Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What IS A Carnival Exactly?

A lot of people are confused about a blog carnival and what it's supposed to do for the blogging community. When I first heard about the Carnival of Homeschool I was also quite confused and didn't understand it, but that was over a year ago and since then I have been participating myself in several and even started one, The Homesteading Carnival (THC), which, of course, I would all like you to participate in if you can.

Now, that I'm a designer/HTML guru I get a lot of questions regarding all aspects of blogging, including "what's a carnival?" so I thought I would share with you in case you were wondering and you're welcome pass this along to anyone else.

1. Carnivals To Join
The Homesteading Carnival (THC)
Carnival of Homeschooling (COH)
Carnival of Education
Learning in the Great Outdoors
Music Education Blog Carnival
The Charlotte Mason Carnival
Bookworms Carnival
Smile for the Camera
Being Dad
A Carnival Of Everything Home
Carnival of the Recipes
Make it from Scratch!
Carnival of Christian Women
Carnival of Family Life
Beauty Carnival
A Carnival of Country Living

These are not all, not even close, but ones that I have participated in. My friend Christa Taylor just started the Carnival of Modesty at her blog: Modesty Carnival (I made the banners and icons). If you click on any of the links above it will take you to a site called BLOGCARNIVAL.com where simply everyone lists their carnival in the directory. You're able to read what the carnival description, when it's posted, and how to submit an article. Very easy.

2. What "Carnival"?
Though I have never had an official word on it, I believe people call them carnivals because like going to a carnival where they have many different booths, all on the same topic, but with different information. The only thing that differs from a blog carnival and a real carnival is you don't have to pay an admission fee, it's not just for pointless amusement, and you can visit at anytime of the day.

3. What's The Purpose?
A carnival is designed to bring people together from all over, all from different viewpoints, writing about the same topic (ie: homesteading, homeschooling, education, etc) to educate you or to inspire. A carnival enables you to share your ideas and to learn from others... ideas, tips, thoughts, and experiences. It's also very convenient because all the links on this one subject are all in one place. You can use this carnival to visit many in a short amount of time, and you'll know exactly when as all Carnivals have a "day of the week" they publish.

3. Participating
Now, that you got an idea about what a carnival is you may find one you want to participate in. The easiest way to submit an article is using the blogcarnival form. You add your link into the URL box and the page will then reload with all the information from that post. After that all you do is add your name and email and push send. BlogCarnival will then send your entry to the host for that week, and the host will have your email to let you know when the carnival is posted.

4. Why?
One very good reason to participate in a carnival is to get exposure and meet people who have a common interest. When you give out your blog links, free of charge no doubt, people will then come to your blog to read it. I have had a lot off good blog exposure through carnivals, and it's always nice to meet new people.
5. Promoting
It is kind and polite to announce and promote the carnivals you participate in on your blog and spread the word. This will get more people reading your posts and more joining the carnival, which will also give you more exposure. A lot of times carnivals have an icon to place on your sidebar as icons are more likely to catch someone's attention than a text-link will - this also helps remind you to submit something.

5. Hosting
The first rule of hosting is you must participate in the carnival. It's unfair for you to host a carnival, especially a popular one, if you have not helped it by contributing for at least a month. When you're a "weekly attendee" you may be asked or offer to host a carnival, which is very simple. Just be participating in carnivals you get the idea of how it's put together. A lot of times people are creative and do the carnival in "editions. I just posted THC's edition called "The Carnival Can Help" and focused on how the carnival can better your life. As host you're welcome to do the carnival in whatever fashion or theme you please - adding photos, quotes, etc. Depending on the popularity of the carnival will depend on how long it takes you to put it together. Some carnivals get 50-100 submissions weekly while others only get 15-25. When you're done with the carnival usually late the night before it's supposed to be posted you publish it and then email everyone who submitted something with the link to it and ask them to announce it on their blogs. You should also always include a link to the blogcarnival form (for that carnival) and a link to the next week's host (or the carnival's home blog).

I hope this has enlightened and inspired you to participate in a carnival. I know there is a carnival for every one of you so come on and join the fun!

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  • At September 7, 2008 at 6:02 PM , Blogger 5intow said...

    Thank you so much for this thorough explanation of carnivals. I have participated in a couple, but still had lots of questions. Thank you for lots of answers!


  • At December 29, 2008 at 5:37 PM , Blogger Ruth said...

    This is very helpful. I have a question. At what point does one put the icon on their site? After their article is accepted or before?

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