What about linky parties?
From my personal experience, link parties are one of the most surefire ways to grow your readership.
Here are my answers to the most FAQ about linking up and hosting your own party.
Linking at Other Parties
1. Should I bother to join link parties?
Yes. Absolutely. Run, don't walk.
2. Should I link to every party out there?
Sure, if you have no job, no family, and do nothing but sit on your computer 25 hours a day. For the rest of us, there's just no way. It's time consuming to link up, especially if you have more than one new project to share, so you have to learn to pick and choose the parties you most enjoy and that are most beneficial to you.
3. Where should I party?
Shine On Fridays! Kidding aside, there are a few things to consider when you're choosing where to link up. First, check your traffic stats. You'll notice that there are certain sites that consistently get you page views when you link up. If I look at my all time page views, a lot of them come from Pinterest and Google searches, but also from four specific parties: Whipperberry, Carolyn's Homework, French Country Cottage, and Craft-O-Maniac. I make sure I do everything I can to join those parties each week.
Also, find the parties where you feel most comfortable. If there's a specific party you like because you like the host, you get personal feedback on your projects, you get featured, or for any other reason, by all means, keep linking there! There are several parties I consistently link to just because I really like the girls who run them and I want to support them.
Finally, if you have a niche, find a few parties that cater to certain project types. As you know, I do a lot of kiddo crafts. It's by no means the only thing I blog about, but there are several parties I attend that feature nothing but kid projects. Those are great to link to because I know the people coming there are interested in the kind of things I'm sharing. Plus, they're great places to get inspiration! Are you a chef? Find a foodie party! A bargain hunter? Find a "thrifty finds" party...trust me, they're out there! There are even parties just for new bloggers who have been blogging less than 6 months or have fewer than 100 followers.
Hosting Your Own Party
If you want to give it a go hosting your own linky party, here are some things to consider.
If you can find another blogger to partner with you, your success will probably double because you'll be drawing from both her followers and your own. Just make sure you clearly divide up who is responsible for creating the code, commenting on links, and how you're going to handle features.
*Get the word out
"If you invite them they will come"...or at least a lot of them will. When I link up at other parties, I click on projects that catch my eye and invite them to come on over to Shine on Fridays and share there too. When you invite, though, make sure you leave a meaningful, thoughtful comment about the project, not just, "nice job, come link at my party." We all hate that. My policy is that I only invite people if I actually like their project, and I take the time to look at it and give them some encouragement about it.
*Inlinkz vs. Linky Tools
As of right now, I actually have a subscription to Inlinkz, while Kara has the Linky tools one. We take turns "creating" the parties each month, and for the most part, the services seem equal. The one thing though that makes me want to switch to Linky Tools is that when someone checks their traffic, the blog itself shows up as the source, rather than inlinkz. Remember how I said you should find out who your main traffic generators are? Well, if a blog has inlinkz, they could be your biggest traffic source of all and you wouldn't know it. Know what I mean?
**I actually just heard from a representative from InLinkz regarding this issue; apparently they're looking into it and may make some changes that would resolve this problem!**
*Make it "fun!"
There are a billion link parties out there. So, be sure you try to make yours memorable. Use large thumbnail images so people can really see what's been shared. Offer giveaways sometimes. Create a memorable name and button. Build a sense of community by commenting on the projects folks link up and featuring lots of them on your facebook page, twitter, and your next party post. Get excited about it...if you aren't excited, no one else will be either!
Don't assume that your blog is too small; this is one of the best ways to grow! Give it a try and see how it goes...you can always start with a free inlinkz or Linky subscription using just text links for a few weeks to see how many entries you get!