Ok, so I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an expert in the field of being a link ups, or linkys as they are often referred to, but I do feel I have learned a fair bit in the seven weeks I’ve been running one with Lucy over at This Mum’s Life and so I thought I would share with you what I have learned so far. Don’t take what I say as gospel, I found a lot of my info from good old google and I’ve included links to all the sites that helped me.
I came up with the #bigpinklink quite some time ago. It obviously goes with my blog name, but equally it is pretty ambiguous regarding content. Luckily it hasn’t put men off joining us so far! The first thing I did, was search it on twitter, to make sure it wasn’t a popular hashtag for someone else already. I also googled it. When I was sure that it wasn’t already in use, I set up an account and registered it here with Inlinkz.
A hosting partner
So Lucy and I had been chatting for a long time, with two other bloggers who were running their own linky together. I had mentioned in the conversation a long while back that I had been wanting to start the linky and that I had registered the name. A couple of months later, Lucy messaged me to ask me if I wanted to do it together. This was exactly the push I needed as I was too
lazy, nervous busy to start it myself, I also felt we complimented each other well, and got along well enough to work together, despite not having met in person….yet! You obviously don’t need to host with anyone else, but I felt the workload was too great to do it on my own, plus I think you can bring so much more to a link up working with someone else. Between us, we have around 7000 followers and that is a lot of people to see blog post RTs.
I drew the badge myself. I had a description from Lucy about her family, and I obviously know what my family look like, so I came up with this, which is a photo of my sketch pad;
I was so nervous about showing it to Lucy, I was worried if she hated it, she would feel she had to be nice and lie! Luckily, she said she loved it, (still worry she was saving my feelings!), so I used this site, picresize.com to make it the right measurements and add a border to create the finished badge.
Then we needed to turn it into link backs to our sites, (that is a big part of the reason why we do it, it is an awful lot of work and we are both trying to build our DAs and this helps so much, so thank you everyone that displays it somewhere on their site!), we both used this site to do this, I’ve seen lots of different tutorials re where to put your photo, tumbler etc, but I don’t have tumbler and so I just uploaded it to my site and right clicked to copy link address and used that. I also made a ‘featured by’ badge in the same way.
Once you have set up with Inlinkz, you can create a new link up. You can see what this looks like in the pic below. This guide talks you through it step by step.
You choose the start and end date and time, the blurb that is written before every link up button, there are all sorts of different options re voting etc. We keep it quite simple and don’t bother with the ordering in terms of popularity, (clicks), but I did lengthen the amount of characters people get to write their post title. It means they can have their post and blog name which helps me to keep track too, plus you get more space to make it sound exciting.
Once you have done your first one, you get the option to save as a template and then work from that template for future link ups, just a word of warning, double check the date and time, it doesn’t seem to save those settings for me and I always have to change them manually.
Sharing the code
To find the code that you both need to put at the bottom of your posts, when you have created your link up, and are looking at it on the dashboard page, you will see a blue button at the bottom of the box on the left hand side that reads ‘</> Get script’ click on it, and select your hosting platform. It will then create the script for you to add to your post. Under it will ask ‘sharing the code with fellow bloggers?’, if you tick the box, it will give you several options to share the link up with another. I always use ‘I want them to access the link up directly’ although I’m not entirely sure of the point of this, because Lucy can do all she needs by clicking the links at the bottom of her post. One tip I read, was not to try and preview the post once you have pasted the code in, to paste it in last, and then either publish or schedule. I’m not sure why, but apparently it can mess with the code.
Spreading the news
For the first ever link up, Lucy and I went through our twitter lists and tweeted everyone we knew was a blogger to say it was coming, we then tweeted the entire list with a link to the blog post when it went live. Because I didn’t want to annoy people, (I can find unsolicited repetitive tweets almost as annoying as door to doors!), I then narrowed down my tweet list to only people that had linked up, or expressed an interest in linking up. I also share the post a few times on my personal twitter. I have a big list and I add the new people to it each week and schedule tweets on my mobile for Monday so I can just hit send in the morning before the school run. It can be hard to match twitter handles up to blog names, so I don’t always get everyone, but between us, we seem to do ok! I will try and click through to find the twitter names if I have time.
As a host, I write a special pink link post, prepare all the inlinkz code, send it to Lucy, along with links to particular blogs we enjoyed the week before, (this is getting harder and harder to narrow down and we’ve had to limit ourselves!), link up my host post, (be sure to type HOST at the start of the description so it’s clear for linkers which posts they need to comment on.), then I post it late on Sunday evening, all ready to be shared in the morning.
The main duty? Commenting. This is the big one in my opinion. Both Lucy and I take our commenting very seriously. We split it between us, (I would never be able to get through 80-90 posts in a week and still maintain life!!), and we both like to leave comments that show that we have really read the post, probably because we have really read and enjoyed the posts!! We also make sure that we both re-tweet every tweet we are tagged in that has a link in and a bigpinklink hashtag.
We also love interacting with the big pink community. We’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of really lovely people jump on board with us and it’s a real joy to see the same people sharing their lives each week, and to discover new blogs too. The one thing I wish I had more time for is replying to everyone’s comment on my blog posts. I read every single one but I figure that with limited time, my priority is to comment on the people that link ups’ posts.
The big pink link runs every Monday at 9am and is open until 12pm Wednesday. You can see an example of it here.