Collect traffic and backlinks by participating in Blog Carnivals

Participating in Bog Carnivals is a great way to increase your exposure in the blogoshpere. The main benefits you get are:

  • a few more backlinks to your site for free (proper follow links too, not the less useful nofollow variety)
  • referral traffic from the carnival itself
  • networking opportunities with other proactive bloggers

If you’re a blogger keen to develop your readership, those are all essential things you should be aiming to do at every opportunity! They all directly and indirectly lead to increased traffic to your site (more on that later).

What exactly is a Blog Carnival?

When I first came across this term, I found it a bit confusing, and consequently thought “sounds complicated – I’ll come back to that later”. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s how Blog Carnival defines it:

A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community. There are many kinds of blogs, and they contain articles on many kinds of topics. Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. A Blog Carnival is like a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis (e.g. every monday, or on the first of the month). Each edition is a special blog article that consists of links to all the contributions that have been submitted, often with the editors opinions or remarks.

To be honest, I still find that a bit confusing. My definition is more along the lines of:

A Blog Carnival is a special kind of blog post in which the author solicits submissions from other bloggers about a particular topic, and publishes a link round-up post which includes links to those posts that meet the criteria.

Often, an example is the best way to understand a concept, so check out some of these carnivals that have recently featured some of my articles (thanks guys):

Can anyone join?

I always thought you had to be well-known or belong to some special club to participate in carnivals, but the truth is that anyone can submit articles for inclusion in a carnival. The only pre-requisite is being a blogger and having written a post that meets the submission guidelines. Different carnivals focus on different topics and have different guidelines, so you should be able to find at least a handful of potential ones to participate in. Carnival hosts (ie the blog which compiles the carnival post) retain editorial control over what gets published, so there is no guarantee your post will make the cut, but if you submit only your best content, chances are it will.

How do I submit an article?

It’s really very simple – just follow these steps:

  1. Find a carnival that’s somehow related to your blog’s topic
  2. Check out a previous carnival post
  3. Fill out the submission form

Step 1: Find a carnival related to your blog’s topic

You’ll find a long list of available carnivals at Blog Carnival, along with details of when the next edition is. Some carnivals in the list will be dormant, so I tend to only choose ones that list an upcoming edition in the next few weeks. From this list you can click through to a carnival’s home page to find out more information on the submission guidelines etc.

Step 2: Check out a previous carnival post

This is optional, but if you feel the carnival is a good fit for your blog, go and check out the latest edition, which is accessible from the carnival’s home page. This’ll give you a feel for the kind of articles that are being accepted.

Step 3: Fill out the submission form

Follow the Submit an article link near the bottom of the carnival’s home page, which will bring up the following:

blog carnival submission form

It’s fairly self-explanatory, so I won’t go into too much detail about filling in the form. One piece of advice which I will give is to fill in a sentence or two in the Remarks field – this is normally displayed verbatim in the carnival post, and can help to lend your submission a little weight so it stands out from the rest. Don’t overdo it though, or the host may decide to chop it.

More on the traffic benefits of Blog Carnivals

Here are some of the ways those carnival links help your blog:

Each link that points back to your site is a way for new visitors to find you. Depending on the popularity of the carnival host, this could mean many or just a few extra visitors to your site.

Each link boosts your search-engine profile. Even if no visitors come to you directly via the carnival post, the extra link adds to your site’s importance in the eyes of the search engines, and consequently your posts will rise in the results when people do searches. Again, the degree to which this happens has a lot to do with the PageRank of the carnival host.

Carnivals are great networking opportunities. Think about it for a second: you submit your article to a blog carnival as a proactive way of drawing others to your site. The same goes for the other participants. Add to this the fact that each carnival is focussed on a particular topic, and you’ve got a great way to forge relationships with other like-minded individuals.

Forge relationships with other bloggers

I encourage you to read some of the other submissions to the carnival, especially those that appear to address a similar audience and themes as your own blog. If you feel you can add something to any of those posts, leave a comment or two. At the very least the other blogger is likely to visit your site to see who’s been visiting, and there’s a chance they may comment on one of your posts. And as they say “one thing leads to another…”.

This, to the best of my knowledge is the heart of successful blogging. Content is king alright, but if you don’t engage with others in the blogging community, you will never build a very substantial traffic base.

Agree? Disagree? Please share your views in the comments section below.

Related posts:

  1. All backlinks are created equal…not!
  2. Increase traffic to your blog with Social Bookmarking

14 Responses to “Collect traffic and backlinks by participating in Blog Carnivals”

  1. Gravatar of Dale 1 Dale


    I hadn’t noticed this article before, until I read your most recent one on strategic commenting. This is definitely an area I’ve wanted to explore a little more, and I appreciate your re-definition. It WAS a bit confusing to me, but no more….



  2. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 2 Rodney Smith

    Hi Dale, If I’m not mistaken, we first bumped into each other at a carnival? Or am I thinking of someone else? Thanks for the comment.

  3. Gravatar of Phil Taylor 3 Phil Taylor

    That’s a great way to get traffic and develop a rapport with other bloggers. Off to check the carnival list now to see what’s of interest. Thanks for the tip! :)

  4. Gravatar of Joseph Murray 4 Joseph Murray

    Great post! Lots of good information here on one of the fundamentals of building traffic.


  5. Gravatar of Michiel 5 Michiel

    Great post. I was thinking:“sounds complicated – I’ll come back to that later”. Then I accidentally bumped into this post and though I had to come back to this subject now!

    What i was wondering is: How can you organize your own blog carnival? Let’s say, I want to post such a carnival post on one of my blogs and give the links to other sites. (I also understand that a good blog carnival itself is attracting traffic) How would I start?

  6. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 6 Rodney Smith

    Michiel: I guess it depends how you want to go about it. Lots of sites publish posts which are essentially roundups of links to useful posts on other sites.
    Or if you want to host a full-on carnival, you can sign up at the Blog Carnival site.
    Good luck!

  7. Gravatar of Michiel Van Kets 7 Michiel Van Kets

    Rodney, sorry for my delayed reply … Thanks for the advice, I’ll have a look at it now :)

  8. Gravatar of Erin 8 Erin

    I’m actually familiar with this type of process, but I’ve never heard it termed ‘blog carnival’ rather guest blogging or other similar variations. I guess I have a new term that I could search for to come across these types of blogs. I personally have guess blogged on only several occasions, I typically stick with article marketing or other variations which have produced some fabulous results thus far.

  9. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 9 Rodney Smith

    Erin: you should give carnivals a try. This is different from guest blogging in that your articles remain on your own site, but links to them are included in the carnival posts on other blogs.

  10. Gravatar of Josh the Business Plan Guy 10 Josh the Business Plan Guy

    More wrinkles keep showing up in the link zoo. Personally, I really think backlinks are a farce. You’d think a company like Google could figure out a better way to rank a company.

  11. Gravatar of Scott Roberts 11 Scott Roberts

    Very interesting, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’d want to jump into. Has anyone had any success so far using blog carnivals?

  12. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 12 Rodney Smith

    Scott: There’s no great commitment involved, so why not give it a try and see for yourself? Personally I haven’t seen any dramatic results, but it’s just one part of my overall link building strategy. It’s a really easy way to get one-way backlinks!

  13. Gravatar of Kelly Allen 13 Kelly Allen

    I will appreciated your strategic commenting.and thanks for the explanation of Blog Carnivals.

    That’s a great way to get traffic on web really awesome


    Kelly Allen

  14. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 14 Rodney Smith

    Kelly: it’s my pleasure; I hope the linkbuilding goes well.

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