As a blogger you know that your followers are one of the most valuable assetsof your blog. Even if the social media platforms or search engines change their algorithm, your followers are yours to keep.
Running link parties is a great way to keep your followers active and interact with them. In fact those who love your parties would like to be ensured that they won’t lose any of your upcoming parties.
Explore below to learn how you can keep your followers in your loop.
How an entrant can start following you
InLinkz allows entrants who participate in your link parties to become your followers by simply putting a check on the “Follow host” box while on the linking page.
Once an entrant becomes your follower, you will be able to send them a notification directly from your InLinkz dashboard to their inbox each time you run a new link party.
How to notify your followers
Here is how you can notify your followers (aka the entrants to your party) with three only steps:
1. Simply click on the “email followers” link on your new linkups board, as shown below:
2. Select the blog where you will host the link party.
3. Send the notification to the people that follow you.
The notifications that the followers will receive will look like this:
You can send them an email notification either when you create the new party so as to have enough time to schedule their entries or when the party opens so as to be RIGHT there when the party is ready for entries.
Encourage those who participate in your parties to start following you and not miss any of your link parties.
Challenges are a popular way to attract more followers, engage your audience and increase blog’s visibility. They’re also a great practice for online shop owners and marketers, as it can boost sales and grow their business.
A challenge, while it might require some preparation from you to nail down an enticing theme, set up rules and select the appropriate prizes, only takes a few easy steps to launch it with InLinkz.
Let’s explore how an InLinkz challenge works and how to host a challenge where everybody can join, even if they don’t have a blog.
What’s the new option in InLinkz challenges
Heretofore, in order to join an InLinkz blog challenge, it is required from entrants to submit a link, which usually is the URL of their blog post or their social account. Now, hosts can allow their entrants to join a challenge (or a giveway), even if they don’t have a link to sumbit.
2. Fill in the basic details of the challenge. Set your terms and conditions.
3. Enable the “This is a Giveaway“ option, if you want to pick a winner randomly at the end of the challenge.
4. Enable the “Allow entries without a link” option. Click to create the challenge.
4. Copy the code and add it to your blog while on the html mode.
5. Once the challenge opens, the +Add Links option will be shown. The challenge is now ready to accept entries.
How entrants can participate without entering a link
1. Participants can join the challenge by submitting a photo according to challenge rules. In case they desire to proceed without entering a link, they simply have to select the corresponding option on the link page, as show below:
2. Once they click on it, the widget will automatically switch to the upload function.
3. The entrants can now save an image on their computer and drop it in the widget.
4. Once they bring the image in, the only thing left is to enter a caption that describes the image, adjust it to fit, if necessary and save.
5. Here is how it will look like when the image is addedsuccessfully.
6. Since no link will have been assigned to this image, people that click on that image, will be directed to an InLinkz-hosted page to view it in a bigger scale.
If your audience loves your challenge and they desire to get notified eveytime you host a new challenge, then they have the option to start following you:
Spread the word
InLinkz encourages entrants to spread the word about a challenge by providing easily sharing buttons for Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. This is a great way for the host (you) to reach a wider audience.
Don’t miss promoting your challenge and talk about it on your own social networks and invite people to join so as to increase your exposure.
Starting today, you can add links quickly to multiple linkups using the recently-introduced Entries History function.
The Entries History is an incredibly useful feature designed to increase participation in link parties. Without much fuss, entrants are able to add the same links to different link parties with just one click!
Entrants don’t need to remember each specific link they have entered. Neither re-type the captions nor set cropping parameters for images, since it’s all in the History.
To use the Entries History:
1. Click to switch to History mode.
2. Your last added link will be displayed by default.
3. Click on the dropdown menu, if you want to select another link. Inlinkz will show you a list with the last 10 links you’ve added.
4. Scroll through and choose one link. Save.
5. Disable the history mode by clicking on the relevant button
A new link party has been announced and it is time for you to add a link.
Let’s see how you can do it with as few clicks as possible!
Before you get started, make sure you have read carefully the Terms & Conditions of the link party and follow the rules the host have set.
Click on the +Add Link button to expand the link options:
Add a link through the blog tab
The Blog tab will be open by default. Add the URL of your link (A).
As soon as you press enter or click outside this field, all the images found in the URL will be displayed.
Pick the one you want to submit (B). Click on the three lines that show up on the top-right corner of the image, if you need to crop the image. Apply.
The title of your link will automatically be picked up but you can change it, if you want (C).
Enter your email address (D). Once you enter it the first time, it will always be auto-entered.
Note: Your email will be no visible to other guests.
Save your submission (E).
Add a link through the Upload tab
If the URL of your link doesn’t bring the desirable image, you can always upload an image directly from your computer.
Drag the image in (A)
or past the exact URL of it (B).
Note: To copy the exact URL of the image, right click on the image and then select to “Copy image address”.
