Friday, February 28, 2014

Want to Grow your #Blog via the #AtoZChallenge ?

Today we have Mary Wallace talking to us about how A to Z April Blogging Challenge helped her blog, and what an  A to Z  first timer can do to reap benefits from the challenge!

When I first started blogging, I did so with a very specific purpose in mind, which lasted about five minutes. I started blogging, because at the time, I was homeless and thought that I had GREAT and IMPORTANT things to say about that. It turns out I didn’t; or at least not in any way that was interesting. So, I told stories and the stories turned out to be pretty damned amusing at times. Last year, in 2013, I found the A-to-Z Challenge and really enjoyed it—it helped me focus on my blog.

There are a few things about the A to Z Challenge that sets it apart from others, and I believe they help immensely in “growing” your audience, or at least offering the opportunity to do so:

  • The challenge is a month long and requires precisely 28 posts. The posts should be short and punchy (Or not, if your niche audience is happy with long posts). They can be funny, lyrical, whatever.
  • You can pick a “theme” (Join the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal if you do), or not.   
  •  By participating, you’ll meet people from all over the world with so many different interests and varied cultures and it will give you a chance to learn and share with your new friends!
  • By meeting new people and interacting, they will be sure to spread the word about your blog: Don’t forget to use Twitter, G + and Facebook!
  • If you are new to blogging, this is THE PERFECT CHALLENGE because the rules are short and sweet and there are scads and scads of people to help you along the way!
  • Here are a few posts that will make it easy for you to do the challenge once you sign up:
  1. Reading the A to Z Challenge FAQ post by Nicole Ayers
  2.  Oodles of Ideas for Finding Your AZwords by Tina Downey
  3.  Make Commenting Easy by Alex J Cavanaugh
  4. Pre-schedule Your Posts by Damyanti Biswas
  5.  Ace the Challenge through Social Media by Vidya Sury
  6. How to get more Followers for your blog by Arlee Bird 
  7. Get your Google Profile Right by MJ Joachim 
  8. Make Lasting Blog Relationships through A to Z Challenge by Guilie Castillo Oriard 
  9.  Don't get busted by the Photo police by Pam Margolis
  10. The Dreaded conversation about CAPTCHA by MJ Joachim
  11.  10 Tips to Ace the A to Z Challenge by Damyanti Biswas
  12. How to Hyper Blog like a Pro by Nicole Ayers

So, there you have it! There is no reason NOT to sign up for this challenge. I had so much fun last year and made many new friends. I am a bit different in that I am “retired” which is a polite word for disabled and I do not blog to make money, but I associate myself with the very best in the business, as I did when I worked.

The co-hosts set high standards and this is a chance to prove to yourself that yes, you can blog from A to Z and write wonderful posts and have fun doing so!

Have you joined the A to Z April Blogging Challenge yet?

Have questions? The first ever Twitter chat for Blogging from A to Z April Challenge will happen today, 28 February, at 6PM EST on the hashtag #AZchat. Come chat with us, exchange A to Z challenge tips and tricks, ask questions of A to Z challenge veterans and co-hosts. See you on Twitter this evening!


Guilie Castillo said...

Marvelous post, Mary! I love this easy-peasy list of major A-to-Z posts--really excellent to have them all in one place. I'm off to read (or reread) several now, and I'm looking forward to you sharing your expertise with all of us at the #AZchat tonight :)

Guilie @ Making History: join the #AZchat!

JoJo said...

I hope that the participants are actually reading these posts and tips. I found that so many people last year and the year before obviously didn't by the amount of CAPTCHAs still on, or posts that were interminably long.

Anna Tan said...

Hi Mary, I agree that A to Z blogging challenge is really one of the easiest ways to get networked for a new blogger! Everyone's so nice :)

Themes! Themes! Reveal your themes on March 21st! #atozreveal

Anonymous said...

Mary - thank you so much!!! You have no idea (well, maybe you do) how may hours you've saved us newbie bloggers by providing this list of topical posts all in one place. So very helpful.

Loni Townsend said...

28 posts?

Thanks for the list of links. I'll definitely be reading through those.

Anonymous said...

Great tips, Mary! It's a great way to build friendships AND an audience for those writerly folks interested in creating a solid platform!
WriterlySam Join the A to Z Theme Reveal Party!

Rob Z Tobor said...

I do at least 28 posts as I also do the Sundays and then there is the big finishing speech where I say . . . . . . . AH DAMN it was APRIL, I though someone said MAY . . . . .sorry about that. . . .

cheerfuloptimistic said...

I have signed up and I've got G+. I should probably set up Twitter and Facebook for my blog.

Andrea said...

