Setting up a blog linky: what you need to know

linky

If you blog regularly, no doubt you will have come across a ‘linky’: a collection of blog posts on a particular theme, hosted by one or more bloggers. And, if you’ve been blogging for a while you might even be interested in setting up a linky of your own.

Why start a linky?

If you’re keen to develop an online community around a specific subject, a linky is a good way to start. I set up my own, #CulturedKids (which I now co-host with Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays) because I wanted to bring together people from around the world who post about museums, galleries, theatre and historical places, all of which I enjoy reading and writing about.

Linkies are also a good way to raise the profile of your blog, and boost your stats by creating some nice backlinks to your website.

My niche is family travel. Travel-based linkies are becoming increasingly popular, with link-ups like #Citytripping (hosted by Cathy and Elizabeth) and #FarawayFiles (hosted by Katy, Clare and Erin) sometimes featuring as many as 40+ posts. Ting, of My Travel Monkey, together with Allane of Packing My Suitcase set up the similarly successful #MondayEscapes. Ting said

“When I ran Monday Escapes it gave me the opportunity to read so many articles that I would not have found independently.

However, be prepared to put aside a big chunk of your time – commenting and social media sharing on each participant can become a chore. My advice is, share with someone else, or run one every so often rather than weekly.”
#MondayEscapes ran for a year before Ting and Allane handed it over to Mini TravellersExtraordinary Chaos, Tin Box Traveller and Travel Loving Family, who all share the workload on this inspiring collection of travel posts.

How to do it

Decide on a theme for your linky. General subjects – ‘travel’, for instance – will attract a wider audience. Specific, or niche, topics can be more attention-grabbing. You’ll need a memorable SEO-friendly name/hashtag, which should be self-explanatory.
Design a badge for your linky. This is easier than you might think. If you type ‘how to design a blog badge’ into your search engine, a whole host of pages will spring up, with step-by-step instructions. If you don’t have a specific image or logo to use, there are plenty available online, copyright-free or otherwise.
Set ground rules. This might include asking linkers to comment on the host’s post, and a number of others (one or two seems to be the norm); asking everyone to add your badge, or to link back; and letting people know how many posts they can link up.
Choose a linky tool. At the moment most bloggers prefer to use InLinkz or Linky Tools, but it’s worth doing a quick search beforehand, as technology moves on.
Publicise your linky. Email your contacts, asking them to join in. Share it on all your social media channels and, if possible, offer to guest post on a friend’s blog, mentioning the linky.
Once the linky is up and running, don’t forget to comment on each and every post that links up, as well as to thank your linkers. It’s customary for a host to tweet out all the linked posts. Some hosts also share posts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. I usually share the #CulturedKids posts in as many ways possible. You might want to encourage people to share the posts of other linkers, too.

Consider a sponsor. Karen from Mini Travellers and Rachel from the Ordinary Lovely decided to host an Instagram-based linky, in collaboration with the National Trust:

“We set up #UKexplore back in April this year. Both Rachel and I had been working with the National Trust on different projects, and we asked them if they might like to sponsor our new idea, giving away National Trust family passes each month to winners of the Instagram linky. Excitingly, they agreed. Since last April we have had over 14.5K photos tagged with the hashtag #UKexplore.

The hardest things are keeping up with the number of photos tagged, as we ‘like’ them all; and actually choosing a winner every month. It has been far more popular than we thought it would, and the quality of the photos is superb.”

Have you set up a linky? What do you think of them?

 

A version of this post originally appeared on the Trips100 site. I decided to re-post it here, to mark the happy occasion of Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays joining me on #CulturedKids.

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17 Comments

  1. May 8, 2017 / 11:39 am

    Great post, Nell, and you’ve covered everything in lots of detail. One of things I most enjoy about hosting Faraway Files is the creation of a supportive community. Just like your wonderful #CulturedKids linky, we have lots of regulars who read and share lots of the blog posts that are linked up. It feels very social and has certainly inspired me to add more great travel destinations to my wish list.

    • Nell
      Author
      May 8, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      I know. It’s opened all sorts of new worlds to me.

  2. May 9, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    This is really helpful! I have often thought of setting one up, but it’s a huge commitment – as you must know! Love all of the linkys you hvae listed though, yours included obviously! 🙂 x

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:13 pm

      Thank you Emma!

  3. May 10, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Great information, I’ve set up a couple of linkys in the past but they are hard work.

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      They are indeed!

  4. May 11, 2017 / 6:44 am

    I haven’t taken part in a linky for a while but this has reminded me why I should, not only to read some other fabulous blogs again but because we all know it is good for your blog. I’d love to start one but they are a lot of work, well worth it though 🙂

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Yes, I’m really pleased with the way #CulturedKids is going.

  5. May 11, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    fab tips. I think linkies are really great if you have an engaged community. If I join one then I do make sure I comment on at least three other joiners and the hosts

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      Yes, a linky needs a good community to thrive.

  6. May 12, 2017 / 9:55 am

    I don’t really do them any more but I used to help run one – they are a lot of hard work if you want it to be successful! It was a lovely way to get to know some bloggers better though.

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Yes, I’ve really enjoyed that part of it.

  7. May 12, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    great advice! who knows maybe some day I start my linky:)

    • Nell
      Author
      May 15, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      Thank you! I’d recommend it 🙂

  8. May 18, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    I used to run a couple of linkys and they really are a fantastic way of creating a community. For me though, it was just too much work – you do a sterling job x

    • Nell
      Author
      May 19, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Thank you. You’re right, though – it’s very hard work.

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