Showing posts with label Comments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comments. Show all posts

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Gathering Things #AtoZChallenge 2024

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter G #AtoZChallenge2024 badge1

What are you gathering during this year's Challenge? 

Experience? - A challenge is a great way to practice blogging, and learn what style of posting best fits you. It also helps with forming a regular blogging habit.

Information? - Setting a good theme for yourself can inspire some in-depth research that can come in handy for later projects too!

Comments? - I love reading the comments during the challenge! They light up a blogger's day. (If you leave thoughtful comments, you are the best!)

New blogs to follow? - Yes please! I love finding new and interesting blogs, and new and interesting people who write them.

Books to read? - A to Z always adds a whole lot to one's TBR, beware! :)

Momentum? - Keep going! You have already completed one whole week!


Hop to as many blogs in the challenge as possible. Grow and strengthen the community.

Please follow us!

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X Twitter #atoZchallengeTwitter X @AprilA2Z @AprilA2Z Our hashtag is #AtoZChallenge

Monday, April 16, 2018

N is for Netiquette #AtoZChallenge

Netiquette is one of my favorite words. It is a combination of "net" and "etiquette", and it sounds rather dainty; it refers to the rules and guidelines of acceptable online behavior. Sometimes it is nebulous, and sometimes it feels like such a thing does not exist at all. Blame that last one on trolls.

In the spirit of generally being courteous to each other in online spaces, and especially while visiting each other during A to Z, here are some nice things you can do for your fellow challenge participants!

1. Write comments with substance. I know we talk about this a lot, but it bears repeating. Instead of saying "nice post!" and running away, pick something in their post that you particularly liked, and highlight it. It shows that you actually read the post, and the compliment is a great ego booster!

2. Follow your favorites. Visits during April are all nice and great, but it shows even more support if you sign up to follow the blogs you really like. Click follow, sign up for updates or newsletters, or pick any other option the blog offers. This way, you can keep up with them after A to Z!

3. Share on social media. If you find a post you loved, or a blog you enjoy, share their social media posts (tweets, Facebook posts, etc.). If they don't have them, copy and past the link and make some noise for them! :)

4. Support your artists. If you love the flash fiction they write, the poems they post, or the things they paint, draw, crochet, design, etc., consider supporting your favorite creative people! Buy the ebook, buy the print, order a T-shirt, or whatever you have the mood and budget for. Or if you can't spend right now, put them on your Wish List. See if someone surprises you :)

5. Leave a link! Please leave a link. I know this is also something we keep repeating, but I'm saying it again, because it breaks my heart every time when someone comments on my blog, and I can't find where they came from to visit them back. Please leave a link! Here is how you do it nicely.

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of all participants who signed up for the #AtoZchallenge 2018! 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Results of the A to Z Challenge 2017 Reflection Survey #AtoZChallenge

An amazing 231 of you filled out the survey. Your feedback matters to the team. Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Here are the results:

39% of the respondents filled out the survey on May 1, 2017.
put the pro in procrastination

... 7% filled it out on May 20, the last day the survey was open.

91% of the respondents earned an #AtoZChallenge 2017 SURVIVOR badge for completing the challenge.

I pre-scheduled some of my posts before April and wrote others as the month went on. That was the most popular answer by slightly more than half.
I wrote my posts on the day they posted. 27% of the respondents checked this box, making it the second most popular.
I wrote and pre-scheduled all of my posts before April. 19% of the respondents got proactive in anticipation of the challenge!
Two people had an epic fail, and two people commented on challenge blogs but did not create blog posts for A to Z.

Of the wonderful survey takers:

45 were first timers to the challenge.
71 were doing the challenge for the second time.
113 have three or more survivor badges!
2 have been at this since 2010.

so proud

I left comments on several blogs of other participants every day. (Over 100 comments in April.) 41%

I made some effort. (51 to 100 comments left for others in April.) 21%

I tried or planned to, but I was not a very active comment maker. (26 to 50 comments left for others in April.) 19%

Only 7 people said No, I did not leave comments for any of the A to Z participants on their blogs.

so proudYes! I had over 100 comments on my blog in April, and I believe the A to Z challenge is to thank for that. 71 respondents made my heart swell when I read that answer.

Yes. I received 51 to 100 comments on my blog in April, and I suspect it's thanks to the A to Z challenge. 64 of you also had a lot of love.

Yes. I had 26 to 50 comments on my A to Z posts. 54 of the respondents got at least one or two comments a day.
Somewhat. I had one comment on some posts, but no comments on others. Under 26 comments in April. That was the answer for 37 people.