Clearly every sign in the universe is trying to tell me to get over and and join Twitter! ;)

ViolaFury said...

Guilie! Thanks! I had the expertise of our Fearless Leader, the intrepid Damyanti, to guide me through this! Just when I thought I couldn't possible stuff another link into the mix, we found another few to add! Without her, I'd be totally lost.

But, learning keeps me young-ish and I'm game. I'm just grateful and honored to be included among this august group of minions and other A-to-Z'ers.

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Jo-Jo, I hope so too. That is something I didn't know going in, but I killed it quickly. As for long, or long-ish posts, people didn't seem to mind, if it was entertaining enough, but no one wants to read "War and Peace". It also helps for those of us who have issues with our eyes to not have blindingly bright colors, or weird color combinations, but still, this has got to be one of the best things I've ever done.

Added bonus: For months afterwards, I got a bunch of Spam and then "answered" my Spam as if it were Fan Mail. I'm sure people thought I was deranged, but then. . . I have my days.

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Anna! What I love about this challenge and blogging is that everyone I've ever worked with has been super generous and nice. Blogging and networking came along at a very sad time in my life and it has been so rewarding! I'm really looking forward to this!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Hi! You'll find it's not nearly as complex as it seems! You can make your theme as narrow, or as broad as you like, or wing it. Last year, I prepared a spreadsheet that lasted precisely one day! There are always tons and tons of people around to give you a hand with everything if you're not sure of what to do on your blog, from adding widgets to pictures, to getting past a writer's block!

Welcome aboard and most importantly, have fun!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...


The cool part is you can write anything, from haiku to poems to short, short, short stories, or Drabbles. I believe the main thing is the interaction with the other bloggers and a chance to shine. Plus, there's that nifty badge at the end of April!

But most of all, it's fun. I found myself enjoying what my co-A-to-Z'ers had written and commented on their blogs. I also found myself with new ideas, which is never a bad thing!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...


A co-minion! So happy you dropped by! Yes, the tips are awesome and for someone like me, who is never more than 15 minutes in front of or behind her latest gaffe, faux pas or catastrophe, a pure must!

Still I cannot wait for this to get going!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Rob, you could just adopt the Cyrillic alphabet and end up somewhere in May. I'm kinda contemplating that myself. So, when you get to "ж" which sound like "zhe" or "ю" which sounds like "yoo" or "щ" which sounds like "zhezhe", you will still have another seven days to go!

I did that once during #ROW80, knowing that it was finishing for a week or so. I just had my own "Pre-season #ROW80" and kept writing. Sometimes, things are just too good to let go of, so I understand!

I'm glad you're having fun and I'll be sure to drop by you and all of the blogs of the folks who have replied here today!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Hi M.R.R.!

Yes, definitely sign up for Twitter and Facebook! Twitter is about the best thing for writers going and the simplest way to send messages and broadcast your posts to your followers. It's a great way to build an audience! So glad you're participating this year. I'm on G+ and am receiving lots of feedback there as well!

The best thing about this is the fun, and the connections. I've met some awesome folks on this challenge and made some lasting connections!

Again, we're so glad you're here and don't hesitate to ask for assistance or help with brainstorming ideas!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

ViolaFury said...

Andrea, Even the Magic 8-Ball says "yes" instead of "try again later." Your destiny is to join Twitter! It's a never-ending party and you'll find it a great way to broadcast your posts!

Mary aka Viola Fury A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

Jemima Pett said...

That's a great post! I really enjoyed the first ever Twitter chat last night and look forward to the one next Friday at 6pm EST (11pm GMT for those in the UK). #AZchat Did we say we'd talk about commenting next week? Great idea :)

Join the A to Z Theme Challenge Reveal Blogfest!

Damaria Senne said...

Thank you for the guidance. I'm joining for the first time this year and want to get as much benefit from it as I can. So it helps to hear from a survivor.

Damaria Senne said...

I am reading:-)

I hope others are too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary - lots of great advice for all new comers, or those who felt a little out of it last year, when it was their first year ... it's finding your way and settling in. I've always thoroughly enjoyed the three A:Zs I've participated in ...

Now I don't do Twitter .. it's sort of getting there! But it's such a fun way to post and meet new friends .. then opens up new opportunities ... cheers Hilary

Tina said...

Don't know how I missed this post but awesome! The only thing I'd change is 28 to 26...but that's the picky math teacher in me...
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi D Biswas,
OH MY....
As Tina said I too missed this informative one,
Anyways its worth reading and I bookmarked it
for my further read. The links are wonderful too
I need to go thru each of it
May you and your team have a Happy Weekend :-)
Keep informed