Blog Hops and Link Parties
Blog Hops and Link Parties are an excellent way to connect and share with other bloggers, as well as get exposure. Back when I first started blogging in 2008-2009, there was no such thing as a link party or blog hop. I mainly blogged in the fashion and beauty niche back then, and even dabbled in the food/baking niche. I found it very difficult to connect with others in those niches and share and connect. Twitter had just started up, Facebook Fan Page were new as well, and there was no Instagram, Google +, or Pinterest. I mainly connected with those in my niches via Flickr, ning networks, and Youtube. Since I’ve returned to blogging about 5 months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see the many ways in which bloggers now connect. Bloggers have maximum exposure giving platforms to utilize such as Pinterest and super quick ways of connecting and sharing through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They also have Google +, which is a great resource for SEO and exposure as well. Additionally, we have these great things called link parties (memes, blog hops, etc…). I think they are a great idea, but a few months back I came across a very negative post them, and blogged about it here. I was enthralled with this link party idea and didn’t understand why the blogger was so negative toward them. Apparently, I was out of the loop, not having blogged for several years, in knowing that these things were not new. I’m not sure when the idea of a link party was originated or who did it, but they were definitely on to something.I thoroughly enjoy linking up and co-hosting parties. I love the fact that I can visit so many blogs and posts all from one place. Even though I follow many, many blogs, there are always new ones out there that have something to offer. On my own blog, I have a Where I Link Up page where I have linked up every blog I link up at. This page is open for others to add their link parties, so that I may visit them and link up. Its my way of providing a link back to these blogs, a directory of link parties to visitors, and a way to reach out and allow those who host parties to gain exposure and get traffic through the directory. I personally have not hosted a major link party or blog hop, not sure when I will at this point. I’ve heard that while they are fun, can be a lot of work. I try my best to prioritize my blogging commitments and right now, having recently moved my blog from hosted on Blogger to self-hosted on WordPress I have a lot of work to do still do on it. I also have a lot of things I would like to do with my blog in regards to growing it. I don’t want my plate overrun with commitments to do so many different things in the blogging world. One step at a time! Like I said, I love co-hosting and spreading the word about link parties. I’ll promote all day long and drive as much traffic as I can to a particular party. Even when I link up now I tweet that I’ve added my link to said party via the screen after you link or simply just tweet about the party in general from my own Twitter. I’m all for giving back and promoting the hosts. They are doing us a huge favor by hosting and putting in a lot of work building htmls, keeping up with links, picking features, and so much more.
Now once the party is up and running, many hosts and co-hosts make it a requirement to follow them via social media in order to link up. While I strongly believe in showing gratitude to the hosts, I wouldn’t be one to make this a requirement if I were hosting a party of my own. I feel like if people want to follow me, they will regardless of if I’m hosting a link party or not and making it a requirement. You also run into the issue, like with giveaways as well, where people just follow you to enter the contest or link party, but then unfollow a few days or week later. This is why it does make sense to me to “require” people to follow you. The bulk of the link parties I participate in don’t require to you to follow, however I follow them regardless. I follow them, because I feel like that individual’s blog has something to offer or I simply just like the blog or blogger. Basically, I follow if I want to and most times I remain loyal. I honestly do not even remember unfollowing a blog or anyone on social media, unless they posted something offensive or I saw that they did not have good intentions. The last thing I want is people following me who don’t even read my blog or updates on social media. I call these people empty followers, people who follow just because its part of the rules or to try to enter to win a giveaway. I will say its one thing if you follow hundreds of blogs, like I do, and you don’t get a chance to read every single post a blogger posts. Sometimes its just impossible to do so. As well, just because your are not following someone on social media, doesn’t mean your not following them via RSS feed or some other reader. I use Feedly for the bulk of my blog reading and, because its simply a reader it doesn’t have a sense of community like Bloglovin does. With Bloglovin, you’re able to follow and get followers, although I’m not sure of the point of it outside of tracking your followers. Bloglovin is not like Facebook or Twitter where you can instaneously interact with someone.
So, I say all this to say what do you think about link parties, blog hops, the “rules” of many of them, and the requirements of having to follow other bloggers when you linkup? Do you always follow when you link up, requirement or not? Do you require those who link up to follow you? What about empty followers?
Is it all a numbers game? Or is it more about engagement?
I’d love to here your take! And if you have a link party/blog hop, please feel free to add it to my Where I Link Up page, I love checking new ones out!