What better way to engage your community, give other bloggers an opportunity to promote their own blogs, while promoting your own blog than a Link-Up? Now, Link-Ups have been around for ages in various forms, anyone remember Blog Carnivals? Anyway, a “Link-Up” is where a group of bloggers submit links on a certain topic. For example, the IFB Project has a topic every week, and bloggers submit a post based on the topic. For this particular Link-Up, at the end, a roundup of my favorites is published. Not all Link-Ups have this option, but I think it's nice.
Link-Ups can be great vehicles to host contests, giveaways, or just to share traffic. The possibilities are endless when it comes to hosting your own Link-Up. To get ideas… a few weeks ago, I posted 21 Link-Ups to Promote Your Outfit Posts .
There are several fantastic tools out there, some are free, others cost a small fee, but they generally have robust features that you can customize, or keep minimal. I have found that for the IFB Project, since it's so visual, InLinkz works well, but for Links à la Mode, it's more text-heavy and the post titles are more important (but not as important as the content of the posts) so I use something much simpler like SimplyLinked. But there are several options out there, it just depends on what you are looking for!
Like the name says on the tin, SimplyLinked is great if all you want are just links. It's also free. It's super simple for your readers to submit links. Just be sure to “close” old Link-Ups when they finish because they can attract spam. But it's easy to monitor and moderate the submitted links.
InLinkz is the tool I use for the IFB Project. It's great for creating thumbnails for your more visual Link-Ups. What's also great is that it has analytics so you can see how many clicks the submissions get, as well as accessing the emails in case you are hosting a contest. It also has features like “liking” submissions, and contest features (which I have not used).
InLinks has also launched a “Product List” tool for you to integrate to your YouTube Channel, in case you were monetizing your videos with affiliate links, this will help keep your links together.
InLinks has a free version with limited features, or you can pay $19.99 per year for the full version.
LinkyTools is quite complex. With several options, you can host a Link-Up with thumbnails, make it a “Blog Hop” where if you partner with other bloggers your Link-Up will appear the same across your blogs. You can require submissions to link back to your blog, and several other features that can come in handy. The first month is free, then after which it costs $2/month to access it.
Mister Linky has a free option, but the free option does not include Thumbnails. Some have reported that they like this, but I found it difficult to figure out. There are several levels of premium membership which range from $5-$20 per year.