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Showing posts with label Social media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social media. Show all posts

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A is for Amazing Alphabet Team #AtoZchallenge

#AtoZchallenge 2018 A is for Amazing Alphabet Team


For our team A post, we present a brief interview with the 2018 Amazing Alphabet Team!


(The fine folks who volunteer their time, energy, and skills to make this challenge happen for you. There will be a seperate post to honor our Amazing graphics guy, Jeremey, later this month.)


1- What's your passion in life?



Arlee-  One passion that consumes much of my thinking is road tripping.  I hate to think of a time when I wouldn't be able to drive.

J- Writing is my passion. That's how I relate to the world.

Csenge- Storytelling. It is both my passion and my profession, which makes me incredibly lucky.

John- Music. Roughly half of my posts outside the A to Z Challenge are about music, and a couple of years ago I had two themes (quite by accident) and one of them was music.

Jayden-Writing, of course. It's therapeutic. But music is a close second. Singing is like sharing a story through song and I love that.

2- What are your goals during the A to Z Challenge 2018?



Arlee-  To keep a balance in my life between blogging and other stuff around me.  But I do want to get my posts done before April.

J- My goals are to make this year really fun for all participants, to complete the challenge, and to leave comments on 300 blogs. On my own blog, I have a short story told in parts, which my goal is to get people to think about life. (If you do too, check out the stories of A to Z post!)

Csenge- My goal is to write posts that people find both entertaining and informative. Also, to make some new blogging friends! I have found marvelous blogs through the challenge in the past, I am looking forward to more.

John- To have all the posts done by April 1 and do as much visiting of other blogs as I can during April.

Jayden- My goal for this year is to have all of my posts ready to go before April 1st so I can enjoy exploring new blogs! I have found some awesome writers I am excited to catch up with this year and I look forward to finding even more!

3- What was your biggest accomplishment in the last 12 months?



Arlee-  It's become a yearly tradition--driving back east to see family, friends, and especially my grandkids including the newest girl child, Logan Lego.  This past year I made the trip twice.

J- Publishing my debut novel, Fractions of Existence, was my biggest accomplishement in the last 12 months. One of the coolest parts was being interviewed on the Debut Author Spotlight at Operation Awesome. (That's what I usually do on Wednesdays, so it was fun to switch to the hotseat.)

Csenge- Finishing my PhD, and publishing Dancing on Blades, my new folktale collection!

John- Continuing my streak of consecutive days posting to the blog, now close to 1500.

Jayden-Publishing my first Choose Your Own Adventure Erotic Novel: Runaway. I couldn't believe how much fun I had writing it for NaNoWriMo last year. I released one iteration of the novel in last year's A to Z Blog Challenge. Publishing the whole novel April 30th was incredible!

4- What about a blog will catch your eye and turn you into a regular visitor?



Arlee-  Interesting material written in an accessible style--and preferably in black print on a white background.

J- A blog with a subject I enjoy written in captivating manner will always keep me coming back for more.

Csenge- I like blogs with interesting topics or themes. Bonus if they are related to folklore, mythology, or role-playing games.

John- Humor. I like to laugh.

Jayden-I love a well written story. I enjoy characters whose lives are compelling, particularly if it's an ongoing story!

5- Besides your blog, how can you be reached online?



Arlee-  I'm not on social media very much, but I can be found on Twitter @ArleeBird

J- Twitter twitter.com/JLenniDorner is my favorite method of online communication. I'm also on facebook.com/WhatAreThey and most of the other major social media outlets.

Csenge- Twitter (https://twitter.com/TarkabarkaHolgy), and the Facebook page for my "Following folktales around the world" series.

John- I have presences on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/johltonehandtyping), Twitter (https://twitter.com/onehandtyping), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/onehandtyping/), and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/onehandtyping_/). Probably the best way would be through Instagram, as I don't check the others that frequently.

Jayden- http://twitter.com/jrvincente, https://www.facebook.com/jrvincentewww.goodreads.com/jrvincente

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"I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it." - Conor McGregor

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.
Unfortunatly:
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.
81%!



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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

If the List Doesn't Exist...#atozchallenge


         What?!!   No list?!!

          Judging by the Theme Reveal test run it seems a good many of you had no problem working without a list.   After all, it's nothing like walking a high wire without a net.  No list ain't gonna kill ya!  And, by golly, the Theme Reveal proved that!

