Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Increase Blog Traffic with Link Ups

Want to increase traffic to your blog? Many sites host a "blog carnival," also called a "link up." It's a great way to share your post and meet other bloggers.

Link Up Basics

The Host

Somebody "hosts" the link up by adding a special "link generator code" (also called a "linky"). It's basically a list of links with images. The linky allows their readers to post a thumbnail photo (referred to as a meme) that links to a post on their blog. Click on the meme, and you're sent to the post!

Here's how it works:

Your Link

Click on the button to add your link. (The following example is InLinkz, but they all use a similar technique.) Enter your basic information:

URL (the link to your post)
Name (what will appear under your meme)
Email address (not visible to the public, only the host)

If your link doesn't work, you might get an error message that walks you through a few steps to clear up the problem. But the best thing to do is go to your post, right-click your URL and copy it, then paste it in the field.

Some hosts limit the number of characters in the name, which I think is good. I'm a "less is more" kinda gal anyway, so think of something short and catchy.

Your Image

If the host allows memes, you'll be prompted for an image (not every link up does, but it's more fun to have an image). You have several options:
     Let the linky generate its own image
     Upload one from your computer
     Select one from your blog

I'm a fan of selecting a photo from your blog, specifically an image from the post you're linking to. If you don't post images in your blog, you can upload a head shot or any other image you want. Just remember that other readers will be scrolling through the link up list, and you should choose something that's eye-catching. (If at all possible, it should relate to your post.)

Once you select your image, you have the option of cropping it yourself. I highly recommend doing your own cropping, or else you could end up with something strange. (Like the time my head got chopped off.)

When you provide all the info and crop your photo, the linky tool adds your link to the list!

Notice that the word "favorite" is broken? This is automagically generated by the linky tool and you can't control it. If you don't like how it looks, you might have get a do-over.

Some link generators (like InLinkz) will let you delete your link, but most don't. Just think short, sweet and catchy, then don't worry about it.

Be sure to follow the hosts rules! Some ask that you to link to a post about a specific theme (thankfulness, etc), so honor those requests.

ALL encourage you to mention their link up on your post or blog (either a link or the button they provide) AND to link up with others in the list. Read their post, leave a comment, and tell them where you're linking from.

Remember that link ups are about building community, so don't just post your meme and wait for a flurry of comments. Mind your manners, link up and meet some new friends!

Here's a good place to start: No Ordinary Blog Hop

Blog Hop

Blog hop can refer a couple of different things.

Shared Link Lists

Blog hop (noun) - a link-up list used by several different sites. Let's say MarciaBlog, JanBlog and CindyBlog share a link up. When you add your link to MarciaBlog, it automatically appears on JanBlog and CindyBlog.

Friend Links

Blog hop (verb) - the act of visiting someone who commented on a site you follow. They might leave a comment you find interesting or funny. You notice they've included a link to their blog, so you click on their link, hop over and check them out.

This is one of the best ways to build community because you already have a friend in common, which means you probably also have an interest in common. (I've become friends with MANY bloggers by hopping!)

Again, mind your manners: leave a comment tell them where you're visiting from.
"Hi, Greg! I saw the comment you left on Peter's post today and thought I'd visit your site. That story about Bobby's voice cracking made me laugh. I didn't know you were brothers!"

Unlike unexpected visitors that come to your house, unexpected visitors to your blog are always welcome and appreciated.

Feeling adventuresome?

Would you like to HOST a link up? It's not hard, and something you might consider adding to your posting schedule.  If you'd like to try it, here are a couple of sites: Linky Tools and In Linkz. The cost is minimal and many offer a free trial.

Happy Blogging!

I appreciate your comments and feedback - please leave yours below!


  1. Great advice. I love link ups and use them most of the time to increase my traffic. Sometimes I forget to check the topic...

    Happy Fourth of July, Susan.

    1. You do a great job, Di, especially with such an ambitious posting schedule. And I've seen steady increases to your site, which is exactly what you want.
      I'm with you on the topics...

  2. One of these days I'll have to try the link ups. Susan, you are so creative. I can't keep up with all your wonderful ideas.

    1. Thx for your encouragement, Yvonne -- you are more daring than you know!


Thanks for the feedback!