Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now I've Sung My ABC's, Next Time Won't You Sing With Me? A to Z Challenge Reflections...

This was my first year participating in the A to Z April Blogging Challenge.  It was a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun.  Since this blog of mine is brand new, it was a great way for me to kick-start my blog.  While I also participated in the Biannual Blogathon Bash in January and the Ultimate Blog Party also in April, these 26 blog entries helped open up my blog.  It showcased what my blog is about in different facets and sent me from a beginner blog with just a handful of entries to a blog with over 50 entries.  It also gave me direction.  It's hard when you are starting out because you want to build a following and get traffic, but if you have no content, who's going to want to visit that?  Now, I have a bit of content!

There were days it was very hard to write and I got behind a couple of times because life doesn't slow down.  Sickness and suspended children and court dates and all sorts of appointments and meetings and activities don't hold off because you have to write blog posts.  At the beginning, I scrawled out ideas on the back of a piece of paper.  Some days I didn't have any clue what I was going to write about.  But, this challenge pushed me to be creative and think outside the box.  I wrote some poems and a short story that I wouldn't have if I hadn't had a set schedule and some direction with this challenge.  I may have to set up some challenges of my own just to keep myself on task!

I received an influx of traffic due to the A to Z Challenge, which was great for me, as I was just starting this blog.  I was happy to see that my page views jumped from 600 to over 2000 over the course of the month.  My biggest blog views were around 65 in a day, which was good for me, but apparently not as good as others I read about.  I didn't receive any new followers on my actual blog, though I think I gained a few for Google+ and possibly Bloglovin.  I confess that I did fall down on my job of visiting blogs myself, however.  I started off visiting more than the recommended five a day, but I only made it through a fraction of the over 2000 that were signed up.  I didn't post many comments, only if I really related to the blog I was reading.  I did follow a few and bookmarked others.  I replied to comments left on my blog and if I haven't already reciprocated the visits, I will soon.  I will likely go back through the list now that the challenge is over and visit others that sound interesting to me.

I don't know much that I would change about the blog challenge.  One thing might be that we should be able to list multiple categories after our blog title.  I didn't see the "ONE" category limit and apparently mine was removed and I saw scores of blogs that had no classification.  My blog fits three of the categories and I can't pick one at the exclusion of the other two.  My blog is equally photography, writing, and craft.  I may have visited more blogs that were in my categories if I had seen more classifications.  Another thing that I would have enjoyed would have been some contests.  The other blogging challenges I have been involved in have offered prizes, often donated by other bloggers and can be as simple as ad space on your blog or an e-course, etc.  This challenge was more intensive and lengthy and prizes to look forward to at the end would have been a sweet ending.  Don't get me wrong, the rewards of writing in itself were satisfying, but a little extra excitement and fun would be nice too.

I hope to participate again next year and possibly have a theme for my next challenge.  I read that others had gotten a jump start on their blogging and had even written all their blogs ahead of time.  I can see how that might be helpful for time constraints, but if the challenge is for April and to daily blog, then I prefer to be a purist about it and write my blogs daily IN April.

If you have visited my blog during this A to Z challenge, which letter post was your favorite?


  1. way to successfully complete the challenge! we do what we can in a short amount of time and if anyone visited all 2000, i'd be amazed! and i think contests/prizes would be a nice touch! NTMY!

  2. Congratulations on completing A-Z. Great Blog and loved your posts xxx

  3. Hello there.
    Thanks for sharing. Just stopping by to congratulate you on completing the A-Z Challenge! This was my first challenge too. Now I'm challenging myself to visit all 2,009 blogs that signed up before the start of the next challenge! I'm making a short pit stop from the A-Z Road Trip!

    Entrepreneurial Goddess