Blog Hoppin’

If you blog, you likely fall into one of two categories where your stats are concerned: occassional peeker or certifiably obsessed.

I belong to the latter.

And then some.

Daily views, weekly views, monthly and all-time views. Audience, traffic sources, most-viewed posts…

I soak it all in.  I can’t get enough, and race to the laptop before the sun is up each morning to see what came in while I was deep asleep.

Of course, like any red-blooded OCD-er with a competitive nature, it’s not enough to just check the stats; I have to find ways of increasing traffic.

In the beginning, I did all the things any platform-grower worth her salt was taught to do. I joined Twitter and Linked In and Google+ and Facebook and every other social networking site that had been dreamed up.

And I watched the numbers surge trickle in.

I tried seeking out other blogs and leaving comments, but I always felt like a pimply wallflower trying desperately to make eye contact in my hopes that someone – anyone – would notice me. Would dance with me.

Fail.

Enter blog hops. I don’t remember how I stumbled across my first one, but I know it didn’t take long before I realized I was onto something. And the thing with blog hops is, once you find one, you start finding them all over. Since I started joining them, and really learning how to use them, my monthly views have increased by about 50% and my followers have quadrupled. I now link up routinely with close to two dozen hops on a weekly basis, including one that I co-host.

There are a few tricks of the trade with hops, though, and I thought I would pass them along here.

 

What’s a Hop, Anyway?

When a blogger hosts a blog hop (also known as a link party) he invites other bloggers to “link up” a blog post onto the host blog.  The host is generally responsible for stating the theme, listing the rules or guidelines, and providing the “linky tool”, which is a widget.  Any blogger wishing to participate simply clicks on the linky tool, inserts the url of the blog post he wishes to link along with any other required information such as name, email address, and picture (which will appear as a thumbnail picture on the blog hop).  Every blog post linked up on the hop will be available for the clicking and viewing pleasure of anyone who views that blog.  A simple click of the link will bring the reader to the original blog post.  In other words, traffic.

 

How Do I Find a Hop That is a Good “Fit” For My Blog?

You know what they say: “All roads lead to Google.” Or something. Googling “blog hops” will likely yield general information about the who-what-when-and-where of blog hops.  However, if you type in the general theme of your own blog in addition, you’ll get yourself a custom-generated list of blog hops based on your interests.  For example, “farming blog hops”, “writing blog hops”, “parenting blog hops” — you get the picture.  Have at it!

 

I’ve Added My Link, Now What?

Most hosts will suggest that once you’ve added your link, you should visit the hosts and leave a comment, as well as try to visit at least three or so of the linked blogs.  It’s basic blog-hoppin’ etiquette.  As your mother used to say, “Remember your manners!”

 

Can I Link and Run?

When I first started joining up with a lot of hops, I did just that.  I added my link and moved on, telling myself I just didn’t have time to visit and comment.  Any bump in my traffic was, you guessed it, negligible.  Once I really started making time to comment on other blogs, I saw a significant spike in my numbers.

 

Is It Rude To Self-Promote?

Yes and no.  My standard comment includes my name and blog url, states where I’m linking from, and lets them know I hope they can come by sometime.  However, I also take the time to comment on their blog post in a meaningful way.  When someone does the same to me?  I am more than happy to pay them a visit.  However, I’ve had people comment very point blank: “I followed you, follow me back at I’mRudeAndIKnowIt.com.” Ummm….no.  Pass.  While there is certainly a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours component to blog hops, never forget that it is also social.  As in friendly.  As in civil.

 

The Host Asked Me To Link Back.  What Does This Mean?

Most hosts want to know that if your post is linked up to their blog, that any visitors to your blog will be aware of that and possibly hop on over to check out what all the fuss is about.  See what I mean about the back-scratchin’?  If you’re going to follow a few hops regularly, an easy way to link back is to add the host’s badge in your sidebar.  You could also keep a schedule of the blog hops you participate in at the bottom of each post.

 

Do I Have To Visit and Comment On Every Blog in the Hop?

