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 last night, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write up why bloggers like myself take part in these bizarre rituals. (I’ll explain link roundups today and blog carnivals tomorrow.)
What Is It? A collection of links (usually related in some way, legitimately or a little bizarrely. They are links the blogger picks themselves, usually with some commentary to go along. I call mine “Shameless Promotion” because I think it sounds more interesting and that’s kind of what it is.
Why do bloggers do this? Yes, bloggers are hard ones but we’ve got our reasons. . .
1. Sometimes there’s a little “desparado” involved. When you get a little writers block, a link round up can give you something to talk about, even if it is mostly other people’s stuff to talk about.
2. It’s a way to be collegial. You link back to bloggers you like as a way of saying, hey, your stuff is cool. Here’s me supporting your work.
3. It shows you know your stuff. You could be the most amazing person on earth but if you spend your time closed in a little room with your computer, not reading what else is out there, it shows. You get stale, you aren’t learning from others. Citing sources of things you’ve read shows that 1) you read and 2) you understand. People look for blogs as a fun way to get information and link roundups can be a fun way to aggregate and edit it for your blog readers.
4. It drives traffic to your site, directly and indirectly. Sometimes it’s a mention on another blog (a sort of mutual back scratch situation), sometimes it’s just a higher number of outgoing links increasing your search engine optimization (SEO). (If you’re wanting to learn more about this SEO idea, check out the blogging and web/tech sections of this site.)
Rules To Live By With A Link Roundup:
1. Don’t promote your own stuff all the time. Those people are annoying. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a little self love but there is some awesome stuff out there besides yours. Might as well admit it!
2. If you link a blogger, don’t expect anything in return. The links I include just happen to be posts I like (and by bloggers I like) related to a topic I want to address. I don’t expect them to link back to me. People can smell an ulterrior motive from a mile away so don’t be that guy. Some people like me haven’t yet figured out how to search out links back to their blog.
3. Try to make the link round up fun. If you’re going to do it, include some commentary. Make things tie together in a logical way. Otherwise, it becomes a little boring for your readers (and yourself) to have this list of seemingly unrelated stuff. My “shamless promotion” posts always take longer then my usual ones, which seems perfectly normal. I want it to be an easy read that’s not at all boring.
A well written article about these ideas can be seen here. (via BlogBusinessWorld)
Photo: Rounding up some help to build a Buick circa 1924. Via www.shorpy.com.