Monday, May 16, 2011

A million and one link parties: How to organize and track them.

If you have participated in some of the weekly link parties held at various blogs hopefully you have seen some good traffic to your blog as a result. During the past week I had considered writing up a little post about how to organize the many parties out there, and when I received an email from a fellow blogger asking me how I handled it, I decided to write this post.

I'm sure to some of you this may seem overly thorough but I am a little bit OCD when it comes to organizing so this works for me. Consider the following post a tutorial of sorts of how to set up and organize your link party list, track previous parties, and minimize the time you have to spend each day actually submitting your posts. If you have any feedback or tips of your own, please leave a comment.

  • Picking your parties - What I did in the beginning was to basically copy another bloggers party list as my starting point. I emailed her and asked her if this was okay. After all, she had spent the time to write up a nice page for her parties, it seemed only fair that I ask if it was all right if I swiped it. This was just the first step for me. I knew I wanted to edit out parties that didn't relate to my blog, as well as add many more that she didn't list.
  • Creating the master list page - Quite a few bloggers provide a link on their sites to their regular link parties, so I bookmarked about half a dozen, visited said parties, and added the ones that applied to my master list. You can do this easily by creating a page on your blog and listing each day of the week and the parties underneath each heading. I did this and it worked well enough, but I needed more information.
  • Tracking the parties - I realized half way through my first week that I was going back to a few blogs again and again to verify if I had participated in their party. This lead to a lot of wasted time. I pulled up Gmail and opened up a Google doc and created a spreadsheet. Look for it in the top navigation bar, sometimes listed under the "more" tab if you don't use it much.  I simply copied my master party list by highlighting the text, copying and pasting into the spreadsheet. See the screen shot below for more details.

Organized by day of the week. Also shown is a column to mark if you've added their button to your blog (I haven't compiled this info yet so my column is blank), then following that I give each week a column and specify what post I am submitting. An "x" means I have submitted successfully to that party. Two marks is two posts submitted, etc.
  • Keeping your parties current - After several weeks of tracking parties, you should be able to see which parties have closed down or gone on hiatus. I will usually mark a party by bolding their name in black text to signify that they are no longer current, and if by a few weeks time they aren't back, I put the name in red to signify that their info needs to be removed from the spreadsheet as well as the link page on my site.

    Red crayons used to block the lapsed parties info. Poor little parties! Come back to us!

    • Prioritizing parties - Using the extremely basic traffic counter provided by blogger on the "Stats" page, I assign a few select blogs a bold color to let me know that they have provided large numbers of hits to my site. That isn't to say they are any better than other parties, but if I don't have much time to spend submitting to parties, I know to hit up these blogs first. Speaking of saving time...


    Create a second sheet within your spread sheet to remind you of what the colors mean. I haven't tracked the referrals of the week, but I added it incase I wanted that option later.


    Time Saving Tips -
    1. If you are able to, submit earlier in the day. The earlier the better. The reason being that the linking tools used by parties often get quite bogged down during the day and evening. What takes you 15 seconds to do in the morning can take 3 minutes in the afternoon.
    2. Take the time to make sure your party page list of links is identical to your spreadsheet. This means you wont be searching through your lists trying to match things up. I pull up my link party page in one tab, the spreadsheet in the next, and just go boom-boom-boom down the list. No searching necessary as it all matches up sequentially.
    3. Make sure the picture you are going to use in the party doesn't need intensive cropping. One less step in the process saves you time over the long haul.
    4. If you only have a few minutes to commit to submitting your posts to parties, keep the priority parties marked by bold text and coloring their names on your spread sheet.
    And finally, one thing that makes me go “huh??” every week. Link parties that are set for a certain day of the week, as in the day of the week in is their party name, yet they post the day before. That always bugs me. I think I am gonna be on time to link up for “Tuesday blah de dah” or “Friday doop de doo” and I visit the website the morning of the party and 300 people have already linked up the day before. Doh! :)

    I hope this tutorial helped you to achieve your party goals. If you have any questions, thoughts or tips, please share them in a comment.

    Party buttons can be found here. I'm linking up to:  

