Sunday, August 17, 2008

Increase Your Traffic: Blog Carnivals

Today's guest post is from Kelly of Almost Frugal:

Carnivals! The word conjures up party hats, Hawaiian shirts, drunken revelry, New Orleans once upon a time. Get ready to discover a new use for the word, as in the blog carnival.

While bouncing around the web, you might have stumbled across a blog announcing something along the lines of 'Welcome to the 69th Carnival of Money Stories' followed by a whole bunch of links. And you might have then followed some of the links and read some of the posts and ended up in another place and forgotten the blog you visited in the first place. That was a blog carnival.

What is a blog carnival? Very simply, it is a post in which there is a collection of blog posts, published within a set period of time, around a common theme. It is different from when one blogger finds and posts links to some of their favorite finds of the week because in a carnival, people submit their articles to be included.

How does a carnival work? Usually, each week the carnival is hosted by a different host, who is nothing more than a blogger who has agreed to coordinate and publish all the entries. A blogger submits their article to be included in the carnival. The host blogger approves the entry or not. The carnival is then published on a preset day, usually weekly. Most carnivals require you to link back to them from your blog, which is why you will often find posts announcing there participation in such.

What kinds of carnivals are there? There are all kinds of carnivals, from carnivals on personal finance and frugality, to ecological issues, to family life, to pilates fitness. You name a niche and there's probably a carnival for it.

Where do you find a carnival? You'll possibly have already stumbled upon carnivals in your niche, just by reading other blogs in your niche. One of the best places to find a carnival is BlogCarnival.com which is both a listing and submitting service for carnivals. You can also rely on the trusty Google search, by searching for 'Carnivals of' plus your desired topic.

How do you submit posts to a carnival? There are usually several ways to submit a post to a blog carnival. You can do so through BlogCarnival.com if the carnival is listed with them (not all of them are). In general a carnival will often have a home page and you can also submit posts through them.

Why should you submit posts to a carnival? Being part of a carnival is one of the best ways to publicize your blog. Typically, carnivals are fairly heavily promoted and people interested in reading about a certain subject will make sure to follow a carnival on the topic. Participating in a carnival can help tremendously in gaining exposure for your blog and increasing readership. Another benefit of participating in carnivals, especially if you regularly contribute to the same ones, is that other bloggers will start to recognize your name and you can begin to build a network of bloggers in your niche. I have found that my informal blogging network has been a huge help in building my blog. Finally, carnivals help search engines to find and validate your blog based upon the links going to and from it.

Have you participated in a blog carnival yet? If so, how did it go? If not, what's stopping you?

Kelly is an American, living in France with her handsome French frog and three children. In an effort to stay on the frugal path, she writes Almost Frugal, a blog about frugality for the rest of us. For more great posts on family, frugality and France subscribe to her feed!

Read more about blog carnivals:
Daily Blog Tips Website Traffic Series: Blog Carnivals
MammaBlogga: Blog Carnivals Start to Finish

photo by StuSeeger via flickr

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