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Friday, January 31, 2014

#Blogging for #atozchallenge : To Theme or Not To Theme?

You're all signed up for the A to Z Challenge. (If you aren't, go on, run and do it, I'll wait.)

One of the questions doing the rounds:  

What do I blog about? Does it all have to be about the same thing?

Short Answer: No, but it helps to have a theme.

You can just post on your blog 26 different things for 26 days of April, and you've still won the challenge. 

Some folks do it each month of the year (-- they even do 31 posts a month, don't ask me how, I do about 8. Ok, maybe 10 if I'm feeling productive).

If you're one of those daily bloggers, and have an established audience, I would still recommend an A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme. If you're not, I'll recommend a theme.

WHY? 


  • Because a theme sticks in the minds of people, aka, your visitors. 
  • A blog challenge is about building community-- so if folks remember you from you challenge posts, they'll be blog friends for longer. 
  • You also have to do less work in some cases, because once you thoroughly research a topic, your posts come that much easier! 
  • Niche audience: It is important to attract the core audience of your blog, because they'll remain loyal due to their interest in a particular topic-- and if you blog on that topic for the #atozchallenge , you can be sure to attract a regular band of followers.

So, if you wish you can blog without a theme. I'm only saying Blogging for A to Z challenge might be so much more effective for your blog if you have a theme!  


And if you do have a theme, you may choose to reveal it on March 21st through the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal 2014, hosted by Anna Tan Csenge,  Zalka, Guilie Castillo Oriard , Samantha Geary Jones and Vidya Sury.

42 comments:

  1. Last year was my first with the challenge and I got involved during the last days before the start, so a theme was not forthcoming. Since then I have contemplated the merits and feel a theme is a necessity. So now I have mine and already have the potential posts forming.

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    Replies
    1. Great to hear you have a theme :). Wish you all the best with it!

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  2. With a theme, not only is it easier on you, but people know what to expect when they return.

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  3. I agree a theme makes a big difference and will keep those who like the idea returning until the end of the A to Z and hopefully beyond.

    However what I would add to this is if possible try and keep what you do for the A to Z in keeping with the general theme of your blog. It can be a bit odd to follow a blog through the A to Z then find it completely changes afterwards.

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  4. I have a theme for one blog, and the other I'm keeping in line with the overall theme of my blog...so far. I'm still in the process of drafting and scheduling posts, so we'll see where I end up with by April.

    In past years, I used a theme and it was pretty easy to create posts quickly accordingly. However, a lot of that depends on the theme too. I definitely recommend themes, because they make it easier to focus on your content.

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    Replies
    1. Focus is definitely what theme is all about :)

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  5. I agree with Rob about keeping in line with your normal posts.

    I found it much easier to think of things to blog about with a theme. This'll be my third year, and I really look forward to it.

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    Replies
    1. And I look forward to your posts, Jemima.

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  6. To theme or not to theme, that be the question. Actually, the reasons given for theme-ing(?) are darn-tootin' good reasons, but being the rebel that I am...

    Yeah, the whole idea of my blog is a mish-mash of all things pop culture - from cinema to comics to music, TV, and all sorts of other things. With that in mind, although it probably is a good idea to theme it out, as it were, I am going to have to respectfully decline on that, and keep on keepin' on with my own brand of mish-mash.

    Seriously though, I am looking forward to April, and already have a few posts ready to go go go.

    Glad to be part of it all, and hope to meet lots of like-minded (and unlike-minded) new blogger buds.

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    Replies
    1. You have good self knowledge as far as your blog is concerned -- what you do with it is up to you.

      Happy AZing!

      Delete
  7. I had more trouble trying to think of a theme and then letters for them, so I just did A-Z of varied topics.

    FYI, us old folks are having a hard time seeing the teensy font size on this post. :)

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    1. Sorry about the font size. I'm traveling right now, but will fix this when I have a laptop. Looks fine on the phone, and I dunno how to change size !

      Sorry about the trouble.

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  8. Hi Damayanti,
    Its good to keep a theme based writing for such events, but many do not opt it, last year i tried to do that but in between some serious other subjects come in and that idea failed, i this this year i may go for a theme based subject. Thanks for sharing this tip and waiting for the rest LOL
    Keep informed

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  9. Hi Daya,
    The font size here is very small, please increase the size so that elderly ones can easily read of course one can use control + but some systems do not support that,
    Pl increase the font size
    Thanks
    Phil

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  10. I didn't do themes my first 2 years, then the 3rd year I did a theme and there was a jump in comments and visits at my blog. Yeah, I'm definitely sticking with a theme from now on.

