Thursday, May 12, 2016

A to Z Challenge (2016) Reflection

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.
Feel free to ignore any of these tips, but if people visiting your blog has any meaning to you then these will help.

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.


  1. Congratulations on completing the challenge. I know all about the three week burnout. One suggestion would be to start pre-writing all of the posts beforehand. You can start as early as today ;) One thing I didnt like about some comment sections is that nasty part that says click here if you are not a spammer. Well..... what if I am?
    Hope to see you around for the next challenge, all rested and refreshed.

    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    1. Very nice use of including the link to your blog right in the comment. Well done.

      The last time I did the challenge, I had them all pre-written. It was nice. This time, I decided too late to do this, so only had the time to pre-write about 10 of them.

  2. I kept thinking that, because I had to provide my link when I commented, that it would automatically go there. But you're right, I had issues with that too. I'll know better next time, and sorry for my blogger faux pas!

    1. It works different for every blog depending on what service they use.

  3. You may think people have to read your post now only. But people may become aware of your blog at one instant and recognize it another instant and read at their leisure. I am visiting all the blogs that participated in the challenge.
    Keep visiting A to Z 2016 Blogs
    Congratulations for Successful A to Z 2016 Blog Writing.
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 - Co-Participant - Nrao - NRao Blogs
    NRao Blogs - 2016 A to Z Challenge Blog Posts
    NRao Indutrial Engineering Blog
    Join 2016 A to Z Post Challenge Road Trip

  4. Thank you. I'm not that dedicated this year. I'll try again next year.


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