            I can't say for sure because I didn't count, but by all estimations it appears that well over 200 bloggers participated in the Theme Reveal event as of my writing of this post on Tuesday afternoon where I am in Pacific Daylight Time.  And that count is just estimated from the comments on this blog.  There were also theme reveal links left on other social media outlets.  I'm not sure how this all measures up to the over 500 links that typically appeared on the Linky sign ups from previous years, but one good thing is that everybody who did leave a link left a link to a blog that was actually participating.  So in my view that's not too bad.   I'd call the Theme Reveal a success and an good indicator that those participating in A to Z 2017 will catch on just fine.

           However if there is still trepidation with any of you about participating in the upcoming A to Z Blogging Challenge without a list, never fear for I am here with some consolation and a few hopefully helpful suggestions.

There Is A List If You Look For It

         Actually there are many lists available to you if you aren't on the social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.   Those platforms will provide all the links most of us can handle in a day's time, but some of you just don't like to be on any sites like that and I can't say that I blame you for feeling that way.  However, there are many other ways to find A to Z Challenge participants.

          You can find a lot of A to Z participants by going to some of the blogs of other participants you already know and going through their comment sections and visiting the blogs of those who commented.  This is a way to meet other bloggers with similar interests even if you aren't doing A to Z.  A well frequented comment section can keep a person busy for a good while.  You might not always find A to Z participants, but you might make some other new blogger friends.
       
         Use a search engine to search terms like Blogging from A to Z 2017 or #atozchallenge.  This can be work, but it can also yield interesting results.  After all search engines like Google provide the biggest lists around. You might have to weed through all sorts of results, but if you're a search engine (Google) fanatic like I've become you might enjoy this method

         Look for other bloggers who have set up their own lists.  The blog community site Blog Chatter has a list of bloggers who are participating.  Other bloggers might have compiled similar lists on sidebars or on special pages--keep your eyes open for these (if you have one on your own blog you can leave a comment below with your link).   I've started one on my own site and intend to continue adding more blog links as I blog through April.  My link list can be found at Tossing It Out. I doubt whether I'll be able to keep it loaded with every participating blogger, but this is my experiment.  Maybe you'll want to try compiling your own list.

         Use a blog reader app such as Feedly.  This is something I've never gotten the hang of using, but I know many of you probably already use this method.  I sometimes used to use the reader Blogger had on its site and found it to be helpful when I remembered to use it.  Maybe some of you more adept at using readers can offer some more help in the comments.

Sometimes Work Is Involved!

       Even with the Linky List we sometimes had to weed through blogs we didn't want to read or that weren't participating or had fallen behind.  Successful blogging does sometimes require doing some of your own work.   Not all of you have that much time to spend on blogging so I understand the desire for shortcuts.  The fact remains that effective blogging requires effort.

       If you've ever wondered why you don't get many comments or it doesn't seem like you get many blog visitors, it's mainly because you aren't promoting your blog enough and not visiting other bloggers like you need to in order to get reciprocated visits to your own site.  I learned this early on in blogging.  In fact that's why A to Z began and that's how I made it grow.

       As Alex J Cavanaugh stated in an earlier post on the A to Z Blog, when I started the very first A to Z Challenge in 2010 there was no Linky List.  I created a sidebar list using some of the methods I've outlined above.  This required work on my part, but it was worthwhile.  Just look where we are now.  You think Blogging from A to Z in April is too difficult?   Well, it can be.  But if you do it right, do it with a method to your madness, use practical approaches, and pay attention to what is going on, then you'll find that it might be easier than you thought and it can be actually fun.

      After all, I called A to Z a Challenge for good reason.  My Challenge to myself was a way that I learned a great deal about blogging and networking.  I extended that Challenge to others and they came and they too conquered that Challenge.  You can do it too.

      If you're still concerned about not having that Linky list to lean on, then think again.  The lists are there and if you don't like the lists you see then create your own.  This is called customization.  You decide what kind of list will suit your needs and then make your list out of the lists that exist.  They exist everywhere if you look for them and you don't have to look that hard.

       This year's A to Z will work and it will work well.  You might have to do it your way just the way I did it my way that very first year, but this is all a learning process.  Blogging starts with expressing yourself.  If you want to share what you've expressed then you will have to do some networking.  A to Z is about networking.  That's how it started and that's how it still is.

