If you are a regular blog reader, you take for granted the phrases “link roundup” and “blog carnival”. I assume everyone knows what I mean when actually, why would you unless you were blogging yourself? Since I explained these to Sean, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write up why bloggers like myself take part in these bizarre rituals. (Yesterday’s post was about link roundups.)

Blog Carnival
What is it? A blog carnival is like a link roundup managed by someone else. The difference is you can submit a link you want to be a part of it before a deadline. You have no control, however, over how your link will be displayed. It may be an editor’s pick and featured prominently, it may be low on the list and no one clicks on it. Established bloggers take turns hosting them usually. Carnivals are around a common idea like “Carnival or Money Stories” or “Living The Good Life”. You can search carnivals (to either look at or participate in) at www.blogcarnival.com.

Why do bloggers participate?

1. It’s a way to be collegial. A blogger you like hosts a carnival and you participate as a way to put more links on their site (you know, even if it is a link to your site). People see your name on blog carnivals enough and they are more likely to recognize you as a fellow serious blogger.

2. It drives traffic to your site, directly and indirectly. One submission guarantees an outgoing link to the host’s website and an incoming link to your website. And since other bloggers participate and link to it, that is more potential links back to you. The more links, the better your SEO.

3. The possibility of getting new readers. By submitting a good article you’ve written to a link roundup in your niche, you have an increased chance of getting regular readers. People who look at carnivals are usually interested in the topic at hand, so they’ll hopefully like your related material, too.

Rules To Live By With A Blog Carnival:

1. Submit your link on time. Like a late paper, a late email to the carnival host is not appreciated, especially since they are aggregating a gazillion links to get them on their site ASAP.

2. Link back to the carnival. If you don’t link back, you’re considered a bad sport and probably won’t make it on the next blog carnival list.

3. If the host links prominently to you, send a thank you email. Madison at Counting My Pennies listed my post first when she hosted the carnival, doubling traffic to my site. I sent her a thank you email and linked her the next time I shamelessly promoted. She ended up writing me back, telling me to send her posts anytime. A little kindness goes a long way. 

4. Find a balance that works for you. Sometimes participating in too many carnivals can take away from your blog, some people can participate in four a week and do fine. Try them out, monitor your traffic, and find what works for you. As you get to know other bloggers in your niche, you’ll learn whose carnivals will drive traffic your way and which ones don’t do much for you.

There is of course more to it then this and you can check out the blog carnival’s FAQ for more information.

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