Certainly not.  Some hops can have hundreds of bloggers linking up, and who has that kind of time?  Tell ya’ a little tip of mine.  When I have a few free minutes to do some hoppin’, I open up a Word document in a new tab, and type: “Hi, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the Cat Crazy Blog Hop.  Hope you can drop by my blog sometime to say hi!” Then I go to the Cat Crazy Blog Hop, and start clicking on the links.  I read the post, try to find the blogger’s name, and go to the comments.  I simply paste my blurb into the comments box, inserting the blogger’s name after “Hi”, and writing a comment that speaks to what they posted after “I’m visiting from the ___ hop”.   If I really enjoyed their blog and choose to follow it, I do so (Google Friends Connect makes this sooo easy, if they have it), and I tell them so.  If the blog looks familiar, and I think I’ve perhaps already left this comment, I just leave off the part about hoping for a visit back.  No need to be a stalker.

 

Where Can I Start?

 I may have mentioned earlier (cough – shameless self-promotion – cough) that I co-host a blog hop.  As it happens, it is a perfect one for blog-hop-newbies to get their feet wet with, because the only theme is to link up an old post.  It’s called the Tuesday Archive Link-Up, and it is run on Thursdays.  Kidding.  It goes live every Tuesday morning.  Since I’m a co-host, if you click over to my blog on a Tuesday, you can link up. 

 

Brevity Makes Good Bedfellows

You really can link up any old post of yours, but my suggestion would be to go with something relatively short (in other words, the opposite of this-here post), and preferably light/humorous.  If someone is going through the link list, and they get to yours and see it’s a long one, they might just click back out.  Sure, you’ve gotten them over there, so you got traffic, but you want folks to come back for more, right?  It’s like a brick-and-mortar business: the sign got them in the door, and that’s great, but you don’t want them walking right back out.  You want them to stay while, look around, and come back another time, bringing a couple friends with them.

So that’s about it, folks.  The long and the short of blog hops.  I hope you found some helpful information here, and I hope you find blog-hoppin’ as easy and as fun (and as traffic-generating) as I have.

Please give me a shout anytime you have a question.   As long as it’s not “what’s the url for the Cat Crazy Blog?”  Because I just made that up.

 

31 comments for “Blog Hoppin’

  1. Becca
    October 23, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Great post!! I’ve always wondered about blog hops. They seemed like a good idea, but I just didn’t know the details of how to get started. Thanks for the info! I’m gonna head over to your hop and link up, as soon as I find a good, old post I want to share. 😉

  2. October 23, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Yay Becca! Can’t wait to see you “on the other side”! Let me know if you have any questions about the process.

  3. October 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Great step-by-step (or hop-by-hop) information, Anne. I think I’ll give it a try.

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

      I “hop” you do, Michelle! No time like the present.

  4. October 23, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Important thing first: Nikita and and Elvira wanna know where that cat hop is!:-)

    Excellent post!

    After a decade my blogs still get more spam visitors and comments that real ones, so I don’t know how’s hopping might help. Your piece gives food for thought

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks, Kiril. And I think hopping will help. It won’t do anything about keeping spam at bay, but it will draw in more “real” viewers, and that’s what they all want, right?
      As for the cat hop list, sorry. Truly made up. Althought I do not doubt there is one out there for the finding!

  5. October 23, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I’ve never joined a blog hop, so it’s so nice to read your expert advice about it. I’m going to check your Tuesday Archive Link-Up today. Thanks for enlightening me!

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

      You’re so welcome, Emily! Can’t wait to “see” you over at the hop!

  6. kirilkundurazieff
    October 23, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Excellent article!

    Though Nikita and Elvira are a bit dissappointed there was no cat hop or crazy cat blog to chedck out. 😀

    Not sure how best participating in Blog Hops can help us.

    While the cats, escpecially have a modest following, the sad truth is that over a decade my blogs have mostly had Googlers passing thru, mostly to look, not comment, or share, hundreds of attempts a day by spammers to leave comments.

    In the 3 weeks I was without a computer recently typepad blocked 50,000 spam comment to the cat blog alone. 😀

    Over the years I have made it a point to comment on others blogs, and to share links to posts I liked, and my cats are one of 2 people (and 4 blogs) that are primarily responsible for keeping one of the oldest weekly blog carnivals online, alive, Carnival of the Cats (Nikita Hosted #449 this past sunday).

    In its heyday the carnival used to get 50 or more contrinutions a week, and a huge variety of hosts.

    The last couple of years we are lucky to get 10 to 15, and this from a huge community that seems to have forgotten the benefits of such a thing.

    There is an Animal Blogger Blog Hop that gets 100 contributions a week, and the Friday Ark that get around 50 varied animal kingdom related entries, but we are trying to find a way to bring back Carnival to its glory in time for its 500th edition.

