When I started my blog back in 2009, concepts like ‘linkies’ and ‘blog hops’ were fairly alien to UK bloggers.
However, in the past 18 months, as American blogs and bloggers have become increasingly influential in the UK parent blogging scene, we have begun to adopt the Linky as our own.
Few topics can split a room of bloggers like a Linky. While some bloggers love the opportunity to take part in a group activity, others see Linkys as being only of benefit to those who organise them, or stripping the personality out of blogs.
We asked two Tots100 bloggers on opposite sides of this debate to share their views of the Linky with us. What do you think? Are you a lover or a loather?
The Linky Loather – Nickie, I Am Typecast
There is a lot of linky love in the blogosphere at the moment. Somewhere in the community it is always Blog Hop O’clock. There appears to be a link or meme for every day of the week and every conceivable subject matter.
Loathing is a strong word – and I admit there are a couple of Linkys I occasionally join in with myself – but I do feel the parent blogging community is in danger of being taken over by the Linky. My (perhaps controversial) view is that some people create Linky themes to boost their stats; page views, comments and rankings – all of which count towards stature in a competitive community.
As a bit of a stats geek I’ve noticed that on days when I do my favourite Linkys my page views are quite high – but my comments are average, and my bounce rate is extremely high (suggesting the majority of visitors look at the Linky and leave the blog immediately)
I agree that Linky posts can be a way of building ‘community’ or meeting new bloggers, but in an ever-growing blogosphere, shouldn’t blogs stand out on their own merit? Why are some of us so keen to write on the same interpretation of a prompt?
In the early days of the Linky I welcomed the opportunity to find new blogs to read. Now it seems more like a chore to plough my way through all the entries, feeling I have to leave a comment on each to ‘acknowledge’ my visit. Is this showing the strength and success of the parent blogging community?
Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post asking “Where are the words?” after noticing a trend among bloggers to simply post a random photo rather than writing a post. It was a short post but prompted a lot of response from people both sides of the fence. Should we just dial it back a little and try to remember why we started our blogs in the first place?
By all means, use Linky love to find your blogging feet but mix it up with a healthy dose of your own ideas and words, too! A blog should be what you want it to be, and not just what you think your audience wants.
The Linky Lover…Cathy from NurtureStore
A glorious aspect of blogging is that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re passionate about making crafts with loo rolls or discussing existentialism there’s a blog community for you – but how do you get out there and make connections with others?
One way is to join in with a Linky. Some love them and some hate them but I’ll say it loud and say it proud: I love them. I run a children’s play and craft Linky on my blog, and I join in with lots of others each week and benefit from them. Here’s why I’m a Linky lover:
A linky is a fabulous way to gain inspiration. I’m a mother of two and I work with preschool children so I’m always looking for new activity ideas. The early years blogging community is passionate about sharing resources and a key way we do this is through Linky posts. I run the Play Academy Linky at NurtureStore, which each Friday becomes a hub where people can pool ideas. Kids’ crafts might not be your thing but whatever you’re interested in the chances are there’s a linky out there waiting for you to join in and take inspiration from.
Linkys bring together like-minded people and introduce you to new contacts, so if you’re looking to join an online community taking part in a Linky party can break the ice and get you mingling. In my experience, people taking part in Linkys are a friendly lot so I encourage new people not to be shy but to dive in and take part. I’d suggest finding smaller linky parties where I think it’s much easier to get to know the regulars than parties which have hundreds of linkers each week.
To grow your blog
Whether you’re a linky host or a linkee, taking part in linkys can help to grow your blog. By their very nature they’re set up to encourage visitors, for all bloggers taking part, so if you’re interested in more traffic or widening your group of readers, joining a linky can help.
I wouldn’t assume that you can launch a linky and then sit back and expect it to hurtle your blog stats sky high though. Don’t underestimate what it takes to make a link-up work though. As with any aspect of blogging you need to put in time and effort to get the results you’re after: visiting all the blogs that link to you, leaving comments, helping to promote their posts in your twitter stream and on your Facebook page.
I guess Linkys are a bit like Marmite and musicals – you either love them or hate them. I love my linkys and I’ll be interested to hear from you whether you agree.
What do you think? Lover? Loather? Somewhere in the middle?