And this answer is heart-breaking:
No. No one left me any comments at all. I had someone test my comment box, I've checked spam, etc. Nothing. The answer of 3 people.
  • Of those, two posted on Twitter and Facebook.
  • All three said they did NOT visit or comment on other blogs.

On to what you've been dying to know!

2017 went without a linky list.

Honestly, I don't care. List or no list, I love this challenge. I'll just roll with whatever the co-hosts pick. 45%

I was happy about it before, and I'm still happy about it now! 20%
I was leery, but I've been won over. Commenting with my daily link RULES! Woot woot! 9%

I was happy about it before, but now I miss the old way. 17%
I was against it and, dag nabbit, I was right, because it was terrible. 15%

This is my first year, so I have no basis of comparison. 18%

It's a dead heat when it comes to social media!
I have the hashtag on all of my blog post titles, and I cross-posted to Twitter. 38%
I pasted my link on the A to Z Facebook group. 39%

15 people do NOT want to spend 5 minutes a day to promote their own blog.

65 people were perhaps reached by Arlee's post, as they checked off: I thought about my blog in terms of marketing.

91% had a theme!

32% ended posts with simple, open-ended questions.
48% of the respondents MASTERED HYPERLINKING.
(Only 10 people said they've given up on trying to learn it.)
69% of people followed blogs they found because of the #AtoZChallenge!

I am proud of what I accomplished during the challenge.

41% said they shared the post of others!

69% followed blogs they found because of the A to Z Challenge!

Only 3% say they feel like they failed.

27% follow A to Z participants on Twitter.
13% like or friend fellow A to Z people on Facebook.
Goodreads only drew the attention of 3 survey respondents.
Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+, and other social media of participants were followed by 13% of respondents.

28% of the respondents
formed friendships because
of the A to Z challenge.

And 53% of you feel a
sense of community
created by the challenge!

69% learned something from a post in the A to Z Challenge.
66% achieved a goal they set for themselves.
83% reply to comments left on their blog.

9 people said they bought something that exists because of the challenge. (A to Z books, pics, crafts, etc.)
And, as a result of participating in the challenge, 13 people created something that is now for sale.
13 respondents tried a food, a drink, or a recipe I found during the challenge.
32 people added something to their Wishlist or TBR list.

Only 4% of the respondents reached out to Arlee, Alex, Jeremy, Heather, Zalka, John, or J (me) for help.

33% reported interaction with a co-host.

attention image There were 33 people who said they want to be more involved next year.
(None of which used the comment box to leave contact information.)

33% also said they read the posts on this blog during the other 11 months of the year.
And 27 people have an idea for a blog post to be used on this blog over the next 10 months.
(The only idea left in the comment box was: I'd love to see a blog post about how to make your Letter-of-the-Day comment more interesting.)
(I'm not sure if this helps, but here's some commenting information.)

100 people said the co-hosts did an amazing job.
thank you

18% miss the Twitter chats.
Only 2% played #AtoZBingo.

16% discovered other blog hops, read-a-thons, flash fiction prompts, or ways to connect with fellow bloggers.
79 people checked I discovered a place I want to travel to or learned something new about a place.
A post improved my health or connected me to people of health similar to my own. That answer was marked by 6% of you.

40% of the respondents learned a new word!

Timezone of the Challenge result image

185 people thought the new timezone was fine, or they really don't care.

Age 50 to 70 makes up 46%, age 30 to 49 is 44%.
No one who took the survey reported being under age 18.
Only 5 people said they are over 70 years old.

Age of the ten people who have given up on learning hyperlinking:
1 18-29 year old
2 30 to 49 year olds
6 aged 50 to 70
1 (of the five people) over 70

66% are PC users. 21% use Apple/ Mac. 4% are using another operating system.
Android is on the rise with 13% saying it was what they primarily used when visiting during the challenge. Ipads and Iphones were used by 10%.
29% used an equal mix of computers and mobile devices to visit other blogs during the challenge.

Blogging platforms of #atozchallenge users Blogger 46% Wordpress 52% Other 4%

Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform, followed closely by Blogger.

53% made the A to Z Challenge a priority in their life.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey, and thank you for reading these results.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Why We Love Comment Signatures (And You Should, Too!)

