I have to admit that a few short months ago I’d never even HEARD of a link party. But then I decided to start a blog and a whole new world opened up to me. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from the experience.
Link party lessons
1. There are kind helpful, wonderful people in the world and the blogging community is full of them. I have been fortunate enough to run into some folks who have taken me under their wing and helped me better navigate this new path – and some of these were folks I encountered through blog link parties.They’ve explained some of the pitfalls to look out for and have given me technical advice (for which I am eternally grateful!). Some have even turned into trusted friends – and you can never have too many of those!
2. However, as with all things, there are some not-so-nice folks too. I had one blogger give me a snarky reply when I left a comment complimenting her blog – completely threw me for a loop as to why someone would be rude. But that person is the exception because 99% of the people are very nice.
3. When you co-host a blog link party you visit the links that other bloggers have shared. This helps you discover blogs you might not ordinarily have seen. It’s great because just like when you go on one of those Parade of Homes tours you get to see things that you do and don’t like. You’ll visit a blog and say, “Wow! That’s a cool feature”, “I love that color scheme”, or “I really like they do their photos.” Other times you’ll have a different reaction and may think, “Hmm, that doesn’t appeal to me” or “I’m lost and can’t find what I’m looking for.” BOTH reactions are useful because they help you pinpoint what you do and don’t like from the perspective or a reader, and this helps you make your blog the best it can be! It’s kind of like dating but without the awkwardness of the goodnight kiss.
4. Don’t be jealous of those who are ahead of you. And when you’re just starting out, everyone is ahead of you! Just learn from them. Study their success and approach, let them inspire and motivate you, and then get to work developing your skills and clearing your own path. Jealousy solves nothing…but inspiration can work wonders. Put it to work for you.
5. Vow to pass along the help you get when some newbie blogger comes along behind you and needs assistance and mentoring. Vow not to be part of that 1% that I mentioned in #2 who aren’t helpful, friendly, and nice.
6. When you see something you like, evaluate it to see if it could be modified to work for you or if your audience would respond to it. I’m referring to things like color schemes, layouts, plugins, navigation, features, etc. It’s obviously a humongous no-no to steal content.
7. When you read something you like, leave the blogger a comment and say so! The world is full of people who criticize. A positive comment to let the writer know they’ve touched your heart, made you think, inspired you, or given a tip to make your life easier will make their day. They will appreciate knowing they’ve helped you in some way. It never costs anything to be nice. And goodness knows the world needs more nice!
8. When you don’t know something, ask. I used to teach school and I’d tell my students that we don’t learn unless we ask questions. But somewhere between school and real life adults have decided that they’re supposed to already know it all. Nonsense. We think we look foolish when we let others know that we don’t know it all. But we look even more foolish when someone figures out that we didn’t really know something after all and were only pretending (and how embarrassing is that!). And they’ll always figure it out so don’t think you can fool people forever. Besides, I’ve got a motto to remember even if you do feel silly … “They can’t kill you.” I find it puts things in perspective
Are link parties worth it?
So if you’re new to blogging and have wondered whether a link party is worth your time, take these things into consideration. I’ve felt extremely fortunate to have been asked to co-host the Over the Moon link party. I couldn’t ask for a nicer group of ladies to co-host with and I learn something from them each week. They’re great teachers even if they don’t always realize that they are.
If you’re completely new to blogging, or it’s something you’re considering, I’d suggest you take a look at Do I Want to Start a Blog? It may give you a different perspective as to the pros and cons, and it also provides some resources for you to check out.
If you’re a blogger what do you like best about the link parties?