If you were curious, here are some results from the 2018 Pre-Challenge Blogging from A to Z Poll.
(No, taking the survey was not manditory. Yes, you can still join the challenge if you didn't take the survey. A big thank you to everyone who did take the survey! There will be one after the challenge, as well.)
71% of survey takers feel they are proficient in using Google Forms.
Google sheets, however, 28% of survey takers might be learning for the first time.
69% requested a video or written instructions on how to use forms and sheets. That's why we made them available for you. Our team of cohosts has been getting a lot of questions which we hoped the videos had answered. It'd be great to know what or how the instructions were unclear. So, please, if you're asking a question that we attempted to cover in the videos, but the instructions there were not enough, please include the timestamp of the portion of the video where we "lost" you. If we don't know what's confusing, we can't make it better.
81% of you wanted categories! (Don't worry, we created a "don't know/ prefer not to say category for the other 19%.)
A short theme description on the Master List? 69% of you said, "Yes, please!"
Sort the list? 60% of you are looking forward to this feature.
How did survey takers feel about posting links to their blog daily?
The longer a blogger has been with us, the less they liked the idea of that being the only option. However, a majority of people from all four groups agreed that "
Leaving a comment on Facebook or Twitter was ranked mostly with a "3" on the 1 to 5 scale. Those both remain optional.
Daily commenting on the blog ranked lowest. Thoughts on the matter included disheartening statements about there being far too many comments to keep up with, especially with the scrolling and needing to go to "load more" to find the next stack of comments. Participants saw a drop in visitors. And the further away a blogger was from the UTC timezone, the more they disliked it. (They were still in A, others were already in B.)
The only way the A to Z team can compensate for our global timezones is to offer the daily letter forms in advance. However, not everyone knows how to determine what their link will be before their post is live. (There are too many variables for us to try to teach that lesson.) We are NOT going to edit the daily letter sheets because they are relevant for such a short time. Daily letter linking up is optional.
People who use Twitter are hoping for more Twitter chats (including different days and times). The team is working on it!
Deciding which blogs to comment on last year during the challenge was, overall, a matter of random picks. Some people only commented on blogs they knew or on the blogs of people who commented on their blog first. A couple bloggers only commented on blogs similar to their own. In previous years, categories were the most popular method of deciding which blogs to comment on first. (Random numbers were second.)
Nearly everyone has participated in another blog hop at some point. Lots of them had to do with books or writing. IWSG is very popular among the A to Z crowd. Broken links, bloggers who drop out, or hosts who gave up mid-hop were the biggest complaints about other hops. A few of you were kind enough to say that A to Z is your favorite! 💗 Thanks! We love you, too.
A blog hop is a way to share your blog while also visiting, or hopping, to other blogs using the links of the participants. It's a way to network, increase engagement, and build a community.A few mentioned that they hate it when someone links up in the hop and then doesn't comment on any other participating links. Others mentioned feeling too much pressure to comment on all the blogs.
Listen up: MOST people do not manage to visit EVERY blog in the A to Z challenge in April. There were 1,344 blogs in 2016. And 1,509 in 2015. BUT, if everyone makes an effort to comment on as many blogs as your schedule will allow, there are good odds that everyone will be visited.
Non-list methods from other blog hops included daily emails with less than a dozen links, Facebook groups, or the use of pingbacks for Wordpress blogs.
Some people who participated years ago asked if the random blog post picker would be back. (The one that figured out which blogs you hadn't seen yet and suggested you see a set of randomly generated selected ones.) No, sadly, we don't have that in the works. However, there are plenty of random number generators or dice rollers on the Internet, so you could try to fiddle around with those on your own.
One idea offered was making an e-book with our favorite posts.
Also, people wanted more motivation to complete the challenge. Some survey takers asked if we could make all blogs more mobile friendly, get everyone to include images for Pinterest sharing, or if we could get Wordpress and Blogger to play nicer together. (I appreciate the omnipotent-like power that some participants think the co-host team has over the blogosphere. Alas, we put our pants on one leg at a time.)
|^ Probably NOT a photo of Arlee, Zalka, John, Jayden, and J ^|
(Strikingly similar though, right?)
For the people who asked, there's a page on the site with the story of this challenge. CLICK
A handful of people would like to know how many followers each participant's blog has currently.
People worried we'd require a theme, or require the use of Twitter and/or Facebook. We don't. That's optional. The nearest thing to a required theme is using the alphabet letter of the day, incorporating it some way in your post. (You could just toss in a picture of something that starts with that day's letter and then do your blog post.)
There was the usual "debate" of some people requesting that people leave links in comments (easier to track them down and reciprocate), versus people who think links in the comment section look "spammy" and could alter Search Engine Optimization and Domain Authority. (Here's a link to an article that discusses this issue in depth.) Here's MY suggestion, which isn't full proof but could help:
If that's important to you, end your post with an open-ended question (so that people have something inspiring and original to write about in the comments); and also ask them NOT to leave a link, but rather to include their "blog name as it appears on the A to Z challenge Master List."The Master List is searchable. You'd have a way to find the person who left a comment. Yes, this method will require a few more clicks, a bit more effort to reciprocate a comment. It could work though. Bonus: It requires no HTML.
THANK YOU to everyone who used the comments on the survey to thank the co-host team. 😁💖
Congratulations to Cheryl "Calensariel"
Winner of the pre-challenge survey giveaway.
Wow, this has been a long post. Here's a link to a POTATO recipe I found on the blog of one of our participants: Simple Potato Fry
Don't forget that there will be another survey in May, after the challenge is over.