Those who participate in a blog hop are looking to connect with others. A link in your signature makes that faster and easier. It helps the blogger connect with you by making it easier to find your blog. This strategy increases social relationships with other A to Z bloggers. In addition to your (hopefully hyperlinked) name, consider adding a few words to identify yourself. (The hashtag #insixwords is a good source of inspiration.) Here’s my example:

J -- Co-host for the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference and Speculative Fiction Writer

Based just on the signature, you now know five facts about me.
  • You know I go by the name J.
  • You know who I am in relation to you. (We are both in the challenge.)
  • You know something I enjoy doing — interviewing debut authors. (If you know one, this would spark a conversation.)
  • You know what I do for a living. This too might spark a conversation.
  • You know how to reach me because you have a link to my blog.

Now I’m not just another commenter. I’m the writer who interviews debut authors and volunteers for the blogging challenge we’re both into.

Signature mindmap for @JLENNIDORNER
Brains like lists. It’s natural for memories to form based on information gathered about a person. “Someone left a comment,” isn’t as memorable as, “someone with a common interest left a comment,” or, “someone with a unique job left a comment.”

Your comment (when it’s meaningful, adds to the conversation, is thought provoking, or is funny) is your first opportunity to be memorable. Your signature is the second.

A to Z bloggers have come to expect a hyperlink signature in comments. There are at least four instructional posts on the blog:

The purpose of the challenge is not only to promote your blog, but also to increase your social network. Someone who leaves a link in their signature is someone who is ready to communicate and engage. It’s easier to find someone who left an engaging comment or thought provoking question if the person dropped a breadcrumb trail. There isn’t always time to do a websearch for people. A hyperlinked signature is a calling card or business card in the blogging world. A hyperlinked signature is an invitation to form a relationship. This is why it’s a good way to concluded your comment.

What about comment boxes with a separate area for links?
Comment Sample image
In this case, leaving your link there instead of in the comment itself is acceptable.

Cultivate relationships online by including a signature with brief details about yourself and a link to you following your meaningful, valuable comment.

Plant the seed of social networking growth by including your hyperlinked signature.

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey on Facebook pages

Monday, March 13, 2017

How To Solve The Biggest #AtoZChallenge Problems

Here is a list of the most common problems A to Z challenge participants encounter, along with suggestions of how to solve them.

Not a priority quote image WSJ

Time Crunch/ Forgetting to Post :

  • Write as many posts as possible ahead of time.
  • Schedule your posts in advance.

Post Ideas (Too Many/ Too Few) :

  • Using a theme helps focus ideas.
  • Brainstorm with a friend (or a fellow A to Z participant) #AtoZBrainstorm

Lacking Comments :

  • Be sure you have A to Z posts up.
  • Check that people can leave you comments. (This may require asking someone who is not logged in as you to test it using another Internet-accessed device.)
  • Make certain your link is posted on the correct blog post, Facebook thread, and is on Twitter. Be sure it is going to your blog. (And not, for example, to your Wordpress Admin page.)
  • Leave more comments for others. (It's what bloggers do for each other. How important is it to you to be a valued member of the blogging community?)
  • Include the #atozchallenge hashtag in your post titles and be sure to share your posts on social sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • End each post by asking a simple, open-ended question.
  • Consider hyperlinking your signature.
Instructions for hyperlinking a signature:

Not Enough Blog Post Shares :

  • End posts by asking people to share them.
  • Enable sharing links at the bottom of the posts.
  • Come up with creative blog post titles that will make sense and intrigue people.
  • Share the posts of others.

Not Enough Social Media or Blog Followers :

  • Check that your links actually work. (Sending people to or is not going to get you followers. Either link to your profile on social sites or don’t have those buttons at all.)
  • Be sure people can still get to your follow links when using a mobile device.
  • Follow others.
  • End blog posts by asking people to please follow you.
  • Follow back when someone comments that they are from the #AtoZChallenge and have followed you.
  • Keep your posts and comments interesting, relevant, engaged, and friendly.

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey on Facebook pages

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

10 Common Misconceptions About Blog Comments

Read a post, then comment on the post. It seems simple to some people. Others feel differently. Here’s a list of misconceptions about commenting on a blog post.

1- I have to write a lot in order for it to be a good comment.

Nope! Even just five kind words are worth leaving. Blog analytic programs count the number of comments or interactions each visitor leaves, not the number of characters in those comments. Leaving without a comment makes for a poor bounce rate and a negative social engagement. Meaningful, quality comments build relationships and are the ideal… but empty blogs with no comments are disheartening.
Leaving comments — It's what bloggers do for each other. How important is it to you to be a valued member of the blogging community?
You can achieve the goal of commenting on as many A to Z blogs as possible while leaving thoughts and questions based on the content of the post.
You can communicate positively by trying to add to the idea and increase your social relationships by asking a question about the post.
Bloggers depend on comments, so be supportive by taking time in April to leave as many as you can.