         Are you ready to network?   Fine--follow the advice I've laid out in this post.  And if none of this makes much sense to you and you'd still like to Blog from A to Z in April?  That's fine too.  Just blog like you always blog, but pay closer attention to what's going on with others and with the action on your own blog.  This is all a learning process.  But it's also fun.  Don't worry. Don't stress.  Just blog.



         

       

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Big A To Z Announcement Is Coming! #atozchallenge






          Six years ago at about this time the first A to Z Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Linky List appeared as sign-ups opened.  It was during that Challenge that an official A to Z Team was put together.   We had realized that the A to Z Challenge was an overwhelming endeavor that required a collaborative effort of several competent and relatively well-known bloggers.  In succeeding years, improvements and changes were made in order to make the Challenge more efficient as well as more rewarding to all.  Change is often an obstacle for many of us, but sometimes change is the best, and at times, seemingly the only way to keep things going.

          Judging by the number of inquiries about the 2017 Challenge that we've been getting in our email boxes as well as the A to Z Challenge Facebook site, many of you are wondering what's going on this year.   The A to Z Challenge Blog has been inactive over the past few weeks and not a great deal has been heard from the Challenge co-hosts regarding the 2017 Challenge.  In fact, not even a mention of who are the co-hosts for 2017.   However the behind the scenes action has been underway as we have been addressing what the 2017 April event might look like.

          As you might now be surmising, changes are coming in the upcoming 2017 A to Z Challenge!

           In this current post, I am laying the groundwork for the very important announcement post that will be appearing here next Monday February 6th.  There will be some vital information that we want you to be sure to read and to help us promote in order that all interested parties can be informed and provide their own input and suggestions.  And of course, there will undoubtedly be questions that we can answer for you.

Can you help us get the word out?

          So that the maximum number of bloggers can get this very important news, we are asking you to help us get the buzz going by announcing the upcoming post on your own blogs as well as tweeting, Facebooking, and sharing today's post as much as you can.  Let's get the word out!

          We want everyone who is planning on doing the 2017 Challenge to see what is in store by checking out the February 6th post.  So, those of you who have already completed your A to Z posts for this year or have them in the planning stages, never fear!  The 2017 A to Z Challenge will be here once again in April.  There will be much more information to come on the A to Z Blog after next week's announcement so plan on visiting regularly.

Meet the 2017 A to Z Team

        Part of the change for this year entails a smaller A to Z Team for reasons that should be more evident in the upcoming announcement post.  Most of the Team will consist of members from the previous Team with the addition of a long time A to Z participant as well as a veteran member of Arlee's Ambassadors.

        The 2017 A to Z Team is as follows:

Arlee Bird   @ Tossing It Out

Heather M. Gardner The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Zalka Csenge VirágThe Multicolored Diary

John Holton @    The Sound of One Hand Typing


J Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J. Lenni Dorner   (first year on the A to Z Team)

Also, Jeremy Hawkins Hollywood Nuts as in previous years will be providing the A to Z graphics (official logo, daily letter badges, etc)

Alex J. Cavanaugh @ Alex J. Cavanaugh --though no longer a full-time active team member due to his many other commitments including the Insecure Writer's Support Group (which he founded)-- will continue acting in an advisory and supporting role with his additional assistance in promoting the Challenge on his blog.  My many thanks to Alex for his years of service to A to Z from its inception.

        I would encourage you to visit all of the blogs mentioned above to get to know the A to Z Team and give each member a big virtual hug.

       Be here next week for the big Challenge news.   And please spread the word!

        IT'S GOING TO BE ANOTHER GREAT A TO Z CHALLENGE IN APRIL 2017!


Thanks from your A to Z Founder, Arlee Bird...
       

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Blog Better by the Day

Having fallen behind on blogging activities myself, coupled with several social media hiatuses, I know what technology burnout looks like and I understand that overwhelming anxiety of feeling like you'll never get up to speed...at least not as soon as you hoped. The solution to this recurring issue is designating each day of the week for one specific blogging activity or other online task. It is an effective way to get a handle on your internet presence so that it doesn't drive you bonkers. 

