Let’s define the terms first, shall we?
Meme – rhymes with “DREAM” and is used to describe a blog hop that revolves around a certain set of questions. Example: The Homeschool Mother’s Journal.
Link Up – A linky list where you can add links from your own blog that fit a certain theme. Example: Welcome Home Link Up
Essentially, these two types of link ups or blog hops or whatever you want to call them have the same purpose or purposes:
- To promote a sense of community.
- To drive traffic.
So, let’s work through some frequently asked questions about memes and link ups from both the HOST and the PARTICIPANT standpoint.
Question: How do you come up with an idea for a meme or link up?
Answer: What are you passionate about? What are you already writing about that you think would be something others could join in? What topic isn’t being covered by another meme or link up? What sounds fun to you?
These are all great questions to ask yourself when you first start out to create your very own meme or link up. You don’t want to be just like another blog, but you also don’t want to create something so far-fetched no one will want to join in.
Question: What are the pros of hosting a meme or link up?
Answer: People love to participate in a meaningful way on other blogs. Hosting a link up sends traffic to your blog and helps to create a sense of community on your blog.
Question: What are the cons of hosting a meme or link up?
Answer: You are responsible for the link up being live every week, moderating links, and being a good hostess. Once the link up takes off, taking a break isn’t really an option.
Question: How do you get a meme or link up to take off?
Answer: Contrary to popular belief, if you build it, they don’t always come. You have to build it, then promote it, then be patient, then promote it some more. Getting a new link up off the ground is not an easy job, so be sure you want the added work before you commit.
If you know you have a great link up that just needs the publicity, then you have a few options at your disposal for getting the word out:
1. Paid promotion from a bigger blogger. Yeah, no one likes to pay if they don’t have to, but sometimes you need to pay in order to get the outcome you are looking for.
2. Network promotion. Have a network of bloggers? Ask them to help you promote. Just remember to always reciprocate the favor.
3. Link up your link up. This is not my favorite, but it does help. If you can manage this one without looking like you are using the other blogger’s link up to gain attention to your own, then go for it, but you had better have something worthy of adding to the conversation on the other blogger’s site. Also, be sure she doesn’t have rules about linking up a link up.
4. Use your social media outlets. Pin it, Tweet it, Facebook it. Talk it up! Tell people what you are trying to do, ask them to share and participate.
5. Keep after it. I’ve heard stories of bloggers hosting a link up for a year before it finally took off. However, they kept after it because they were passionate about the topic. Two weeks or even two months is not long enough to determine if a link up is sticky. Keep on keeping on until you lose the passion.
Question: What is the best day to host a meme or link up?
Answer: There is no right day. I’m compiling a list here on Homeschool Blogging of all homeschool-related memes and link ups, so if you have one, send it my way!
Question: Where do I find out about memes and link ups?
Answer: Watch where other blogs are participating, look at lists of memes and link ups, watch Twitter and Facebook for announcements.
Question: Are memes and link ups worth my time?
Answer: Depends. There are some “Best Practices” when it comes to link ups that will help you see the most benefit:
1. Try to be near the top of the list. Find out when the link up posts and then add your link as soon after it posts as you can humanly manage. This is especially crucial if you are linking to a large link up.
2. Name your post something catchy. Most link ups have a specific number of characters allowed for your title. Be succinct and catchy in what you name your link. Do not use your name or your blog’s name.
3. Have a photo on your post. Most link ups hosts have paid extra to have thumbnail pictures included with their link up. A good photo will attract more readers.
4. Watch your traffic. If you are hoping to gain traffic from participating in a meme or link up, then watch your traffic for a month or so of participating and see what kind of results you are getting from linking up there.
5. Do you enjoy the link up? Traffic isn’t always a reason to participate. In fact, I would have to say that if you don’t enjoy the link up, then the perk of traffic isn’t enough to continue.
Question: Do I have to participate every week?
Answer: No, but you might find your readers come to enjoy the predictability of a certain meme on a certain day of the week on your blog. However, there is no need to ever feel tied down to a meme.
Question: Is there etiquette for participating in link ups?
Answer: Yes! Many bloggers ask that you link back which helps to promote the meme or link up. Often they have a button that goes with the link up or a simple text link back with do. It is also common courtesy to keep your links relevant and not clog the link up with tons of posts from your site. You should also help to promote the link up via any appropriate hashtags on Twitter. Example: #toptentues is the hashtag for Top Ten Tuesday posts. Check each individual site for their specific requirements and do your very best to uphold those requirements.
So, there’s the low-down on memes and link ups. Do you have more questions? Any personal experiences with link ups you’d like to share? Leave a comment so others can hear what you have to say!