Blog Carnivals, Start to Finish

As one of the events in the BlogOlympics (at the silver medal level), you can choose to participate in a blog carnival. At the gold level, you can host a blog carnival. If you’re not sure how to do this, here’s your chance to learn!

Finding a Blog Carnival
To participate in a blog carnival, first you have to find one. BlogCarnival.com features a good list of blog carnivals. You can use their search functions to find carnivals on categories that you write on—parenting, family, homeschooling, etc.

One precaution you have to take as you screen potential carnivals—see if they’re current. A lot of the carnivals listed haven’t published in months. BlogCarnival.com lists lots of carnivals that have been marked as discontinued, but many others haven’t been officially discontinued but aren’t published anymore. Look at the date of the previous and next carnivals—if it’s coming up, you’re probably safe.

Of the carnivals listed on Blog Carnival, my favorite has definitely been the Carnival of Family Life. The brainchild of Kailani at An Island Life, it’s getting to be very popular!

Another way to find a blog carnival is word of mouth. That’s how I found out about Works-for-Me Wednesday, one of the most popular weekly carnivals out there! Every week, bloggers (mostly mothers) share tips on everything from shopping to cleaning to scrapbooking to blogging. Participate this week!

Participating in a Blog Carnival
It’s important when participating in a blog carnival to write an on-topic post. Find out the theme of the carnival, especially if there are special themed editions for holidays. Works-for-Me Wednesday has monthly themed editions on the first Wednesday. An off-topic post is unlikely to be included.

Finally, don’t forget to submit your post to the carnival! Use the method they ask: a Mr. Linky (WFMW Wed), the official BlogCarnival.com submission form (CoFL), or comments or forms on the site itself. When you’re dealing with dozens or even hundreds of entries, it’s difficult to track down all the entries submitted in “unorthodox” ways.

It’s generally best to submit recent posts to the carnival, if not new posts. Some carnivals have rules about the age of submitted posts; be sure to follow those guidelines.

If you’re targeting words people use in search engines (‘keywords’), be sure to include those in the title of your post. They’ll then be used in your link.

Hosting a Blog Carnival
If you volunteer to host a blog carnival (or start your own), there are a few guidelines that will make your hosting stand out.

If you’re using TypePad or WordPress, be sure to send trackbacks or pingbacks. This is often one of the first ways I know that my entry has been included in a carnival.

Try grouping entries in a new way. One of my favorite Carnivals of Family Life was hosted by Digital Rich Daily, where he took the time to categories entries by themes for each letter of the alphabet.

Make sure you use working HTML links. If you use a Mr Linky, it generates JavaScript links. Once you’ve completed your carnival, you can get the HTML code and paste it in the place of the JavaScript code to ensure that your participants get the links. If you’ve asked your participants to link to you, it’s only polite.

Conclusion
Participating in an on-topic blog carnival is a good way to drive traffic to your site and earn links—and hosting is even better! Find a good blog carnival to participate in and complete a silver medal event in the BlogOlympics!

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22 responses to “Blog Carnivals, Start to Finish”

  1. jen says:

    I’ve recently hosted a carnival and it was good fun. I’ve also participated in the same carnival and met some bloggers this way. It’s the All women blogging carnival (http://www.allforwomen.com.au/women-blogging/). Entry requirements are pretty broad for this one so it’s quite easy.

  2. Amy says:

    Great resources – thank you!!

  3. Heather says:

    Who wouldn’t love something called a “blog carnival” – it just SOUNDS fun! I’m new to this bloggy business so I love reading about the nuts and bolts of it all. Thanks for sharing. Off to buy tickets to the carnival …

  4. SAHMmy Says says:

    Newbie to blogging–the blogcarnival.com site is the directory I’ve been looking for!–thanks for the tip!

  5. WhatWorksForMom says:

    Good information and interesting blog too!

  6. Mommy Babble says:

    Blog carnivals can be great. I’ve hosted the Carnival of SAHMs twice on my site so far and both times I’ve had a lot more people coming to my blog to read it.

    It’s also always looking for people who want to host. It’s still small, between 10-15 people every two weeks, so not a lot of work for the host. But still fun.

  7. SingForHim@RealLife says:

    Great info. Exactly how do you replace the Mr. Linky with html code? Do you have to do it manually for each link?

  8. Jordan says:

    I’m told that at the end of the contest, you can login to Mr Linky again and get the HTML code there.

  9. kailani says:

    Thank you so much for mention the Carnival of Family Life. We’re always looking for new friends to join us!

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  18. Heather Masson says:

    Great Read. I actually just submitted to my first blog carnival this week through blogcarnival.com

    I will be sure to lake a look at the Wednesday carnival. It sounds fun :)

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  21. RaiulBaztepo says:

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  22. Eric says:

    I use BlogCarnival but yes, it can be very frustrating when you find relevant carnivals and none of them are active anymore.

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