A fun way to get in the habit of sticking to an online routine that goes day by day is naming days of the week in a manner that coincides with the task -- Wordless Wednesdays style -- and then listing this schedule on your calendar, in a notebook or some other place where you'll have them handy:
  • Return-Commenting Monday
  • Blog Promotion Tuesday
  • Visiting/Reading Wednesday
  • Email Inbox cleaning Thursday
  • Blogging Friday
  • Social Media Saturday
  • Blog Planning Sunday

Using the above sample schedule, I've been able to complete more tasks with this method than when I try to squeeze several important online activities into one single day. My experiences with doing this has led me to realized that the days on our blogging calendars are not set in stone. Sometimes I miss a day (or two) and end up playing catch-up by either doubling up on the task of the day or moving the next scheduled tasks to a later day. Sometimes I even skip a day (or more) depending on how well my week is going. In any case, naming one day each for a different blogging activity makes it easier for me to not worry about having to be everywhere, all of the time.

Do YOU control the internet or does it control YOU?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Hostess Nicole Ayers writes about movies and the people that make them, at The Madlab Post. She also tweets @MadlabPost.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Look at me! Look at me! #atozchallenge



        I hope everyone's raising a lot of "L" today!

---Arlee Bird





The "Look At Me Syndrome"

      There are a lot of things we do to call attention to ourselves.  The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, or the way we might talk loudly on our cell phones when we're in public.   Often we might deny that we're doing something to get others to notice us.  "I'm doing this or wearing this or whatever because I like it--it's something I'm doing to please me".

       Okay, believe that if you want to, but if you're putting it out there for all the world to see there is some desire to show off what you like or what you feel like or whatever it is that the inner you is itching to make known to others.

        This is especially true with blogging.   How many times have you heard a blogger say "I don't care how many followers or comments I have, I'm blogging for myself"?     Thank goodness I don't hear this too often, but it's been often enough to make me roll my eyes in wonderment.   If this is the case why aren't those blogs private?   When you put up a public blog, no matter what you say, there's a part of you that wants someone else to read it.   Each post says "look at me!".

         Even more so this is true for you who have signed up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  You've got your blog on a list and you're waiting for someone to click your link, visit your blog, and leave you a comment.

   How to Get Noticed

          Feel like you're getting ignored?   Not getting the number of visits you expected during this Challenge?

          Let me lay it straight to you.   That list is a lot of blogs and it's easy not to stand out on the list so don't count on your just being on the list to get you regular visits  There are other ways to boost the numbers that come to your blog and to receive more comments.


  •  Post good content -- if you hook your audience with something they like you're more likely to get repeat visits.   If you're not getting those repeat visits then maybe you should reexamine your content and try a different approach.
  • Use intriguing titles-- The post starts with the title.  Many times that's the most important thing that draws visitors.  
  • Include fascinating images-- Pictures catch the eye before the words do.  Even if your focus is on the writing, a related image can cause the visitor to pause long enough to read what you've written.
  • Advertise on social media-- There are many places you can share your blog links with others.  Find the ones that work best for you and let others know when you've put up a new post.
  • Link to other blogs in your posts--tell your readers about other blogs that you find to be interesting. You'll help those bloggers and will usually in turn draw some attention back to your own blog.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY!!--Visit other blogs, follow them, and leave a comment.  If you leave a good comment that pertains to what they've written then you will stand out more to that blogger and to visitors on that blog who read the comments.  Leaving a comment will typically result in a reciprocal visit from the blog where you left the comment and can lead to an ongoing blogger relationship that can last long after the A to Z Challenge has ended. 

          Don't try to kid any of us.  If you're on the list and your blog is open to the public, you want to be noticed.  There's nothing wrong with saying, "Look it me!" if there's something worth looking at.

Look At Yvonne Lewis!

        Here's a bit of A to Z Challenge history for you.   When I put out my Challenge to bloggers in 2010 to blog with me from A to Z, the first person to take the challenge was poetry blogger Yvonne Lewis who blogs at Welcome to My World of Verse.   She's been a dear friend ever since.

        She's back again for this year's Challenge so I hope you'll visit her and while you're there join as one of her followers.  She's had some blog problems but hopefully this new one is here to say.  She's got some wonderful A to Z entries again this year.

          And just in time for April Yvonne Lewis has released her third volume of poetry.  The book is Moments of My Life and distribution rights are in the works.    I'm particularly stoked about this release because I'm on the cover!   That's me with Yvonne at the bottom of the cover.  Plus I've written a few words about Yvonne in the book's Introduction.  Wow, it's so cool to be sharing the stage with this poet whom I've admired for so long.  Show Yvonne some support and order her book.  Wouldn't it be cool to see an A to Z blogger in the Top Ten of poetry books on Amazon!

