Blog Carnivals can be an ideal way for a new blogger to network with other bloggers in their niche, to build links, get traffic, and generally gain exposure. Some people think it’s cheesy, and it sort of is if you keep doing it once your blog reaches critical mass. But early on in your blog’s life, it’s a boost.
I currently manage four blog carnivals, mostly for client blogs, and I keep seeing the same problems over and over again. It’s not a good feeling having to reject someone’s article, but since time is limited and I have to pick the best, it’s a necessity.
So, if you’re finding that you are not getting into blog carnivals, here are a few very blunt tips – in no particular order – to improve your chances, at least for the four carnivals I run. Most of it boils down to simple courtesy.
- Submit articles.
No one wants to see a list of links to your articles. They want to see an actual article.
- Submit real articles.
Seriously, do you think people want to read articles that exist solely to promote your affiliate links?
- Be relevant.
I’ve purposely set up 4 different carnivals with some overlap. That’s so if your article does not belong in one carnival I run, it might fit in another. Make sure you read over a carnival’s rules. It’s time consuming for you and the host to handle articles that don’t fit.
- Make your articles easy to read/ browse.
This might be #4 on this list, but it is one of the most important. Believe it or not, at night, I can’t see certain colors well (yellow or really light green). I can’t include an article that is unreadable/ unbrowseable.
- Use a reasonable font size.
- Have high-contrast web pages.
Gray or colored text on colored backgrounds is sometimes nearly impossible for those of us over 30 to read, especially if font size is tiny. This is a bizarre trend amongst under-30 bloggers: medium gray text against a gray or colored background, with a small font size.
- Use brief paragraphs.
Your high school or college English lecturer probably told you that the average paragraph could be about nine to twelve sentences. Sorry, not in print. Combine busy lives, information overload and the fact that screen fonts are harder to read than print, and you have very short attention spans. Even a hardcore reader like myself cannot focus if a web article goes beyond six or seven paragraphs.
I’ve covered this topic in more detail in 7 thoughts on being a better blogger.
- Submit one entry per week.
Self-explanatory, yet so many people keep violating this simple rule every single week.
- Submit once.
People who resubmit the same article more than once to the same carnival probably do so because they’re not familiar with how carnival hosts process entries. For me, I only need your article once. If you don’t get into one edition and your article meets the criteria, it’ll very likely be in the next edition. If it isn’t, well, sorry. But if you resend your article to me and it’s already appeared, you’re wasting my time (and yours), and the next time you send anything, I’ll just ignore your entries. I’d rather not, but time is always short to be wasting it re-processing an entry.
- Submit original articles.
Do not submit an article from a free article directory. Do this even once and I’ll never bother looking at any of your entries after that.
- Include series links.
If you submit only the final article of a series you’ve written, make sure that it has links to the previous articles. If it doesn’t, why do you think visitors would want to read the final article and then have to waste time finding the earlier parts?
- Support the carnival.
You might not think so but it’s a lot of work filtering several dozen article entries each week and putting a carnival edition together. And let’s not pussyfoot around. We all know what a blog carnival is for:
- Host wants exposure, traffic, links, to network with bloggers, and to share good, relevant articles with their readers.
- Blogger wants exposure, traffic, links, to network, and probably to a lesser degree, to read good articles by other bloggers of the same or related niches.
- Reader wants to read good, relevant articles. Even your own blog readers may want to know about similar blogs. Do them a favor by linking to carnivals you’re in. Most of your readers will appreciate this.
Hmm. Seems like at least the host and blogger both kind of want the same things. So your part doesn’t end with submitting the entry. If you appear in an edition, link back. Google will not penalize you for reciprocal linking because the links are natural and relevant. That’s what Googlebot lives for: relevant links.
Linking back is simple carnival etiquette, and some hosts will not include you again if you don’t. I do re-include non-linking bloggers, but you do get bumped for priority by newer entrants.
- Be informative.
It’s quite fine to write about yourself and even use “I”, but no one cares if you go on about some accomplishment if you don’t show us how you got there. Most people read a blog to learn something. Teach us what you know.
- Provide a valid email address.
Some hosts send an email to carnival entrants selected for an edition. If your email keeps bouncing, the immediate thought might be that this blogger is probably never going to linkback. But I also wonder why the same person keeps entering with an email address that doesn’t exist. Are you spamming? Probably not, but if you also don’t link back, then you’re getting moved to the bottom of the list.