You've heard that saying “karma is a bitch,” right? Well, it can be pretty awesome too. Although I prefer to rephrase it: you get what you give, and if you're sending link love out there to the blogosphere, it's likely you'll get it back. We talk a lot about commenting on other blogs as a way to grow your traffic and community, but what about linking to other blogs on your own blog?
Linking out to other bloggers you admire and are inspired by not only validates their work and message, but yours as well. It's a great tool you can use to grow your community, and generally will attract new readers when/if the linked blogger reciprocates. Use this tool wisely though, and be sure to “know” who you're linking to!
How to do it:
Weekly link roundups
To be honest, I haven't always been a fan of these, but I'm coming around! If they're done well (like here on IFB) and are a thoughtful roundup of interesting/inspiring links with some context, then they can provide great content for your readers, in addition to making yourself known to the bloggers you link to. They can also seem lazy though, if you link to the same bloggers all the time, and don't explain why you think your readers should click on the link. Already Pretty does a GREAT job of this every week, and as I've been lucky enough to be mentioned there a time or two, I know her readers click the links because there's context and thought behind each of them. The most important thing with using this tool is that you approach it as you would any other post: with passion and attention to detail & quality.
Inspiration for a post
This is what I do most often; link to a blog post or two that inspired my own, and incorporate my thoughts on it in the post. Sometimes I do this in addition to leaving a comment on the blog post, or instead of leaving a comment if there is already a long list of comments. It's a great way to expand the conversation started on another blog to your own, and maybe inspire your readers to continue it on their own blogs. Pay it forward!
Mention in a post
Maybe another blogger you read has the same top or dress as you and styled it differently, you love her outfit today, or something she said resonated with you – link to her! Quick mentions are just as useful, and can be as thoughtful as the “inspiration” links I talk about above.
This can be sort of cheesy, but creating your own blog awards, or badges can be a good way to honor bloggers you love, and create a community around similar bloggers.
Create a post where other bloggers share their outfits with your audience. Patti at Not Dead Yet style does a wonderful job at this nearly every week, with usually more than one hundred participants! And Jennine has a denim outfit roundup going on eat, sleep, denim. If you're going to do this, make it easy on yourself and use a tool like InLinkz. Also, I prefer when these have a theme, or some sort of inspiration behind them, rather than just compiling random outfits. Maybe prepare your readers in advance and tell them next week's roundup will feature all black outfits, or similar. Make them interesting and inspire your readers and other bloggers to think about what they're going to contribute next!
A quick note on linking etiquette:
It's very nice to say thank you to the blogger who linked to you, preferably by email, but you could RT or post her post on Facebook also. It's alright to reach out to the blogger you linked to in a post if you want, but don't do so with any expectation; anyway, she should get a trackback in her blog comments, so she'll know you linked to her. DO NOT expect anything in return when you link to a blogger. It's nice to receive a comment or link back, or acknowledgement of some sort, but link because you were inspired by a fellow blogger, NOT because you expect her to link back to you.
Have you done any of these things? Have you found them useful for growing your community?
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]