IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The OFFICIAL MASTER LIST: https://tinyurl.com/AtoZ22 (sign-ups are closed)
Showing posts with label FAQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAQ. Show all posts

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 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203358704577237603853394654


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:
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2012/02/how-to-make-hyperlink-signature-guest.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2013/01/blogging-basics-hyperlink-signature.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2014/03/get-more-visits-by-hyperlinking-your.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2016/03/a-to-z-tips-creating-signature-for.html


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 Twitter.com or Goodreads.com 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:
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2012/02/how-to-make-hyperlink-signature-guest.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2013/01/blogging-basics-hyperlink-signature.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2014/03/get-more-visits-by-hyperlinking-your.html
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2016/03/a-to-z-tips-creating-signature-for.html

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: http://www.problogger.net/the-ultimate-guide-to-leaving-comments-on-blogs/

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: http://goinswriter.com/blog-comments/
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. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-choose-the-best-comment-system-for-your-blog/ (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: https://blogs.constantcontact.com/how-to-curate-content/
(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

Monday, February 27, 2017

8 Common Misconceptions About the #AtoZChallenge

Today I'm going to debunk the most common misconceptions about the A to Z blogging challenge.



1- Just adding my link is enough.


  • No. It’s a hop. You post and you visit others who have posted. We interact with one another and cultivate new relationships.
  • 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?

2- The A to Z Team list is just names on the blog. Hosts don’t do anything.


  • WRONG. The hosts are here year round keeping the blog alive. We spend April helping all the participants. It’s hard work. It’s a second job that pays no money. We are not just names, we are people who care that this a supportive, safe, and productive blogging community.

3- The site is only up in April.


  • Nope. It’s here all year. There are less posts in the off-seasons, but the content is still interesting. You should follow this blog and check for updates regularly.

4- No one will notice if I bend or break a rule…


  • The hosts are dedicated to noticing and acting fast.

5- Everyone has a theme but me.


  • Nah. About 30% of the blogs in the challenge go without a theme to tie their posts together… other than the alphabet, of course!

6- There’s no reason I should advertise the challenge on my blog.


  • First, it’s not exactly advertising. It’s saying you participate, that you are part of our community. It shows off your blogging dedication, even if you only blog in April.
  • Second, it’s spreading the word about the challenge, which brings everyone more views and comments.
  • Third, it’s how others in the blog hop know they have come to the right place. It’s an assurance.

7- I’m going to get so much email junk from this challenge!


  • I have been doing this challenge for six years. In all that time, and in commenting at about 1,000 blogs last year alone, I have received only ONE spam message. If you're still worried, create a separate email account. (I have one for hops, one for general, one for classes, and one for business. It's an old organization trick.) Be mindful of check-boxes that sign you up for replies or notices. Consider that you might enjoy some of the emails. Learn to use services such as BlogLovin' to keep up with your favorite blogs.

8- This is only for professionals.


  • Most of the participants in the challenge are not professional bloggers. A few are professionals in their field who also blog. There are plenty of good people here who are new to blogging or who blog only as a hobby. We welcome everyone. Bonus -- the hosts are a wealth of knowledge for newbie bloggers!




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 26, 2014

Bonus A-to-Z Challenge Questions Answered #atozchallenge #faq

The A-to-Z Challenge is B.Y.O.B. – Bring your own blog! As this alphabet party approaches, we look forward to welcoming all of our blogging guests in a 26-day marathon, complete with entertainment, socializing, reminiscing and learning. 

We like a good party – the larger, the better. So like a good party host, we don’t want to have to show anyone the door – but we will if we find a guest who is spoiling the fun with adult content or blogging recklessly without warning. 

Now that we all understand the importance of following directions, let’s take a look at the differences between Adult Content and Offensive content, considering that these two can get mistaken for each other.

Adult Content Blogs vs Offensive Blogs

A Word on Adult Content Blogs:
"Does cursing count as adult content?" 

"I'm a potty mouth, and there's a clear warning regarding such on my blog. 
Should I categorize as AC here, as well?"

The Short Answer: Yes

The Long Answer: Blogs using frequent harsh language are deemed as adult content. If your posts, however, contain a sporadic use of profane words, then it does not necessarily have to be listed as adult content – but your blog may still be offensive to visitors; which is something we must take into consideration. As such, if your posts have questionable material such as a harsh word here or there on an otherwise non-AC blog, we strongly urge you to put a disclaimer at the top of your posts; which brings us to the subject of defining Offensive Content.

In previous years, we've had youth participants in the challenge. While we would not expect you to monitor or police the levels of exposure that someone else’s child has to harsh language, we do ask that all of our participants show some courtesy to each other, which includes providing visitors with enough information -- in the form of disclaimers -- to decide if they want to venture further and continue reading certain content.

A Word on Offensive Blogs and use of Disclaimers:
“If I have a few scattered cuss words in some of my A-to-Z posts, would that automatically qualify me as an AC blog?”

“There are some blogs out there with content I don't really want to see ...in past years 
I have come across blogs that gave me the creeps. 

“What about the case of say to occasional nude drawing? 
Nothing more than what you might see in a PG-13 movie?” 

“I'm pretty sure I'm PG 13, that's okay right?”

The Short Response: Non-AC blogs containing offensive content are strongly advised to include a disclaimer on their blog.