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  11. I didn't have a theme the first year or have all my posts prepared ahead of time. Very, very stressful way to go. I had a theme and everything ready ahead of time last year and I had fun.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, themes make things go smoother.

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  12. I don't think I'm going to do a theme. I have about half the posts I need for April and I have an idea for the other half.

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  13. I've found that the theme makes coming up with daily posts much easier. Of course if someone blogs daily anyway then coming up with ideas may not be an issue.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. True. I'm all admiration for daily bloggers.

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  14. I've considered winging it this year because I'm having trouble deciding on a theme, particularly a theme that will help me reach my goals for doing the challenge this year. Having done the A-to-Z Challenge twice before with a theme and once before without a theme, I can say that having one does make things run a whole lot smoother.

    ~Nicole
    The Madlab Post

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    Replies
    1. I had a theme the first two years but still winged it!

      Hope to get some posts scheduled this year.

      Delete
  15. It's quite a tough task at hand but was able to do so in January. Planning to repeat the feat in February and hence, looking for the challenge:)

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  16. This will be my first time tackling A to Z challenge, and since my blog doesn't really have a theme I don't think anyone would mind if my A to Z posts have no theme or a very broad theme.

    That said, if i complete the challenge this year I'll definitely go for a more specific theme next year. Curious to see how it affects the amount of traffic/comments.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a great experiment. Wish you all the best.

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  17. Damyanti, I wish I could write as succinctly as you do...that was very well done and your point and reasons came across very clearly.

    This will be my fourth Challenge. The first year I didn't have a theme (no one really talked about it very much, nor did I notice many as I made my rounds). It was HARD. I scrambled for ideas. I completed the Challenge, but then took a long break from blogging I was so burned out.

    This will be my third year as a co-host and can't imagine not having a theme.

    In fact, I have a three-year larger theme going. Might as well tell you...I'm a Swedish immigrant who came to the US in 1974 when I was about to turn 9.

    2011 theme was "Postcards from Sweden". I taught a Swedish word each day, and included of course the POSTCARD PICTURE. A lot of the pictures were goofy, embarrassing pictures of ME as a child and visitors seemed to enjoy that. It gave me a core group of folks who came every single day, and then the random folks, many of whom then came every day after that.

    2012 I thought, wow, that worked GREAT, let's stay Swedish, so my theme was "Adventures in America" and I wrote stories about what it was like to move across an ocean and completely change your life, which included, for me, spending four months of it in a body cast. More pictures, all from my treasured photo album, and again, same visitor pattern.

    So what am I doing this year? "It's Very Swedish to..." where I will be focusing on some cultural differences/traditions/ways of life. I hope you come visit!

    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

    P.S On 2/3 I'm Alex's featured guest and you can read a short interview about how I did last year's theme.

    I don't mean to brag or grab attention, just giving a concrete example of one way of theming.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that response -- I'm looking forward to your posts this year!

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  18. Don't worry about the font size on this post. I enlarged it after reading the comment requesting the bigger size.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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  19. Due to a family problem last year, I had to resign from doing the challenge before it began, but signed up for this year's. This year I am going with a theme at least for the majority of the posts and hope to keep each day's letter "short and sweet." Now to get it all done before April to enjoy visiting new blogs.

    betty

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  20. I'm glad I found this post. I wasn't going to do a theme because I was afraid it would be to predictable every day. After reading this, I changed my mind. I'll write my posts on the subject of my blog. Thanks!!

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  21. I'm doing a theme for both of my blogs, and having a lot of fun researching and writing the posts for my main blog. My names blog will have five wildcard days, since those letters don't appear in the alphabet I'm spotlighting names from.

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  22. If I follow my usual pattern, my theme will most likely be, not having a theme. Oh and I probably won't write my post a until the night before. ;-)


    Stefani @ Dreams of Nyssa

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  23. Taking it forward, I have an #atozreveal linky up on my blog inviting AtoZ Challenge participants to sign up and publish a post on March 21 about their theme for April!

    Visit the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

    Oh I am so excited and looking forward to April!

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