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

Monday, March 10, 2014

A to Z Tips – Making Friends and Building Relationships #atozchallenge

The first A to Z was a challenge to post the alphabet every day for a month with Sundays off for good behavior.

Yet by the end of April, it had become so much more.

It was becoming a part of a larger community. It was about connecting and making new friends. And it was keeping those friends long after the Challenge ended.

How do you make new friends through the Challenge?

Visit new blogs. Start with the one on the list after yours and move toward the end.

Comment on other blogs. Let them know you read and enjoyed what they posted. These small exchanges build friendships.

Follow new blogs. Following a blog shows commitment. If possible, do more than add the link to your Feedly or Bloglovin’. Follow in ways the blog owner can see, such as Google Friends Connect, Linky Followers, Google+, etc.

Make it easy for people to comment on your blog. Dump the word verification! (You can set to no anonymous comments or even blog owner approval if necessary.) Most people won’t bother to comment if they see word verification, especially during the Challenge. And be aware that if you’re using Google+ comments or are part of a network like Tumblr, you will get fewer comments.

Make it easy for people to follow your blog. Have the follow widgets up high so people can find them.

Return comments and follows. Nothing is more discouraging than a one-sided relationship. (Yes, it does get crazy during the Challenge, but do your best to visit those who visit you.)

Be open to blogs outside of your ‘genre.’ Variety is the spice of life and you’ll learn by exposing yourself to new things.

When the Challenge ends, you’ll discover you’ve really connected with some new bloggers. Continue to visit them and build friendships.

Some of my best blogger buddies have come from the past four Challenges. I hope you find some really great friends as well!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon Best Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. He is the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and his blog can be found HERE


  1. Great tips here, Alex! I enjoy reading everyone's posts during A-Z. I like your tip about being open to blogs outside your genre...I've really enjoyed broadening my horizons that way. :)

  2. I've not made my mind up yet as to enter, there are so few photography blogs

  3. I know those tips all too well, to think Alex on that first A to Z You didn't know a thing about poetry likewise I didn't know anything about space travel and here we are still the best of friends. I appreciate all the kindness shown especially writing on the blurbs of my books. A big thank you friend.

  4. Thanks so much Alex and to all co-hosts who give such ongoing support!
    Many blogs STILL have captchas .. there is no time to do this as you say especially during April - which LOOMS large.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  5. Great tips, Alex,, on how to make friends whether we join A-Z or not. I agree about following back and commenting and finding blogs outside your genre. It's great making friends and we don't all have to write in the same genre or age group.

  6. Elizabeth, I've found some great blogs that way.

    Bill, Tracy Jo at Brand New Day and Leovi are both photography bloggers.

    Yvonne, very happy we met during that first Challenge!

    Susan, we will be sending out emails to remind people to turn those off.

    Natalie, no we don't.

  7. These are all fantastic tips. I can't stand the captcha! I have to agree with you on one thing especially - make it easy to follow your blog!! I have run across blogs I enjoy but there was no way to follow them aside from copying their url into my dashboard. That can be a bit time consuming. Oh, and yes, it's polite to comment back =)

  8. I have made quite a few great new friends thanks to A-Z the past couple of years. And yes, dump the CAPTCHA!!!!!!

  9. OH NO . . . . . . .dont make me be friends with people . . . . . . . AAAAAAAAAuuuuuuuuuggggghhhHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Luckily no one knows where I am

    Rob Z Tobor

    AH DAMN . . . . . I should not have done that.....

  10. Last year was my first A to Z Challenge. It was fun, it was frustrating, and most of all it was worth it! I have found more wonderful people and blogs, books, etc to read than I ever though possible. What's next...AtoZCon? ;)

  11. Rob - funny!

    LuAnn, perhaps there should be an A to Z Con?

  12. But people are weird and they smell funny. Nope, my bad; those are hamsters I'm thinking of. I certainly won't read or follow any blogs written by hamsters, that's for sure. Or Rob Z Tobor. That sounds like something a hamster would call himself.

    flip at HILL BLOCKS VIEW

    1. OK Mr flip just wait until I get out of this rather amusing wheel conveniently attached to the side of my cage (sorry house) and empty my cheeks. then your for it . . . . . .

  13. You offered this advice long ago when I first met you and it really helped me. I try to pass on your wisdom to new bloggers.

  14. Good tips. One of these years I'll actually participate in A to Z. Happy writing! :)

  15. Excellent tips, and it is fun to meet people with different interests!


  16. Flip, that made me chuckle...

    Susan, thank you!

  17. It really is a whole lot of fun, and these are some great tips, Alex, for enjoying the A - Z Challenge even more. Thanks!

  18. Great tips!
    I've noticed that lots of bloggers still have captcha during the challenge...
    "Nothing is more discouraging than a one-sided relationship." So true. Bloggers need to realize that you have to put in the time/effort to visit others if you want to build blogging relationships.

  19. Great tips, and I agree with the one-sided relationship being no good. Also, last year I came across many well-written, thoughtful posts, yet they received almost no comments (I don't know if their position on the list meant anything). I encourage everyone to visit, visit, visit. It's what April (and March) is for. :)
    Silvia @

  20. Oh gosh! It's almost April! :-) Thanks for the tips, Alex. Turned off the word verification. Didn't know about that one before.

  21. Hi Alex - you've made some excellent points ... and sometimes I wonder how people greet and meet others in the street .. the blogging comment seems to disregard the blog itself or the person who has written the post ...

    But the A-Z is such an amazing experience - I highly recommend the Challenge to one and all .. and I certainly look forward to meeting new friends .. as I've done each year, while keeping my old buddies ..

    Cheers to all and I look forward to April .. Hilary

  22. I think the A to Z is a wonderful way to make new blogging friends. This will be my third year and I endorse all your recommendations Alex. Now, gotta get back to writing my posts.

  23. Good tips! You really can meet a lot of new friends through the A-Z challenge!

  24. I've already gotten comments from people coming from the sign up and theme reveal sign ups! Really getting excited for April!

  25. Michelle, you said it!

    Hilary and Jo, you are great examples!

    Liza, awesome!

  26. Yup. That's how it works. I saw this guy commenting I checked out his blog, liked his style, followed. He was advertising some crazy thing about blogging every day except Sundays. My blog was dying because I wasn't putting in the time it needed, so I thought wow, this will jump start me. Boy did it ever! I met so many other wonderful people...and now I'm...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

    whose blog has never been the same. Oh, and the guy? The Ninja Captain, of course ;-)

  27. Hi My Dear Captain!
    I am a bit late as usual LOL
    Great Reminder. Sure I am there!
    But not that as last time but sure there! LOL
    Have a Wonderful Blogging Time Ahead
    Thanks to All. Wish you All A good time ahead!
    Keep us informed

  28. I still come across many blogs where people have their social networking links in the middle or bottom of the page. at least for A to Z, place those at the top of the page.

  29. Yup! I'm with you all the way. Thanks, Alex!

  30. I seriously need new blogs to follow!! But il be overseas and studying during April.... but surely I can find a spare half an hour and some wifi each day....

  31. Death to word verification! Great tips.

  32. I'm really excited to get started with this! I've got to get my posts written though--I'm only up to B so far ...
    Can't wait to meet the rest of the A-Z cool kids. :)

  33. Great information. Thanks for providing us such a useful information. Keep up the good work and continue providing us more quality information from time to time. Blog making


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