Mr Linky Compilations for the Nature-Science Set

There are a lot of weekly link compilations powered by a submission program called Mr. Linky. These are sometimes called memes, because many of them began and spread through informal communications on the web before Mr Linky was available. Popular examples among nature bloggers include:

Mr. Linky-powered linkfests are currently very popular, sometimes attracting more than 300 contributors per edition. They can be a considerable source of traffic for motivated participants but are different than traditional blog carnivals in three significant ways.

  1. Mr. Linky backlinks are JavaScript links, not HTML links. This means that they may send visitors your way but you will accrue no search engine algorithmic advantage from them.
  2. Some Mr. Linky-powered carnivals reset weekly rather than maintain an archive of editions.
  3. There’s little or no editing of entries, and the quality of submissions varies more widely than in moderated carnivals.

With potentially hundreds of links per edition, the standard way to stand out from the crowd and draw visitors to one’s own blog is to click through each link and leave a comment. It’s even more important to return visits to bloggers who visit you. Regulars to Mr Linky learn and remember which participants return clicks and which do not.

Other useful hints for participants include adding your link early, so that you are near the beginning of the listings, particularly when participating in the larger memes, and writing original comments each time. Pasting the same comment on multiple blogs is considered rude, and what’s more, will lessen your return visits from other participants.

You also have the option to host a meme on your blog. A popular meme will bring you traffic and links, but it can also be a fair amount of work. Hosting requires some technical ability and takes a small but measurable amount of time.  Well-run memes monitor for and delete spammers, porn sites, and other nuisances; trouble shoot user problems; keep Mr Linky up-to-date; and publicize and promote the meme regularly.  Unlike carnivals, Mr Linky compilations usually run at the same blog each week, rather than traveling around, though large memes may recruit additional interested blogger participants to help with support and monitoring.

Like carnivals and blogging itself, memes aren’t for everyone. However, if you are interested in a meme’s subject and have the time to participant and contribute, it can be a powerful way to expose your blog to more readers and perhaps attract additional readers or subscribers.

Disclosure: Wren, who contributed to this post, is one of the team who manage and promote the Skywatch and My World memes. This makes her knowledgable about Mr Linky and his friends, but also means she is not an unbiased observer. Her advice is to try one of the URLs above a time or two, and discover if it’s worthwhile for you and your blog.

3 Comments

  1. February 26, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    I agree. I started participating in Wordless Wednesday – sharing my photos of urban nature scenes and now Wednesdays are my most popular visit days. And you do form a bit of a community. I have WW participants whom I check out every week and there are those out there who check me out. After a while you feel like you know people.

    But pick something that comes easily for you. Don’t try to do too many, especially at first.

  2. December 8, 2009 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    I host a weekly biodiversity meme on The Adventures of a Free Range Urban Primate. Weekly on Thursdays I invite bloggers to blog about some form of life, and provide suggested “prompts”. Each first week of the month is Honor an Invert day.

    I don’t use Mr Linky, I use Simply Linked, although I originally just had people link in the comment section. Each week the links are preserved, so as the weekly meme develops people will be able to go back and view each entrant’s previous entries as well as the current week.

  3. January 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    There is also a Mr. Linky alternative. You can check it out http://www.inlinkz.com