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Wow, Kiril, impressive! I do join up with the Pet Blogger’s Hop on Saturdays, and I know many of the blogs there are “written” from the perspective of the pets themselves. I’m sure there are many, many more out there. And now we all know anout yours! Thanks for the tip!

  7. October 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for the info on blog hops! I’ve never participated in one, but I have linked up on a few sites that issue prompts. I believe I might take your advice and drop on by! Thanks Anne!

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I sure hope you do, Dana. It’s fun and it brings in lots of traffic (if done right). What could be better? And I realized I made a mistake when I referenced the growth of my blog. From before hops to now, my monthly views have more than doubled (nearly tripled). I know there are other factors at play, but I truly believe this has been the most significant thing I’ve done towards my goal of increasing traffic.

  8. Melody Pearson
    October 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Hey, this sounds a lot like Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers without the photo prompt. Same concept, even to the Linky thing. I didn’t realize there were other types out there. I’ll have to take a look around. Thanks for a great post. We are moving out into the world.

    • October 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

      I’m not familiar with that, Melody. Will check it out. Thanks!

  9. October 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Just wanted to take a second to apologize to everyone for not being more prompt with my replies. I was at the oral surgeon’s for the better part of the morning. Good thing my replies are typed and not spoken!
    Anyway, thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, and best of luck to everyone with finding good hops.

  10. Sabra Bowers
    October 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent post for us. I’m going to your blog to give this idea a try. Thanks, Anne.

    • Anne Kimball
      October 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Great, Sabra! See you over there. Thanks….

  11. October 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Great post, Anne! I’m so excited to learn more about blog-hopping, and I’ll be over to check yours out. I sometimes do “The Sunday Whirl,” which I just realizing from your description is a kind of blog hopping for poets (the Linky thing, etc.), so I’ve been blog-hopping and didn’t know it. Thanks for the thorough info. This is good stuff to know!

    • Anne Kimball
      October 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks, Gerry! Yes, it sounds like you already are hoppin. The more hops, the merrier. Hope to see you at the TALU!

  12. October 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Anne,

    Great post. I added the default image to the post. Feel free to re-edit with a pic of your choice. I’m excited by how social our Tuesdays are becoming! Great information. I will have to give it a go. I feel your oral pain. I was in the dental hot seat two weeks ago. Family lore says that my maternal great-grandpa lost all of his adult teeth in his forties as another complete set grew in. I thought that would be a gene worth inheriting. Apparently, I missed out.

    • October 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Lara, that family lore story is too funny — one of a kind! Too bad you didn’t inherit that. Thanks for inserting the pic — much better!

  13. Linda G Hatton
    October 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Anne, I hadn’t heard of blog hopping before. Interesting. I’ve lost momentum with my blogging lately. I’ll have to peek into your blog on Tuesday and hopefully get back to it. Thanks! 🙂

    • Anne Kimball
      October 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Definitley worth it, Linda, imho. Once I got the knack of it, it increased my traffic and my followers tremendously. It takes time, but I’ve gotten more “return” on that than from anything other steps I’ve taken. Hope to see you Tues!

  14. October 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Oohhh, so that’s what blog hops are! Thank you for taking the mystery out of blog hops!

    • October 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Glad I could clear up the “muddy waters”, Muddy!

  15. October 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This is so informative that I’ve bookmarked this post. Thanks, Anne. I’ll be using your advice… as soon as NaNoWriMo is over.

    • Anne Kimball
      October 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Glad I could be of help, Kim. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

  16. socciwriter
    November 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I just found this, Anne. Great job in explaining the details of blog hops. I just did my first today with “Create with Joy.” Fingers crossed…

    • November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Good for you, Amanda! Here’s hoping you find many more and get loads of traffic!

  17. Val Hudgins
    November 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I’m reading this later than most, but have wondered about this “blog hop” bit. Thanks for clearing up the mystery. Being from the vegetarian world, I wonder if I might start my own. I would really welcome your expertise in this area. How do you start / maintain / police / enjoy a blog hop? Maybe that can be another post for you! Hahah. Thanks!

    • November 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Val, I’m afraid I have no answers at the ready for you, as I’ve never started a blog hop. I do co-host one, but someone else does all the legwork, and I just copy the linky code into my blog the night before it’s published. I think you have a great idea for a hop (vegetarian). Try Googling arvixededicated, or linky tools, and I believe you will probably find what you need. I challenge you to write the next post on this: How To Start Your Own Blog Hop, by Val Hudgins. There. The gauntlet has been thrown.

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