Share your link with your followers
Once you submit a link, you can share it with your followers on your Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter account so to get them informed of the new share and invite them to visit your link.
Add from history
A history feature is also available to the new InLinkz that keeps the old entries, in case you want to add the same link in another blog as well. All the fields will be pre-filled but of course you can make changes, if necessary.
Setting your timezone determines what time a link party opens and ends.
4. Select the “My Blogs” tab from the Profile box on the left to associate one or more blogs with your account.
To +Add a new blog click on the blue button on the right.
Enter your blog’s url on the first field.
Select one or more blog categories (by holding the ctrl/ cmd).
Enter a few tags to describe your blog.
Create your first link party
Now, it’s time for you to create your very first link party!
1. On your InLinkz dashboard, click on the +Newtab.
2. Select a title.
Note: This title will be displayed in the InLinkz Directory as well. To join our free link party directory, click here.
3. Set an opening and a closing date. Once you click on a desired date, the clock to set the time will be shown.
A link party opens for new submissions at the date and time set in the “Opening Date” field and closes when the “Closing date” is reached.
Here is how your link party will look on your blog before it opens:
Between the opening and the closing date, the widget will display an “Add Link“ button for entrants to add their links:
4. Select atype for the party. Choose to display captions under the images
or only the thumbnails without any additional information underneath.
5. Write the Terms & Conditions for your party and let your quests know about the rules, the prizes or any other prerequisites for joing the party. These will be visible on your blog just before the link collection.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a legal advice. You should seek your own legal counsel on your responsibilities under the GDPR. We cannot be held liable for any advice taken from this article.
So, now that this is out of the way, let’s see what the GDPR is.
What is the GDPR?
“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.”
On December 15, 2015, following three years of drafting and negotiations, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union reached an informal agreement on the EU GDPR.
The aims of the GDPR are:
1. To reinforce data protection rights of individuals 2. Facilitate the free flow of personal data in the digital market 3. Reduce the administrative burden.
What that means, in as few words as possible, is that it is a new law/regulation that makes sure the big companies do not abuse our private info for their own shady purposes. And if they do, then there is a common legislation to act upon.
Does GDPR apply to me?
Yes, you have to keep GDPR in mind, when your online business is based in Europe, or you do business with Europeans. GDPR spans B2B and B2C relations, regardless of size. So bloggers fall in the “apply” category as well.
There is some conflict regarding legal entities that do not engage in economic activity (4.18). From our point of view though, even if you do not make any money from your blog, you should still be GDPR compliant as it also states that this includes “partnerships or associations”. Those could mean e.g. your google analytics or facebook like button that makes money for them. So play it on the safe side.
But, I’m not located within the EU!
Your site should be GDPR compliant if even one EU citizen can access it. Unless your site is completely blocked for those Europeans, it still needs to be GDPR compliant. (There is also the question of what happens if this European is not on EU soil. There, it gets complex!)
Is it good?
Yes, it is. It gives some rights on the end user’s private data, back to the end user. If you have ever tried to remove your facebook account (and probably failed miserably), you will be able to do so from 25th of May, 2018 onwards. (YAY!)
So, why is GDPR so bad?
Just like with other laws, the motives are noble, but the actual technical implementation is unclear on many points. For small and specialized businesses, like e.g. a blog, some rules might be difficult to implement and even be counter-productive.
But why does everyone panic?
Have you seen people erasing their blogs and shouting out “THE END IS NEAR”, yet? If not, don’t worry, you will. This is all due to the fines that come with the GDPR.
The legislation states that the fines for not complying are up to €20M or 4% of annual revenue cycle (whichever is bigger). Sure, after seeing this number, you get a panic attack. This is what law firms and assorted “consultants” will tell you if you ask them to handle your case (and pay them of course).
Got your attention? Great! Now, please take notice at the “up to” and the comparison between €20.000.000 and 4% “whichever is bigger”. The case where the 4% of the annual revenue is bigger than 20 million euros is, when the company has an annual revenue of HALF A BILLION euros! This is not your blog they are talking about. These are big corporations that up to now, were abusing your private data to sell ads and produce human behavioral statistics to sell to governments and other big corps.
There is a whole paragraph on fines and between others it mentions, that the fines are analogous to the size of the business and the gravity of the situation. (check it out for yourself on paragraph (148) here)
According to the European Commission, the process of whacking you for non-compliance is as follows:
So, don’t panic. The legislation is here to make the internet a safer place, not to start the “Bloggers Behind Bars” movement (BBB for short). It is still early and the legislation hasn’t come into effect just yet. The industry will slowly adapt to the legalese and provide actual solutions to the technical problems the new laws introduce.
Of course, that does not mean you do not have to do anything. Au contraire!
