a meme you like, ask the blogger for a tag, most people will not mind at all. You need to be brave as a new blogger and just jump in and say hi and ask for what you want.

Then once you take part, make sure you link back to the person who tagged you (ask if you are not sure how) and link to some more new bloggers that you have found on your travels through cyberspace.

Weekly Linky's and Blog Hop's

For me, I believe that a blog hop and a linky are the same thing, people just use different names. I host a weekly linky here called Reasons to be Cheerful or #R2BC if you are on twitter. Each week I post my reasons for being cheerful and grateful and other bloggers write posts on their blogs on the same concept and then they use the linky tool to link up with me.  Then anybody that comes here will also be exposed to your post that you have linked up and that is a great as a new blogger, as the 7500 people that come here each month also now know about you too.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

There are absolutely loads of different blog hops available for you to join up, every day of the week if your heart so desired. Love All Blogs are putting together a good comprehensive list at the moment.  A few of my favourites are -

Kates Takes 5 - Listography
Sticky Fingers - The Gallery
Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day
3 Bedroom Bungalow - Dear So and So...

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of blog hop's/ linky's
  • Write a good post; re-read and spell check it. If it is being exposed to a new audience you want it to be your best work.
  • Link up as soon as you can after the linky list goes live, it is just the way it is that those who link up first get the most hits.  If you link up a day or 2 later you will probably not feel the benefit in terms of traffic and comments.
  • If it is a blog hop, take the code from the blog hop and inset it on your blog, it makes life far easier for people who want to follow the linky list. (Again, if you are not sure how, just ask).
  • Make sure you visit some other blogs in the linky.  Think about it, if you don't, why should they?  Blogging is reciprocal and 2 way.
  • Don't just visit them, comment as well (this is a subjective one, some people say if it does not move you then don't comment for the sake of it.  I personally say that if you are new and you want to encourage people to visit you then do comment on every post you read.  Even if it is a 'Hi, first time I have stopped by here, nice to meet you').
  • Do not copy and paste the same comment on every post in the linky, you will be blackballed in no time!
  • Leave the host a comment when you link up. It is very disheartening as a host to see 10 posts linked up and only 2 comments.  Hey, what happened to the rest of you? I took time to write my post too, do you have no opinion on it?  but do you expect me to visit yours and comment? 
  • Use the linky hashtag to promote your post (and in doing so, all the others in the linky) on twitter.
  • Enjoy doing the linky, if you are just doing it for hits then it is the wrong reason and it won't work out for you. 
  • Try not to just post linkys on your blog. It is really good to mix your type of content on your blog, the same every day rarely works.  So perhaps a linky on a Monday, regular unprompted post on a Weds, use a BritMums blogging prompt on a Fri and another linky on Saturday or whatever your personal posting pattern is. I have seen enough twitter conversations to know that a linky post every day of the week will turn many readers off.
However, I leave you with one nugget of wisdom that always applies. It is your blog and therefore your rules and you must suit yourself.

New bloggers - any thoughts of posts you would like to see during New Bloggers fortnight? and what linkys have you joined in with so far?

Established Bloggers - Do you agree with my tips or am I talking rubbish?
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