       
 



 


      What is your best method of drawing attention to your blog posts?    What do you see as the biggest mistake that bloggers make that causes them not to be visited often enough?     Besides blogging what are some of the things you do that say "Look at me!"?   


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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!
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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!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Do You leverage #Socialmedia for #blogging? 20 #atozchallenge Tips


 Today, one of #TeamDamyanti , Vidya Sury , tells you how to spread your blog far and wide via social media.
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A blog hop is all about interaction, making friends and getting to know new bloggers. The #AtoZChallenge is a readymade opportunity to connect, interact, and take your blogging motivation to new highs.

So you've signed up for the A to Z Challenge (do it now if you haven't), and perhaps even the  A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest where you join a huge group of AtoZers to post your theme reveal post. You're also busy outlining your posts and scheduling them for April, so you can be free to party.
Yes, it is a month-long blogging party that will change your life forever!
So, besides visiting other bloggers, how can you amplify your blogging presence?
Use social media!
Social media is a great way to attract new readers and engage with your existing ones. As bloggers we cannot afford to ignore social media.

If you’re still wondering why you should use social media…it helps you

·      invite collaboration opportunities
·     get a book written (yes!)
·      create community
·      make new friends
·      get gigs 
and so much more!

How to get started?

1. Clean up your sidebars

2. Place your "follow/subscribe" buttons prominently so your visitors can find them easily and follow or subscribe to your awesome blog updates. 

3. Display Social Media Connect buttons for the networks you frequent. The most common are: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and of course, email. You can get combinations of the set. Don't forget to customize the buttons with your own profile links.
4. Add Social Mediasharing buttons - so your visitors can share your posts on their social network of choice.
5. Have a Facebookfan page? Add the widget in your sidebar so you can build your audience right from your blog. All your visitor has to do is hit "Like."

6.
Create readymade tweets so your readers can copy and tweet. Like this:
#atozchallenge tip: Visit AZ bloggers before Challenge begins, follow their blogs-build your network! www.a-to-zchallenge.com @AprilA2Z
Try clicktotweet so your readers can directly click to tweet.
7. Use a dashboard like Hootsuite to manage and schedule your social media posts. Install the Hootsuite “hootlet” for your browser to tweet/schedule a tweet for any page you are on. If you follow the blogger, don’t forget to tag them when you tweet. The Hootsuite dashboard lets you see your tweet stream, sent tweets, mentions and scheduled posts.
8. If you use Feedburner, use the “socialize” feature to autoshare your own post on social media as soon you publish.
9.  Use the #atozchallenge tag across all media to make them easily discoverable. Tag +April Hosteam on G+ (run by Pam), tag @AprilA2Z on Twitter (run by Nicole) and Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (run by Heather) on FB to get RTs and Shares of your posts.
10. Big on images? Add a Pin it button so your readers can share your gorgeous images on Pinterest.
11. Use LinkedIn? Import your RSS feed to your LinkedIn profile using the blog link application on LinkedIn to show off your posts on your profile.
12. Go to your Twitter settings - and set it up to share automatically to your Facebook profile.
14. Spend some time every day acknowledging shares and engaging in social media. Thank people publicly, give them a shoutout!
15. And while you are at it, give your "About Me" page the once-over! Now is a good time to tweak that, too!
16. Don’t forget to TELL your readers to share your posts! For more tips: See this post by M J Joachim's Aztech, C. Lee McKenzie.

17. The A to Z Challenge is not just about you. Consider using Twitterfeed to auto-tweet your favorite blogs’ posts and you'll have a bunch of RTers for your own posts soon!

18. If you have a twitter account, consider joining Triberr.com. This will ensure a lot of bloggers RT your posts.

19. Use Roundteam.co to automatically RT tweets on the #atozchallenge tag, or from bloggers you like.

20. Finally, check that all your links work.

To summarize, sidebar must-haves:
  • Subscribe / Follow button
  • Social media connect buttons
  • G+ button for your blog (different from the add to circles)
  • Facebook Fan page Like Widget
  • AtoZChallenge badge

Go forth and connect! Questions, problems? Ask away in the comments and Vidya will do her best to solve them for you!
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Have you signed up for the #AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal Blogfest?  Do it now!