What can YOU do to make your blog GDPR compliant
To approach it simply, there are three main things a blogger needs to understand first:
Know your personal data - clearly understand what you and your partners capture and process (we are one of those partners).
Be accountable – ensure you and your partners are accountable for personal data
Provide transparency & control – to your users (in many cases this means asking for consent)
Let’s delve a little deeper.
Under GDPR, personal data is any information relating to an “identifiable person”.
Identifiable information includes such things as a name, ID number, location, ethnicity or political standing. Data doesn’t have to be confidential or sensitive to qualify as “personal”.
For a typical blog, these Personal data would include:
Blog post comments data (name, email, IP)
Traffic stats plugins/tools such as Google Analytics
3rd party hosted services such as Jetpack, Bloglovin’ and Disqus
Email signup forms such as Mailchimp or FeedBurner
Issues relating to the location of your web host. E.g. data is transferred to servers outside the EU
Any plugins that you use will also need to comply with the GDPR rules. As a site owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that every plugin can export/provide/erase user data it collects in compliance with the GDPR rules.
Same goes for the services you use. Make sure they are GDPR-compliant. In case they are not, you must either drop them or make sure they behave to the data they gather, in a GDPR-compliant way by signing a Data Protection Agreement between you and them (DPA). This is needed because you are responsible for all the data you handle (even if they are provided to you by a third party tool).
You still have to get consent for cookies as you did anyway (you did, didn’t you?). But now, GDPR just raised the bar. Instead of simple cookie banners, under GDPR you need to use a consent tool to obtain this cookie consent. Technically, your site should NOT set any cookies before the user gives her consent.
A great (and totally free) consent tool can be found here (or at the links at the bottom of the post).
So, what do I do?
Then, you will need to make sure you display a privacy notice everytime you gather private data.
Re-request consent from your email list
Another thing you might want to do, is re-request consent from the owners of the email addresses on your email list. Your email list service should provide such functionality.
Contact 3rd party services
We can confirm that InLinkz is fully compliant!
Make sure your site is served over https instead of http. Contact your host if you are not sure on how to go about it. You will need an SSL certificate. Most hosts will be able to provide you one for free. For more techie bloggers, you can check Let’s Encrypt
Make sure they are compliant as well (they might manage data in ways you do not want). And of course update as soon as possible.
Check your site for trackers
And what shouldn’t I keep doing (that I probably do)
Auto opt ins! Everyone should have to express their consent (yep, click that box) to opt in.
Give away freebies to get email addresses for one purpose then use them for another. If you gained email addresses this way you should go out to re-validate consent or you may be in breach of GDPR. Normally, your GDPR-compliant email-list service already has this functionality.
Share data with anyone else who wasn’t declared at the point where data was provided, for example, give your giveaway’s email addresses to other bloggers without having explicit permission from the email address owners.
Stop collecting data where not necessary, for example, contact form/comments.
“What about YOU?”, you say!
InLinkz by nature is a consent based platform, users specifically give consent to enter campaigns and the data they provide is only ever shared with the owner of the campaign. So InLinkz acts as a Data Processor on behalf of the customer (Data Controller).
What have we done so far
Contact: You can now contact us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any specific concerns
New Data Processing Agreement: Since we store data in the USA (in an EU Privacy Shield-Compliant facility) we will be updating our agreement with EU customers detailing how we process their data
Right to be forgotten: As it has always been, you can request for all your data to be removed. For linkup hosts, you already have the power to delete entrants if they exercise this request to you directly.
Consent: Improved the ability to obtain additional consent via checkboxes in the Add Link page.
3rd Parties: Helping customers understand the 3rd parties that we have data processing agreements with (i.e. Mailchimp, Google analytics etc)
DPIA: We have conducted a Data Protection Impact Assessment and it is available to authorities if requested.
Written this blog post: to make sure you do not panic and go erasing any linkup you have! Linkups are still a great way to bring engaged traffic to your blog and let your users contribute to your content and exposure!
Final thoughts on GDPR.
While it may now seem that the sky is falling on our blogging heads, the GDPR is actually a welcomed change. The last time something similar was drafted was back in 1995, called the Data Protection Act. And the online world has changed dramatically since then. At that time, “blog” wasn’t even a word.
With the GDPR, control of the individual’s private data is given back to the individual. The big corps are required to have accountability over our data and their actions on it and trust will slowly build up from now on between each level of existence in the online world (consumer, reader, blogger, BigCorp, etc)
Panic is a bad advisor and deleting your email list or your Linkups, will not instantly make you GDPR-compliant. You just need to make it clear to your readers that you respectfully ask for their info.
Up to now, big corps snatched our precious PII for their gain, resulting in a general feeling of distrust. Building trust back to our beloved internet will only make it better and safer for all of us!
Think we are missing something?
Feel free to let us know in the comments or just send us an email and we’ll update ASAP!