David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Why You Should Be Blog Carnival-Crazy

If you have never heard of a blog carnival or a blog round-up, this is not to be missed. As a blogger, you should seriously consider hosting a blog carnival – and you should absolutely be participating in blog carnivals every week.

First, the terminology.

  • Blog round-up. A summary of interesting blog posts from the previous week (or however long the blogger decides).
  • Blog carnival. A summary of interesting blog posts from the previous week (or however long the blogger decides).

Ah…yeah. So what is the difference? Originally a “carnival” traveled, hosted by a different blog each week. A few still do, but most are simply round-ups with a festive name.

Why your blog should host a carnival:

Traffic. When you post a dozen links to other people’s posts, guess what happens… they tweet about the post and sometimes link to it and generally send people your way.

Links. As I said above…

Networking. List a dozen blog posts and you get brownie points from a dozen happy bloggers.

Why you should submit your blog to a carnival:

Traffic. When someone posts a link to your post on their carnival, chances are people will follow the link and discover your blog.

Links. As I said above…

Networking. The blogger will appreciate that you contributed to his blog.

Blog Carnival tools:

There are a few ways that you can find posts to include in your carnival. There are two broker websites, which I will review below, and there are a few simple tactics to find posts on your own.

1. Tweet a request for contributions.
2. Ask your mastermind group on FaceBook or Skype or wherever (I have seen this done effectively several times).
3. Post a notice on niche forums.
4. Track the blogs you like via RSS and choose the posts you like most (several people do this).
5. Do a blog comments carnival. I take the more substantial comments that I leave on other people’s blogs, and I blog them into a carnival.
6. Post a notice on your own blog – that might be enough to get a flood of submissions.

BlogCarnival.com: This website has been around for a while, and lists hundreds or blog carnivals.

What I like about the site…

It is nicely automated. When you put in the URL of a blog post, much of the submission form is auto-filled.

Plenty of blogs in all sorts of niches, and since your posts will mostly be relevant to one niche all the time, and to most niches on occasion, this works well.

What I don’t like about the site….

Most of the carnivals listed no longer exist. At least there is a notice that the carnival does not exist, but still it does clog things up. I always sort the available blogs by “most recent” carnival, and don’t bother with ones that have not been kept up to date.

Several blogger I know who have used the site have complained that they don’t get the submissions people send. I know some go through, because I have had success, but I have no idea what submission success rate is.

Each carnival opens in the same window, so to submit to several, I need to manually open up several windows at a time.

BlogCarnivalHQ.com. In response to the submission problems at log Carnival, this site was set up by Tom Drake, a leading financial blogger (he also runs Fwisp, a growing social bookmarking site for finance bloggers).

What I like about the site…

Quick clicks to each blog, uncluttered by hundreds of no-longer active carnivals.

Great for finance articles.

Solid programming and a personal commitment by Tom Drake to keep it functioning properly.

What I don’t like about the site…

The site is still new, so other categories are pretty sparsely populated. (This is your chance to get your blog in on the ground floor.)

Each carnival opens in the same window, so to submit to several, I need to manually open up several windows at a time.

If you don’t want to run your own carnival, but you do want a post included in a carnival, there are three ways to find carnivals to submit to. One way is to search Google or Bing for carnivals or round-ups related to your niche. The other two ways are to search the two blog carnival websites I reviewed above.

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8 Responses to “Why You Should Be Blog Carnival-Crazy”

  1. Techmaker (1 comments) Says:

    Great post, short and sweet. I also wrote a post on this topic too. Some times your readers may find something new on blog carnivals on that post. Here is the link,

    http://www.techblaster.net/2011/04/blog-carnivals-and-blog-traffic.html

  2. Geoff (3 comments) Says:

    Hey David, I try to host a round-up on occassion, but I rarely bother to submit to carnivals these days. In the past I never saw much in the way of direct traffic and I’ve always had questions about the benefit of those links:

    Since most carnivals expect you to provide a link back, the link is 2-way and my understanding is Google doesn’t value 2 way links so much. Also, since a carnival is typically an entire page of links, each link gets less link juice than say a post with just one or two outbound links. Is my logic off base here? Is there enough link juice coming out of carnivals to make them worth the time? I understand the value of networking and extra visibilty, so my question is strictly related to the SEO value of hte link itself. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  3. David Leonhardt (140 comments) Says:

    Hi Geoff. There is a lot of mythology around search engines not valuing 2-way links. There is nothing I know of to suggest that a return link devalues any link you have earned. And it is true that carnivals are a list of links and descriptions, but they are a list more or less in content/in context and generally these are all high-quality links. So, just as much as you would probably think it is risky to have your link on a page full of casino and pharmaceutical links, so too you would want your website to be listed on a page full of top quality links. To me, blog carnivals are an important element in a good mix of online networking and SEO link-building.

  4. Jayne Kopp (4 comments) Says:

    Hi David, Blog carnivals are indeed a great idea although I will admit, I have never really taken advantage of them. I do see how they can be a great way to share content, but most importantly form greater relationships with other participants.

    I will definitely take a look at your suggestions. Particularly the ‘HQ’ suggestion run by the creator of Fwisp. I recently discovered Fwisp and quite like it.

    Thanks

    Jayne

  5. Tea Silvestre (1 comments) Says:

    I started a blog carnival in the summer last year, but with a different sort of twist. Our group of “carnies” is pretty regular — we don’t accept just anybody into the group. They’ve got to have a certain flair and be great writers. Oh, and they have to write for the small biz audience. Initially, I hosted all the links on my site, but the group asked for it’s own website which I gladly created. You can now find us at http://wordcarnivals.com. We blog on the same topic once monthly (a different topic chosen by the group each month), and we work together to promote each other’s posts by commenting, tweeting, etc. It’s kind of a carnie blog tribe. If any of your readers think they have what it takes, we’re always looking for new talent.

  6. Nancy Rose (1 comments) Says:

    I’ve seen this concept in other blogs. Had never heard of blog carnivals, and took a look at yours and sounds interesting. Always looking for articles to share. thanks.

  7. Greg Shuey (1 comments) Says:

    Love the post David. I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of this lately. After I put together the roundups, I like to reach out and let the site know that I featured a post and ask for a social share. I find that not only do I get more shares, but I get more links just because of the awareness I create from the email.

  8. Steve (11 comments) Says:

    I ran 3-4 carnivals depending on the time of the year and have noticed that there has been a fall-off in submissions and carnivals. Readers should start their own carnivals and run them on a regular basis to support the community. And Blog Carnival itself should clean up its code so carnival hosting sites have an easy time posting their carnivals every week without a lot of correction and modification.

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