2- It’s rude to leave a link back to myself.

Quite the opposite! Those who participate in a blog hop are looking to connect with others. A link makes that faster and easier.
You can achieve the goal of connecting with other bloggers.
This is a positive communication strategy and it will increase your social relationships with other A to Z bloggers.
Be assured that a vast majority of A to Z bloggers expect a link-back, which is why there are instructional posts on hyperlinking a signature.
Here are four of those instructional posts:

3- I might look foolish.

Most other comment leavers don’t have time to troll to read what you wrote. The blog owner is grateful for the boost in the number of comments. It’s true that most everything online stays forever, but reread what you wrote and ask yourself if it’s really as bad as you think it is. If not, post it. If it is, then go back to just simple, polite, and kind words. Even a few smile emotes is better than nothing.
If you are worried about your spelling and grammar, try the Grammarly extension in your browser.
You can achieve the goal of coming across as a polite blog commenter capable of true interaction and thoughtful questions.
You can figure out a positive way to communicate with simple, short comments.
It is acceptable to come back to that blog on another day, as perhaps it will be easier to comment then.
Keep your comment on topic and add something of value if at all possible. Here is a post with some ideas:

4- I have to respond to every comment on my blog.

This is a matter of personal preference. Regular readers might stop back to check if you have replied. Anyone who included an important question in a comment will probably come back to check if you replied. There are some comments that are just there because someone was being kind enough to say hello. Personally, I think the nicest reply to those is to click the link the person hopefully left and leave a return hello on their blog.
You can achieve the goal of connecting with people who visited your blog.
You can increase your social relationships by sorting through the comments you receive.
Some people respond to comments imminently, some take a few days, some only write responses on Sunday, and others wait until the end of April to write replies.
Consider this: Do you expect your comments to be replied to? If you wrote this comment, would you want a reply?
Here is a good article on this subject:
A quote from the article: “the best way to respond to a generic comment is with a generic reply.

At the very least, check your comment spam folder daily during the challenge. No one likes being stuck in comment moderation purgatory!

5- I am concerned that I may actually be a robot, one with poor math skills…

I worry about this too. Captcha and the like are good ideas with poor implementation. If I can’t solve the image in three turns I give up commenting. Then I make fun of the captcha on my Pinterest board.
You can achieve the goal of inspiring a better way to prevent spam without alienating real people. For example, some systems only have a box to check.
You can communicate using humor to bond with others over this Internet creation.
Robots might take over the world one day, but probably not in April 2017.
Google and other search engines have built in calculators to help with the math captchas.

6- There is too much arguing in the other comments for my taste.

That can be a tricky one. A desire not to attract the attention of an angry mob is a survival instinct. A simple “Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge,” and your name should be more than adequate as a comment. In this case, I might link back to the challenge page or the homepage of a search engine rather than my own blog (if a link is a required field).
You can achieve the goal of leaving a comment without engaging in confrontation.
You can communicate positively instead of joining the argument.
You can maintain a positive and supportive status without engaging in conflict. You could also comment on an older blog post with less argumentative comments.
There is a fine line between facts and opinions in some cases. Do you have something of value to add? Can you bring another perspective to the topic? Consider your own blog brand, and how you want to represent yourself, before submitting a comment.

7- I do not understand the post, and therefore feel unable to comment.

I hear you. Sometimes it’s a translation problem, and sometimes the post is about a subject you have no knowledge or interest in. Once again, I’ll recommend a simple “Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge,” and your name as a comment.
You can achieve the goal of being a nice person who is dedicated to leaving comments.
You can deepen a social relationship by asking the blogger questions about the post.
You could check the blog for a post that is clearer, easier to understand, and better to comment on.
If it is a translation issue, perhaps try a different browser’s translation service.

8- I have to log in to something to comment, and then create a whole other account, and I just don’t want to.

I do not feel bad not leaving a comment on blogs with such a system. There are ways to avoid that, as is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of blogs which allow comments without forcing someone to jump through a hoop.
If the blogger has a Twitter link, I’ll usually go there and leave a tweet instead. Logging in to my own Wordpress, Google, Twitter, or Facebook account I accept. But creating an account just to comment on one blog… that’s something only extremely famous people might need.
You can achieve the goal of encouraging bloggers to disable this by contacting them through other means.
You can communicate on social media about a desire to have such functions removed.
Time is valuable, so you be assured that you are not the only one skipping a blog for this reason.
Here is a website that discusses such commenting systems. (Warning: Ad heavy.)