The Long Reponse: We live in a world encompassing different belief systems, cultures and viewpoints that each have their own take on what is, and is not, appropriate. Oftentimes, what may be offensive to some guys and gals will not offend other folks. Even British blogger Rob Z Tobor pointed out his thoughts about Brits being less offended by certain things than us Americans and since the internet is an international medium, anyone, anywhere is bound to come across a blog or website that may be offensive based on his or her own perspectives. Keeping this in mind, Non-AC blogs that contain Offensive Content are strongly urged to include a disclaimer on their posts, at least during April.

A Quick Guide on How to Use Disclaimers:

There are many ways to incorporate disclaimers or warnings on your blog, where necessary, during the A-to-Z Challenge. They can be as simple as a line of text or a photo/graphic that gives notice to readers who visit your blog.  Here are two ways to incorporate a disclaimer notice on your blog.

  • One main site-wide disclaimer – You can put a warning in your blog header, at the top of your sidebar or similar highly visible area that gives notice to everyone who visits your blog. It’s a one-and-done approach that, if done properly, can be effective in allowing you to focus on posting and not have to worry about the disclaimers. Kelly at DysfunctionallyFunctional is an example of bloggers who do a fantastic job of utilizing the site-wide approach of using disclaimers. She displays them in several places on her blog, which provides fair notice to all who visit about the nature of the content we are about to read.
  • Individual disclaimers per blog post – You can write or display a warning within the content of each blog post, which gives readers enough advance notice to determine if they are mature enough or adventurous enough or open-minded enough to handle the material. Sophie Duncan and her twin sister Natasha Duncan-Drake at Fantasy Boys XXX puts disclaimers at the top of each of their blog posts, using a simple grading system for the level of intensity in each post.

It is worth noting that the above examples are full-out Adult Content (AC) blogs that just happen to also be using disclaimers, which is an awesome double-whammy in giving visitors a heads up on their content. That said, even if you are a Non-AC blogger that does not publish or display explicit language on a frequent basis like Kelly does, or all-male erotica like the Duncan sisters do, we still urge you to at least put a disclaimer on your blog

This way, teenagers and readers who might be offended will know what they are dealing with upon visiting your blog during the challenge.

Still need guidance on using disclaimers? Check out Carrie-Anne’sMagick Theatre which is one of the Non-AC blogs that not only understand our purpose for advising the use of disclaimers, she also puts them into practice very well.

 “I'm doing what I did last year, putting a bolded warning/notice on any posts that might have some swearing, adult language, or a type of humor that offends certain people. Overall, there's barely any of that in the posts I'm going to do for this year's challenge, but I think it's fair to give a heads-up to anyone who's squeamish about certain language.” – 
  • Never underestimate the power of our A-to-Z Challenge community! One of the easiest ways to get help with your #atozchallenge questions or concerns is to reach out to one of your fellow bloggers who is participating in the challenge. 
  • When in doubt, you can connect with one of the Co-Hosts or send your question/concern to @AprilA2Z.
Since its inception, the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge has been an all-inclusive community filled with members who support one another and practice consideration for the viewpoints of their fellow bloggers -- even if they are different than their own. People within the A-to-Z community agree to disagree on a variety of subjects, while still having courtesy to treat each other with respect. 

Co-Hosts and participants of the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge have furnished information on common questions and concerns involving our April blogathon. Due to the large amount of bloggers who signup to participate in the A-to-Z Challenge, it is important for each participant to practice his or her due diligence in following the Guidelines set forth on the A-to-Z Challenge Sign-up List as well as the knowledge provided in content published on this blog -- while also taking into account the additional information available on our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) page and our CONTACT page.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Be One Step Ahead for #atozchallenge

Hello Alphabet Fans,
I have a quick idea I thought I'd share to make life easier come April. Unlike most of the co-hosts, I haven't written and pre-scheduled all of my posts.  I do have a theme, and I do know what I'm doing for each letter, but that's as far as I've gotten.

Maybe that's where you are, too, or maybe you don't have a theme and are just going to go day by day. That's totally cool, too.  Here's how to make it just a bit quicker each day.

Between now and April 1, go put up a draft of each post.  Here are the steps.

1) Download all of Jeremy's amazingly beautiful letters.  I like to start each post with the letter of the day so that visitors know right away that I'm participating, and on the right letter.  They are under the "banner/badges" tab up at the top.  They look like this.


Pretty, eh?

2) Now go to start to write a post in the compose window.  Insert the correct letter.  Put the letter A as your title, or the real title, if you've picked it out.

3) Pre- schedule the post.  Not sure how to pre-schedule?  I wrote a post about it here.

4) Not sure what day to put each letter on?  Under banners/badges there's a desk top calendar you can use, or in the FAQ, there's a simple list of what letter goes with each day.

5) Be sure to save your post.  It will show up in your post list as a draft.  

6) When you've written the post, even if it's days ahead, be sure to push publish.  It will sit and wait until the proper day and time and then magically, you'll wake up and see your post already up, and with comments!  Because you have turned off the evil CAPTCHA, right?

If it's still on, and you should check your settings under comments to make sure, we have a video in the FAQ about how to disable it.  DO IT NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T.

I hope these tips are helpful.  If you have any questions, we are all ready to answer them.  

infoatoz2014@gmail.com

Be patient though, AJ and I are pretty busy, so it might take a few days.  If you're in a hurry for the answer, you can email me, Tina, directly.  My email is in the contact tab.

~Tina, A to Z Team

P.S Do you see how useful those tabs are?  If you haven't read them, please do so.  The info we've put there for you will help you have a great A-Z Challenge!