I survived the A to Z Challenge. I love this challenge, but am so happy to have it behind me. I've done this twice and each time it starts getting difficult once I hit about week 3. I just don't want to write any more.
I feel like I cheated a little bit, because three of my posts for the month were posts that I had previously posted. I just modified them a little for the day and threw them up again. Work got a little crazy and I got a lot tired.
My purpose for doing the challenge this year was to get back into the habit of writing daily. I was very active on my blog three years ago and loved all the connections I made with people, but it has really slacked of in the last few years (including one entire year when I did not post at all). Because of my purpose for participating this time, I approached it differently.
When I did this in 2013, I was interested in reaching a bigger audience and discovering other great blogs out there. My followers almost doubled over the course of that month. I visited over 700 blogs and left meaningful (note: meaningful) comments on each one. This year, I made sure to reconnect with the blogs of the people I used to connect with regularly and I visited a few new ones, but it was probably less than fifty. I just didn't have the time this year and I wasn't really looking for new ones anyway.
Here are some tips for future challengers:
- Do NOT leave a comment on someone's blog if you have not read the post. Almost every day, someone would leave a comment that said "Good post" or "Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge" followed by a link to their blog. It is insulting. If you are asking me to come read your content, then the least you could do is take a look at mine. If you actually did read my post and then left a generic comment, then you shouldn't be surprised when I didn't come visit. Say something that shows you read the posts. Ask a question, make an additional point, state your opinion, something relevant to what you just read. You will get more visits that way.
- ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS include a link back to your blog in your comment. If I want to visit your blog, I shouldn't have to wade through your blogger profile clicking through the six inactive blogs you still have to find the one you are currently using. I also should not be directed to your Google+ account to then have to search. Learn the HTML code to include in your comment (copy and paste if you have to) to take the reader directly to your blog. You will get more visits that way.
- Last, turn off your CAPTCHA. The A to Z website even asks people to do this, but I am amazed at how many people leave it on. I know it is your blog and you may have it on for a reason, but having to fight with an indecipherable CAPTCHA usually means you will never know I was there. I tried to comment, but got rejected. Turn it off, you will get more return visits that way.
As for the challenge itself, I have no suggestions. It is set up very well. There is plenty of publicity, the rules are explained simply and the site is easy to use. I look forward to next year.