IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Tenth Anniversary of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge sign ups OPEN on March 1, 2019.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How To Make Your Blog "Comment Friendly"

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to find new blogs to read and to find new "blog buddies." One of the best ways to make new friends is by commenting on their blogs and replying to comments they leave on yours.

This sounds like a simple enough job to do, and for the most part, it is: Wordpress users have no problem commenting on Wordpress blogs, and Blogger users have no problem commenting on Blogger blogs. But, what if you're a Wordpress user who wants to comment on a Blogger blog, or a Blogger user who wants to comment on a Wordpress blog? The two commenting systems are like chalk and cheese, and both have their idiosyncracies. What I'd like to do now is to give a few pointers to users of both systems so that commenting will be a breeze (more or less) for the users of the other.

WORDPRESS

The controls for simplifying commenting for Blogger users are on the Settings > Discussion screen.

  • Checking the box beside "Comment author must fill out name and email" will give users who don't have a Wordpress account (or who aren't signed on to Wordpress) three lines under the comment box for the user's name, email, and optionally the URL to their blog. (Note To Blogger users: although it isn't required, it's a good idea to enter the URL to your blog in the space provided. That way, the author can find you.)
  • Unchecking the box next to "User must be registered and logged on to comment" allows non-Wordpress users to comment.

BLOGGER

The controls for simplifying commenting for Wordpress users are on the Settings > Posts, comments and sharing screen.

  • It's a good idea to set the "Comment Location" to "Popup Window." Blogger can be fussy, and sometimes when you have this set to "Embedded," a person trying to leave a comment who's either doing so anonymously or with their name and blog URL can get stuck in CAPTCHA hell, having to play the Picture Game over and over until CAPTCHA is convinced you're not advertising porn, CBD oil or online casinos. I and several others found this didn't happen when the blog uses the popup window.
  • Google, in their infinite wisdom, decided to do away with using Open ID as a way to identify yourself when leaving a comment on Blogger. Now, you can either allow anyone (including anonymous users), only users with a Google ID, or the owners of the blog to comment. I know there are a thousand reasons why you don't want anonymous comments, but that's just the way Google set things up. So, set this to "Anyone (including anonymous users), knowing that users who don't have Google accounts will be required to check a box to prove they're not a robot, and you might want to set Comment Moderation to "Always" or "Sometimes." (Note to Wordpress users: if leaving an anonymous comment, you'll want to add a footer to your comments (a manual process) with your name and a link to your blog, so that others can find you.)
  • Please turn off word verification. This will also turn off the CAPTCHA Picture Game.

GENERAL

When commenting, you can leave a link to your own blog OR leave the title of your blog from the Master List. There are a lot of people who believe in reciprocal comments. They also believe if they can't find your blog in the first three tries, they'll (rightly) give up. Here's where they are most likely to look for you:

  • The link you left on the comment form on their blog.
  • Your Blogger or commenting profile, if their blog uses that and yours works.
  • The name of your blog on our Master List. (Which only works if you've given that information.)

So, you could sign your comments with your URL. Or as "John Doe of Blog Name."

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, leave me a comment.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Theme Reveal #AtoZchallenge Tenth Anniversary

Theme Reveal #AtoZchallenge Tenth Anniversary 2019


https://goo.gl/forms/KDRVGcbzVJHZO9xg2
Theme Reveal sign up link!


Welcome to the great and mighty Theme Reveal!
As always, this is optional.
It's kind of a sneak peek of what you will blog about in April.
The post builds up excitement.


Please make sure your link works and leads directly to your THEME REVEAL post, not your main blog. Thanks!
A direct link **DOES NOT** include "wp-admin" or "postID." That is a Wordpress dashboard or Blogger post creation page. You should not share a link with "wp-admin" or "postID" in it. Ask for help if you don't understand.

The Theme Reveal form closes on March 28.


https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/173JgAN2EqPLGmEtAtNKx6lDt65RkzJGZL3ipLU_VRA8 That's the link where you can view the sheet. If you make a copy for yourself before March 28, please remember to come back to grab other links you may have missed!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UBrVtvGoVSOhhq-3kQMTmrxqED6auxlf/view
Instructions on using the sheet can be found there.

As a reminder, you can ONLY sign up for the Theme Reveal using this link https://goo.gl/forms/KDRVGcbzVJHZO9xg2.
You should only sign up your blog, not someone else's.
Please make sure you sign up for the challenge BEFORE you sign up for the Theme Reveal.
Ask a team member if you need help.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 badge

Friday, March 8, 2019

Link to View the Master List and an Announcement

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nZ7UupzB78MvJnraN9khkLJT3jM6uOP1LTDc8gaQluY



That is to VIEW the list.
It is recommended you make a COPY of the list

AFTER sign-ups are closed.


If you make a copy now, it will not update as more people join.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UBrVtvGoVSOhhq-3kQMTmrxqED6auxlf/view
Instructions on using this method were provided last year.

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2019/03/master-list-atozchallenge-2019-and-post.html To sign-up, click here.
You must use the Google Form to sign up. You cannot input your data on the sheet.

To quickly check if you are on the Master List, go to it https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nZ7UupzB78MvJnraN9khkLJT3jM6uOP1LTDc8gaQluY and use the find function (Ctrl+F, or Edit > Find), then type the name of your blog.

Co-hosts cannot, and will not, sign you up. Do not sign up blogs that are not yours.
You must use the Google Form to get on the Master List. The Google Form may also provide an option to edit your response.


Announcement:

We have done away with the daily lists.



This was discussed at length.
  • The daily lists confused some people.
  • Some people were upset that they had to spend 36 seconds a day to get on the daily lists.
  • There was too much debate about how long the daily lists needed to stay open.
  • Some people weren't making copies with all the blogs.
  • Some people weren't able to get on the list before it closed.

The drawback is that there may be some "dead" links as the month goes on.
Keeping the Master List perfect requires several hours a day. People have tried, and have run away screaming.
So the Master List might not be perfect. The team will do the best we can to remove spam and inappropriate links.
HOWEVER, if blogs drop out in April, we won't be cleaning the list to reflect it.

Here's the thing though:
Most of you will make your own copy of the list anyway. (Hopefully you'll wait until sign-ups close on April 6. Or go back and grab the information on the blogs you may have missed.)
Therefore, we won't be able to edit YOUR private copies anyway. If you find a blog that dropped out, and you've made a copy of the Master List for yourself, just delete it on your copy. Or don't. We'll never know.
The daily lists were less popular than the Master List. That's something we learned from the after survey.

We urge you not to make personal copies of the current Master List until more bloggers have had a chance to sign-up.
Several people have asked for the link so they can make sure they signed up. That's why this is being shared now instead of later, as planned.
Please keep spreading the word about the challenge to all the bloggers you know.

#AtoZChallenge 2019 badge