    {M) Melt in Your Mouth Mon, Motivate Me MonMaking the World Cuter, Made By You Mon, Made By You Mon, Made by Me Mon, Made With Love Mon, Share Mon, Market Yourself Mon,  Craft-O-Manic Mon, Amaze Me Mon, Metamorphosis Mon, Get Your Craft On, This Week's Cravings, Unwasted Homemaking, Making Mon Marvelous, Mad Skills, Craftastic Mon, DIY Project Parade, Inspire Me Mon, Make Something Mon, Link Party Mon, Mangia Mon, Marvelous Mess Mon, Mad Skills Mon, Homemaker Mon, Mouthwatering Mon, Food'e' Friend Mon, Momspiration Mon, Hunk of Meat Mon, {T} Show Me What You Got,  Tempt My Tummy Tues, Take A Look Tues, Handmade Tues, Make It Yours Day, Show and Tell, All Thingz Related, Anti Procrastination Tues, Tutorial Tues, Tell All Tues, Ten Buck Tues, Too Cute Tues, It's Sew Fun Tues, Tues Time Out, Delectable Tues, Ten on Tues, Toot Your Horn, Tip Me Tues, A Little Birdie Told Me, {W} Whatever Goes Wed, Creative Share Wed, Sugar And Spice, Show Off Your Stuff, Wed Link Party, Hoo's Got Talent, We Did It Wed, Linkin' with Luna, Link Party, Inspired by You Wed, What I Whipped Up Wed, Whassup Wed, Getting Crafty, Anything Goes, Made It On Mon, Look What I Made, Whisking Wed, What I Made Wed{Thur} Strut Your Stuff ThurI'm So Crafty, Crazy Cute Thur, Hookin' Up, Thrifty Thur, A Crafty Soiree, Frogs & Snails, Transformation Thur, Making It with Allie, Catch A Glimpse Thur, It's a Keeper Thur, Things I Love ThurGet Your Craft On , Full Plate Thur, Sweet Treat Thur, Almost Fri Flaunts, Creative Juice Thur, Recipe Swap Thur, {F} Sweet Tooth Fri, Sweets This Week, Frugal Fri, Feature Yourself Fri, Foodie Fri, Home and Family Fri, I'm Lovin' It Fri, Show and Tell, Fri Favorites, Favorite Things Fri, Fantastic Fri, Show and Share Day, Fun with Food Fri, Weekend Wrap-Up, Pity Party, Simply Link Party, Lovely Crafty Weekend, Tickled Pink, What's Cooking In the Kitchen, Everything But the Kitchen Sink, Hodgepodge Fri, Favorite Things Fri, Fri Link Party, Inspiration Fri, For the Kids Fri, Whatcha Got Weekend, Make and Share, Fri Free for All, Flaunt it Friday, Who Made What Weekends, Weekend Wander, Foodie Fri, Simply Creations Fri Link Party, Finer Things Fri, Frugalicious Fri , Fancy Fri, {Sat} Check Me Out Sat, Sundae Scoop, Show and Tell Sat, Sat Spotlight, Sat Nite Special, Sat is Crafty Day, Shindig Sat, Sat Swagger, Sweets for Sat, Summer Lovin' Sat Soiree, Sat Swap, {Sun} Sun Showcase, Sun Favorites, Sister Sister Sun, Recipe Link Party, Just Something I Whipped Up, Sew Darn Crafty, Think Pink Sun, Not Baaad Sun, Sun Blog Hop, Sun Linky Party, Nifty Thrifty Sun, Sun at One Food Club, Your Kitchen, My Recipe, Potluck Sun, Sweet Indulgences Sun, So Sweet Sun, Savory Sun

    43 comments:

    1. Excellent post! Boy I thought I was organized until I saw this - you are ultra organized!!

      I try to make note of the parties that post the evening before. It actually works better for me because I work full time and can't link up until the evening and I'm often down at the bottom of the link ups as a result - but I do like to know one way or another in advance so I can classify it under the previous days party if they post early - of course some are just in another part of the world where it's actually a different day!

      Also one of my pet peeves is having the host stop by to visit, if they don't I usually don't continue making an effort to participate.

      Again thanks for this great post! :-)

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    2. Smart ideas! And I love your blog title - reminds me of one of my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes. :-) www.delightfulcountrycookin.com

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    3. WOW! if only I could be so lucky as to be this orginized.Great post,but I don't know how to create "a page",how do I?
      Thanks for visit.And hope you can follow back!
      ~Jo
      LazyonLoblolly

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    4. Holy smokes are you organized!

      I post my parties the night before to give everyone a chance. Parties posted first thing in the morning here on the East coast become live in the middle of the night for West coasters, so I always post at 10 pm the day before.

      Great tips!

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    5. I use a similar system but it has gotten way messy lately. You've just inspired me to clean it up! Thanks for the tips!

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    6. Great ideas. I saw you on tip junkie. Thanks for sharing these ideas!

      Emily -- www.bitsofeverything.com

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    7. This is great! TFS!! Stopping by from Reasons to Skip the Housework.

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    8. This is an outstanding idea! Thank you for helping me to simplify these tasks too!
      Best wishes, Amber

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    9. Oh, and I stopped by from Home Sweet Farm's linky.

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    10. I made up a word document list of blog parties, but this is way more organized, thanks for the ideas!

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    11. Wow, this is awesome. Thank you so much! I'm finding myself drowning in a sea of link parties - this is super helpful. You rock! :)

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    12. Thank you for the compliments everyone. I'm so glad to read that this has been helpful to others. :)

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    13. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing! One thing I do is keep my list of link parties in an Excel spreadsheet -- however, I include hyperlinks to the page. That way I don't have to cross check 2 lists to make sure I have everything. I just work my way down the spreadsheet links.

      I do the same thing with my list of recipes too.