9- The blog posts are all just shared reposts from other blogs. I do not know if I am meant to comment here or on the original post.

As this practice grows in popularity, the amount of original content decreases. If the blogger had something fresh to add, then of course you should comment. If not, the original writer would probably appreciate you more.
You can achieve the goal of keeping blogs fresh by commenting with a question about the poster’s take on this shared repost, or by thanking the person for including a new perspective.
You can increase your social relationships by seeking out the original poster.
The blogger felt this post was worthy of his or her blog’s precious space. You can try to figure out why the blogger felt someone else had such a value and generate a comment based on that.
Here is an article about why this practice exists:
(Not to be confused with guest posts.)

10- If I comment on a blog, and then the person comments back, then I’m stuck commenting on their blog again. It’s too much!

That’s how relationships form and grow. It’s a give and take process. Sometimes one blogger posts three times a day and the other blogger posts three times a month. That certainly makes it more difficult. You have to find a balance. Figure out what works for you, your schedule, and your online-social-presence goals.
You can achieve the goal of making new and lasting connections with other bloggers.
You will only encounter this if you have communicated positively and thus increased your social relationships.
You should take the time to build this into a positive and supportive relationship.

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey on Facebook pages

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tackling the Challenge with Gusto!

So the Challenge is lots of fun and excitement for those who enjoy this business of blogging.

One of the best things about the Challenge is meeting new people and finding cool blogs that are super-interesting. However, the only way people will know you've visited is if you leave comments on their blogs. That not only says that we've dropped in, but that we were engaged enough to introduce ourselves.

There's no better way of fueling the gusto to continue visiting participants than to charge through a section of the list each day.

You'll find that by leaving meaningful comments, other bloggers will gravitate to your blog. So it pays to put your energy into crafting creative posts and making as many visits as you can, so you can power through the Challenge with gusto!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Determination

That's what this Challenge is going to take. We are just a few days in, but the newness may have lost a bit of it's shine, you may be feeling discouraged for any number of reasons.

Not getting as many comments as you expected?
~ are you visiting a lot of blogs?
~ are you acknowledging the comments you've gotten?

Finding dead links?
~ please report them to me, Tina, through the info@ email or my personal email, both found under the CONTACT US tab. Please know we are continually combing the list for ads, dead links, and non-participants. Our assistants are out there in the trenches spending a LOT of their Challenge time doing that. So are the co-hosts. We welcome ANY help you can give.

Having trouble writing your posts?
~ these aren't works of art, perfect specimens of your very best writing, or masterpieces of any kind. They are short and sweet and meant to get you in the habit of blogging daily. Or if you're a perfectionist like me, hitting publish even though you could spend hours still editing. This is NOT the time to be trying that. Write it. Push publish.

Still feeling discouraged?
~ go hang out with your blogging buddies. Maybe you've all decided that for the Challenge you're going to visit others, but maybe you need a dose of that favorite blog you usually start your day with. That's OK. I wouldn't make you skip your coffee in the morning...

Above all, this is supposed to be FUN! Now go out there and have some FUN and don't worry so much. (Advice this girl needs to take a dose of herself...)


Friday, March 15, 2013

Have You Scheduled Your #atozchallenge Posts Yet?

Sign up to Reveal Your A to Z Theme!
As A to Z Challenge co-hosts, one of the biggest challenges we face is how to keep our own blogs going while taking care of a whole host of behind-the-scenes activity.

Last two years, I've gone with one blog. This year, I'm being brave and have submitted two, Amlokiblogs, and Daily (w)rite. I know of people who have submitted up to five blogs!

Before we know it, April would be here-- we have less than a month left! Where did all that time go? Seems to me we were just announcing the challenge and the co-hosts in January!

So, how many of your AZ posts are done? And how can you get them done in a way that is relatively quick and painless?

The most important thing, imho, is to decide a theme.

This makes it easier to pre-schedule posts.

For those of us doing the challenge, deciding a theme is half the job done, and if you've done this job, you can showcase it too, before the challenge starts: Mina Lobo has announced the "Big Reveal Bloghop" where we all reveal our themes a week before the challenge: March 21st. So go ahead and sign up and get to know/ renew acquaintances with a few other A to Z participants!

If you have all your A to Z posts done and dusted, and I know a lot of you have got just that, stupendous! Just make sure you spread the comment love. As DL Hammons tell us in his post, this is the one good way to make your blog part of the community!

If you haven't got your A to Z posts scheduled yet, what are you waiting for?