10 Steps to successfully hosting a blog hop

If you’ve thought about hosting a blog hop, but don’t know how, this post is for you. Blog hops are a great way to network and increase the traffic to your blog.

1. Pick your audience – Think about the audience you want to invite to your own blog. What do you write about? Who do you want to reach? What type of content would they be interested in? I’ve participated in blog hops for stay-at-home moms, Bible study participants, and writers. Although there is some overlap, each of the audiences has different goals and interests.

2. Draft some topics – After you’ve selected your audience, think again about the type of content they would be interested in and brainstorm some topics. The topic could be very general – anything to do with raising children; or it could be specific – discipline techniques that work with preschoolers.

3. Pick dates for the blog hop – You could set your blog hop to happen every Wednesday for a month, or every other Monday for twelve weeks, or every Sunday indefinitely.

4. Set up the blog hop “infrastructure” – I’m using InLinkz for my blog hops. It’s easy to set up an account, and you can create as many link-ins as you want for less than $2/month.

Setting up a blog hop on InlinkzTo set up your blog hop, you’ll need to enter a name for your blog hop, a description (so people know what it’s about and how to participate), the dates, and how the links will be displayed (usually with thumbnails). There are many other options you can select, such as receiving an e-mail every time someone links in so that you can make sure the links are working.

5. Invite people to participate – I send invitations through Facebook, Twitter, and organizations of which I’m a member. Think about where your target audience hangs out and place your invitation there. I found it helpful to keep a list of participants so that I could follow up with them if there were issues.

6. Send detailed instructions to participants – Here’s a sample:

Thanks for indicating you’re interested in participating in (Name of blog hop). The blog hop will start on (Date), but I would encourage you to write your post ahead of time and schedule it to post then. In your post, please mention you are part of the blog hop and include a link back to my blog (include link), so that others who are interested may also participate. This also encourages your readers to check out other posts on the blog hop.

I have developed a blog hop button for you to share on your site. Here is the code: (provide code; here is the code for my Writers’ Blog Hop button <a href=”http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=358604″ target=”_blank”><img src=”http://ruthlsnyder.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/blog-hop-for-writers-sm1.jpg” border=”0″ /></a>) NOTE: I will post on Monday, February 3rd about the process I followed to create my own button.

On (start date), make sure your post is live and then copy the link. Go to (provide link for blog hop e.g. http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=358604) and enter your name, e-mail address, and link to the post. You will also be able to pick a thumbnail which will appear on the blog hop site.

If you have any issues, feel free to contact me at: (provide e-mail address).

7. Write and schedule your own post – In order for others to participate, you have to have your own post up. Make sure you include the button on your own site and give clear instruction on how both bloggers and readers can participate.

Blog Hop PostInlinkz allows you to add your post before the link goes live. That way participants won’t be waiting impatiently for you on the day the blog hop launches.

8. Check links as they are added – As I mentioned, Inlinkz will send you an e-mail notification every time someone adds a link (as long as this option is selected when you create the link). Set aside time to check out each link. Sometimes people will insert a link to their website or blog in general rather than a specific link to the post for the blog hop. Inlinkz allows you to change the link so that readers will not be frustrated by having to search for the post they’re interested in reading.

9. Advertize the blog hop – Inlinkz gives you a built-in Twitter option which will post a tweet with the click of a button. You can copy and paste to share the link on all your other social media sites. If you want, you could also send e-mail invitations which include the link. The more you and your participants advertize, the more likely it is that you will all get increased traffic on your site.

10. Follow up with participants – During the blog hop, leave encouraging comments on participants’ blogs and share their links on your social media sites. Encourage them to do the same. After the blog hop concludes, follow up with the participants and find out what they liked and whether they have suggestions for improvement.

I’m currently hosting a blog hop for writers. If you’d like to participate, check it out at http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=358604

Have you participated in a blog hop? What did you enjoy about it? If you’re hosting a blog hop, feel free to share the link in the comments below.

My Writing Goals for 2014

Blog Hop for WritersNOTE: Writers: please click on the button above to share your blog link and participate in the blog hop. Readers: please click on the button to go to other writers’ blogs. They will be sharing posts along the same theme as this one.

“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.” ― Tara Moss

Path SignEach year, around New Year’s Day, I sit down and set some goals for myself. I find goals inspiring and look at them as guides, not something written in stone. Here are my writing goals for 2014:

1. Finish writing my novel, Olga’s Discovery. I’m working with Kathi Macias, the acquisitions editor for A Taste of Chocolate (an imprint of Elk Lake Publishing) on this project. She liked my proposal and I’ve promised her the first 20,000 words by mid-February. Currently, I’m at the 18,000 mark of my first draft. After that, I’m aiming to write at least 10,000 words per month until the story is finished.

2. Write a Twitter Manual for Writers. This was on my list last year, but I didn’t do it. I’m giving myself a goal of having the rough draft done by the beginning of May. Ongoing discussions with a publisher have given a kick-start. I’m aiming to get it done.

3. Write a full-length novel about Cecile and Colin. In December 2013, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, a novella, was released. I’ll admit that I packed a lot into the plot – too much to be resolved in the length of the novella. Several people have told me they are waiting to read the next part of the story. I’m in the early stages of working out plot details and doing research, with a view to continuing the story in a series-style manner – releasing several chapters at a time. My goal is to have the next part of the story released in October or November and then continue the story on until it’s a full-length novel.

Those are my main writing goals. I know that there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes as well. I want to move my website and blog from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org. I also want to continue to post regularly. The plan right now is to post 3 times a week:

  • Mondays – Writing related posts
  • Wednesdays – Posts about what I’m learning in my walk with God
  • Fridays – My fitness journey

Of course there’s social media to keep up with as well. I’m still figuring out how I’m going to fit this all into my schedule. (If you have any tips, I’d be happy to hear them.)

As I start this new year with enthusiasm and optimism, my prayer is that I will always be sensitive to God’s leading in my life and that if I have to choose between my writing goals and spending time with people, I’ll choose the people.

What are some of your goals for 2014? I’d love to hear about them so we can encourage and support each other throughout this coming year.