June 14, 2008

Blogging Tip #5: Using Blog Carnivals

This post was written in 2008, when blog carnivals still existed. Since none of the links initially included worked as of 2016, I removed them. Although I considered deleting the post, I decided to keep it as a record of what once was a valuable opportunity for bloggers: the blog carnival.

A blog carnival is a collaborative exchange where multiple bloggers submit posts from their respective blogs, posts they have already written and posted on their own blogs, to a blogger hosting the carnival on his or her blog. This system has many benefits, and it is one which more bloggers should utilize. In this post, I am going to review the benefits of participating in and hosting blog carnivals and offer some tips about how to get even more from this resource.

The benefits of blog carnivals are many. Here are some of the more important:
  • The host benefits from increased traffic from the sort of readers already likely to have an interest in the host blog's content (of course, this assumes that the host blog has similar content to the carnival being hosted).
  • Doing a good job hosting a blog carnival in one's content area is an excellent way for new bloggers to get on the map.
  • Bloggers who submit posts to blog carnivals bring additional traffic via posts they have already written. Not only is minimal effort involved, but this can be viewed as a way to breathe new life into slightly older posts.
  • Bloggers who submit posts to blog carnivals outside the main content area of their blog gain exposure to new readers.
Clearly, blog carnivals are something you need to use. The benefits are simply too good to pass up. So how can one best utilize blog carnivals to bring traffic and gain new readers? Here are some tips:
  1. Try to submit to at least one blog carnival every other week.
  2. Submit your better original posts. Remember, this is your chance to make a good impression. Use it well.
  3. If you are an atheist blogger, make sure you are aware of Carnival of the Godless and the Humanist Symposium. Understand their different goals and keep them in mind when writing your posts. Both get reasonable amounts of traffic and are an excellent way for atheist bloggers to gain exposure to readers interested in such material.
  4. Take the time to explore other blog carnivals and look for the opportunity to submit to carnivals not explicitly focused on atheism. For example, if you write a post with political content, seek a match with the various political carnivals.
  5. Recognize that some blog carnivals are more competitive than others in deciding which submissions to accept. Be persistent. It took me several tries before I had a post accepted by Carnival of the Liberals.
  6. Don't try to host a blog carnival until you are fairly confident you can do so effectively. Attracting a bunch of readers only to disappoint them is not going to help.
Used wisely, blog carnivals can be a great resource for increasing traffic, adding readers, and building a reputation in your area.