I am a scientist... so I am trying to use a scientific approach to understand a very simple thing:
*why are my linky party always pretty much empty?*
Using the scientific method I collected some facts, some numbers, some statistics about others and some comments. And then I drove some conclusions and set a plan for the near future.
Can you review my argument and help me understand if I am wrong or if something can be done to reverse the trend??
-- Facts --
- I started the linky party in Jan 2014, to share my weekly progress and open my blog for others to share theirs;
- The link is open more than just a single 24 hours, so even if I call it "Monday", people can add their link from Sat/Sun to Tue, so I think I am pretty flexible in terms of time;
- You can link anything you want: I don't require a finished project, nor a wip to be then linked as finished, nor a specific technique, nor a specific pattern/qal, and I don't even require that the blog post is recent. So I think I am pretty flexible in terms of content;
- I don't require to add a link back to my blog in each post, nor that you follow my blog: so I think I am pretty flexible on other extra-steps that you should do;
- I often offered giveaway for people that adds their link: I don't have sponsors and I have a full-time job so it takes an effort from my side to take the material out of my stash and to go to the post office and mail it to whoever wins (domestic or international, I never had any restrictions there either).
- So basically what I ask, is for people to add a link so that we can initiate some kind of relationship and we can get inspired by each other. Despite this very simple goal and my efforts to offer as much as I can from my side, it seems that the participation is close to zero (see the next section for the actual numbers).
-- Numbers --
- I had linky parties for 28 weeks;
- The parties (and my blog posts) have thousands of views (so it's not like none comes by... they come and leave without saying hi :( ). I could collect the exact numbers but it would take too much time;
- I had a TOTAL of 45 links, which means an AVERAGE of 1.6 links per weeks, with a MAX of 6 links for 1 weeks, and a MIN of 0 links for 8 weeks
-- Others --
- I myself join several linky parties... and link my own blog post (with my own linky party) in those other places;
- I add my link in parties where there are few links and in places where there are hundreds of links (to get some visibility... and I get views, but I don't get links...);
- Some of the hosts of these other parties do not comment on my entry (which is totally fine since they are so big that they probably don't have the time to do that) BUT some others comments on my entry, which means that they see the linky party and often it is still open... so why don't they link their own post in my blog?? I don't know... (**this is one of the points that surprise me the most... I really cannot understand this one**)
- as I said before, I participate in small and big parties, so these are some numbers from last week (and they are pretty consistent over time).
"Small" party: 10 entries (in ONE week)
"Medium" party: 59 entries (in ONE week)
"Big" party: 147 entries (in ONE week)
- Most of the others have either a very short range of time in which they are open, or they are about a specific technique, or they have text link without picture, or they require you to add buttons/link back, or they ask you to link just finished work, etc... all restrictions that are perfectly fine by me but I thought that less restrictions may help my case... apparently not
-- Comments --
- This is not a "new" issue, because I have seen these things discussed in several forums. And actually what they were discussing is from the other side: "is it worth it to add your link to a linky party?". And the discussion that followed really surprised me because it seemed that the answer from many people is "No, if the blog is small because you don't get traffic back on your site" or "No, if the blog is too popular, because if there are too many links you don't get traffic back on your site". So the only thing that matter is "traffic, traffic, traffic" O_O.
- While I understand that traffic may be important for people that have a business connected to their site, I have always seen link parties as opportunity to get inspiration and to create personal connections with people all over the world. So my approach is quite different: if my current blog post follows the rule of the linky party, I add my link, no matter if the blog is popular, if there are tons of other link or just few, if there are pictures or just text, ... If I come across a party, I add my entry, that's it. And I hoped that people would do the same on my blog... but apparently not...
- I know that not everyone has a blog... however in these linky you can link a flickr picture or anything that has an url. So even if with an estimate of 10% of the viewing people to actually have a blog and a blog post to share, I would have hundreds of links every week! even 1% would add more links that what I have now!!
-- Conclusions --
Even if the statistics about viewers of my posts are pretty good and even if I receive encouraging comments from people on my patterns/projects, it looks like they don't want to party with me.
It makes me feel like I am in high school organizing a party and giving out all invitations and then nobody shows up at my house :) I get a lot of support when I distribute the invitations but then no people to play with because I am not "the popular girl" that give traffic to their blog :(
And it doesn't even matter if I don't have restrictions on what to link nor if I offer giveaway out my own pocket.
So this situation calls for a plan!
-- Plan for the near future --
I already decided to cut the giveaways (in general) because the response is not what I expected. I will probably participate in the annual big one on Sew Mama Sew even if I believe that big events like that are pretty useless in terms of making personal connections because everyone is just rushing through the post to enter as many giveaways as possible (a lot of traffic, but that doesn't really matter to me). This is not always the case, because I found great new blogs to follow myself because of that event... but it's not so common to make real connections in that situation I think.
So now I give myself an ultimatum: I will keep the linky party open for other 4 weeks, but each week I need at least 5 links (from different people). If I get to the end of this "trial time" with the desired minimum number of links, I will keep the linky open for another few months and keep monitoring the situation. If for one of these "trial weeks" I don't get to 5 links I will just close MOP Monday and I will just share my own projects without asking you to come on my blog to inspire me and others with your work!
So as a famous character said: Let the game begin.