      I love the idea of denoting which parties send the most traffic! I'm off to update my list now! :)

      Thanks for sharing! And, feel free to check out my list of link parties on It's a Keeper!

      Cheers!
      Christina @ It's a Keeper
      Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

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    14. WOW- you are on top of things! What a great idea. Love how you put all your link parties at the end of your post in small font size too. guess I had better start getting organized this weekend!

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    15. LOve it..totally going to try this thank you so much:)

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    16. Christina - That is a good tip on using a hyperlink. I could probably paste the link into the spreadsheet at this point, if I have the energy. Hah.

      I wish the spreadsheet let me just create a link, there seems to be no option to do that with the google spreadsheet. So my only option is to copy the full URL into the spreadsheet, which I'm not 100% it would turn into a hyperlink. So it may or may not work, least with the google doc platform.

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    17. Ali -- I created my doc in Excel and the uploaded to Google doc. That way I'm able to access the spreadsheet from multiple computers too.

      Thanks for all of the great tips! I just updated my spreadsheet with my top referrers! I was a little amazed by some!

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    18. This is stunning! I can't wait to take your advice and put it into practice! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!

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    19. Wow. You have really thought this through. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I keep mine listed in my sidebar and just click down the list, and when I used to participate in more parties I did like you with the copy and paste of all the linkies. I just grabbed your linky list to see what I'm missing out on. BTW, feel free to link up to my Monday and Friday recipe linkies.

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    20. Wow! I would love it if you would come link this up at Fun For Kids Friday! Though it isn't exactly kid related it certainly helps all of us that participate in link parties!

      http://smilemonsters.blogspot.com/2011/05/fun-for-kids-friday_19.html

      Jo @ SmileMonsters

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    21. Thank you! This is helpful. I am new to blogging and am trying to get it all figured out!
      xoxo
      amy

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    22. Such a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

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    23. You are super organized! I am jealous! This is super information!

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    24. Thanks for all the information. I am new to all this and I love it when I get help!!!

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    25. You are brilliant for creating such an organized method for your link parties... and wonderful for sharing it with everyone! Thanks!

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    26. OK Ali...I am so impressed! This is perhaps the best post I have read since I started blogging. I NEVER thought of keeping track of the linky parties in a spreadsheet. Do you mind if I link this post to my Advice To New Bloggers Page? If I had seen this when I started blogging my life would be so much easier! So glad I met you...~Ann

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    27. This is a very unique and useful post! Thank you so much for visiting my link party, and a great tip!

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    28. Hi. Visiting from LambAround and while I am organized, this is amazing. I do think I may have to borrow some of your thoughts on how you use Google docs.

      Thanks!

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    29. I'm excited about your post and organization idea, but even MORE excited to have found your blog!! You have lots of yummy ideas!

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    30. What a great idea! Keeping track of all the parties really can be difficult - thanks for the tips.

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    31. Thanks for the great tips! My list of link parties has DEFINITELY grown to an almost overwhelming size, so I could benefit from making a spreadsheet like this.

      Thanks for sharing with So Sweet Sundays!

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    32. This is a great blog! Found you from Remodelaholic this week. This is great advice! I also have a linky- Fat Camp Fridays, that runs from Friday-Sunday. Would love for you to come check it out and link up!
      http://www.mangoesandchutney.com/search/label/Fat%20Camp%20Friday

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    33. Thanks for this as a new blogger its a big help!

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    34. Thanks so much for sharing this, I am going to start using some of your ideas right away! I am a pretty new blogger, so I appreciate this.
      Came by from flamingo toes:)

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    35. Absolutely brilliant tips and system for keeping party-going under control. Thank you so much for linking-up to "A Little Birdie Told Me..."! Not only have I learned a lot, but I'm sure the other party-goers and readers will reap the benefits of your expertise as well!

      Best,
      Jenn/Rook No. 17

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    36. My goodness you're organized! I'm impressed :)

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    37. I have a question -- is there an unspoken rule about how many parties one should link to per project? I just participated in my first parties this week, and didn't want people to think, "Oh, we've already seen that a million other places."

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    38. Thank you! I'm hoping to link up to my first parties next week and this is just what I'm looking for! To Busy Procrastinating - I've heard bloggers complain that people send them the same things each week, but not that the same things are going to different sites. What do you think?

      Thanks again!
      Kristen @ http://busykidshappymom.blogspot.com/

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    39. Ali thank you so much for this wonderful post. I have been searching for a better way to organizing my party links and I love yours. I did a little exploring on the Google spreadsheet and found that you can make the entry in any column a link by typing in the url into the field and when you click on the url it asks if you want to go there.
      Thanks again for help.
      Traci

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    40. Oh my gosh am I glad I found this post in Google Search. This is going to save me soooooo much time. Thank You So Much!!!!
      Marie@TheInteriorFrugalista

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    41. I love the way your spreadsheet is set up. Mine was way too complicated.

      Thanks,
      Raki

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      Replies
      1. I hope it offered some help / inspiration to improve your spreadsheet Raki. :)

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