Showing posts with label increasing followers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label increasing followers. Show all posts

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's up with these #atozchallenge Category Codes?

Happy A-Z Theme Reveal Day! Stop on by to see the list of folks who are participating!


In the 2013 Challenge, we introduced a new feature to the sign-up process called Category Codes. These are codes which allow you to identify the general topics of your blog, to give other participants a bit more information about what they might see on your blog, before they click your link. In case you missed it, here are the instructions and the list of Codes from the sign-up page: 

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows: 

2. BOOKS: (BO) 
3. FILM: (FM) 
6. CRAFT: (CR) 
7. ART: (AR) 
8. MUSIC: (MU)   

11. FASHION: (FA) 


14. GAMING: (GA) 
17. HISTORY: (HI) 
18. SCIENCE: (SC) 
19. HUMOR: (HU) 
20. TRAVEL: (TR) 

The A-Z Team thinks these codes are really awesome, and encourages everyone to use them. Here are a few reasons it's beneficial to use the Category Codes:
  • Interested in a certain topic? Look for folks with the appropriate Category Code marking and go visit their blog!
  • Hoping to attract others to your blog that are interested in the same topics as you are? Commenting on others' blogs is the best way to drive traffic to your own, so if say, you write about Education and want other educators to find you - go visit them first! Remember, A-Z is all about making connections so use the Codes to help you find your people.
  • Is there something that you aren't really interested in? You might skip blogs that are marked with that Code. But! The Challenge can also be a great opportunity to push your boundaries. In our humble opinion, our participants are the best of the 'net, so the Challenge might be the place where you find a really excellent blogger that shows you that a certain topic isn't so bad, after all.

As we are just over a week out from the start of the Challenge, and the sign-ups are just rolling in, we hope that new participants will stake their claim in a category, and hope that folks who are already browsing the list will start to take advantage of the Codes to find their future blogging besties!

A note on Adult Content blogs - this is the only category for which we have made it mandatory to identify yourself. Many of our participants have families and jobs, and we don't want to risk disruption of harmony in either of those locations if someone were to accidentally end up with explicit material up on their computer. And so we require that AC blogs identify themselves, out of respect for other participants. Any unidentified AC blog that is discovered by the Host Team will be immediately removed from the list. For more information, check out this post from a couple weeks ago. Thanks for your cooperation on this!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Hyper Blog Like a Pro!

The best way to increase your chances for having a great Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge experience is by actively working specific areas of this blogathon to meet goals you have (whether formal or informal) for your blog in April. Even among bloggers who do not have solid long or short-term goals for blogging through the 26 letters of the alphabet; chances are that when you sign-up, you do so with a set of expectations or hopes for what you want to get out of your participation in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge.

On Monday, Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out filled us in on the secret to this challenge – it’s about the letters, but it’s also about the numbers. 

"Hyper Blogging" is what he calls it; a kind of blogging on steroids that is necessary action for participants who aim to see any real significant increase in your number of subscribers, fans, friends, followers, visitors and comments – or whatever area you are seeking a boost in for your blog. As founder and ruler-of-them-all when it comes to the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge, Arlee has a great point when he emphasizes that you have to put in the work to see results.

I’ve participated in this challenge long enough to understand how its mere size can be enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned bloggers. Since we cannot be everywhere all of the time, while trying to visit nearly two thousand blogs in 26 days, it’s beneficial to use those A-to-Z goals, expectations and/or hopes as a foundation for your plan of attack on this April blogathon. Focus on activities that lead toward what you want and do less of the online stuff that doesn’t move in that same direction. Here are some ways that you can get your numbers up during the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge without returning to your blog empty-handed by the time May rolls around.

The Key to Playing the Numbers Game

Locate the objective that most matches what you want out of the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge and then focus on doing the activities listed for those particular goals during April. You don’t have to ignore all of the other activities altogether; just make sure to pay close attention to the actions that directly serve you, your blogging interests and your reasons for participating in the challenge.

Want more comments on your blog? Do these activities:
  • End your blog post with a question
  • Leave a comment on every blog that you visit. 
  • Blog about a controversial topic (Tread lightly here when swimming in controversial waters, and choose topics at your own risk.)
  • Reply to comments on your own blog.
  • Write a blog post comparing something such as baby names, products, people, services, situations, songs, movies, etc.
  • Reciprocate comments by visiting and commenting on the blogs of those who left a comment on your blog.
Want more people to visit your blog? Do these activities:
  • Visit additional blogs on Sundays when we have the day off from blogging in the A-to-Z Challenge, and then leave comments on these blogs.
  • Use the #atozchallenge hashtag on Twitter when mentioning your blog posts that are related to the challenge.
  • Add your blog URL below every comment you leave on other blogs. You do not need to know HTML to do this. Writing out the URL address ( will suffice.
  • Become a minion for one of the Co-Hosts. (It’s a lot of work in addition to what you already have in store as a challenge participant, but being a minion also comes with various perks such as having your blog featured on in A-to-Z Blog posts as well as on the blogs of Co-Hosts.)
  • Make your blog posts shareable by adding a “Share this” button or related social media links to your A-to-Z Challenge posts, allowing readers to share them on their blogs or among their social networks.
  • Link to other blogs that are participating in the challenge and/or feature another blogger in one of your blog posts. He or she will likely announce the news – either on his or her own blog or in their respective online social circles.
  • Swap guest posts with another blogger who is participating in the challenge. (For example, you can write a guest post for letter L or N on another blog and that blogger can give you a guest post for Letter M or O. This can be an effective way to increase readership outside of your own circle of visitors.)

Want more subscribers/followers/fans, etc. of your blog? Do these activities:
  • Place subscribe buttons and/or forms in your sidebar above the fold (near the top of the sidebar, positioned high enough that visitors do not have to scroll down the page to find it).
  • Add your social media handle (FB, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google + or whatever your pimping) to your signature at the end of your blog post or in your comments when visiting other blogs. (Don’t go crazy here, or else people will be quick to consider you a self-serving spammer. Pick a social profile...or two but I really wouldn’t recommend listing more than two...that is most important to you and use that one and that only. Notice I did not mention your blog URL. That’s because if you’re interested in followers, then it isn’t necessary for your blog URL to be listed in your comments because your blog address should already be prominently featured somewhere on your social media profile and easy for your social network to access. Duh!)
  • Make hybrid content for your blog posts, that can double as content for your social media websites and/or vice versa. (Meaning....If you are active on Instagram, write a blog post about one of the photos that you posted there, add the proper tags such as #Instagram, etc. and then share the blog post URL on FB or other social networks that you belong to. Grab a quotable section from one of your blog posts such as a short blurb that could stand on its own and Tweet it or Pin it or Tumblr it, all while making sure to add/embed a permalink back to your original blog post.)

Happy Blogging!

What are the reasons why YOU participate in the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge?

Do YOU get the results that you hope for when it’s all said and done?

Nicole Ayers at The Madlab Post

Monday, January 20, 2014

A to Z: It's About the Numbers (A "What Works" Post)

      I'm going to fill you in on a secret about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Actually it's not really that much of a secret since I've told the story many times in many ways.  Though the Challenge hides under the guise of letters, it's really about numbers.

      The whole reason I started the Challenge was because I was celebrating having reached 200 followers.  I was celebrating my increase in followers by playing with 26 letters.  The result was more followers for me and more for those who participated with me.  And so it has gone in each successive year.

       This year's Challenge will be the fifth year.   Not bad for a blogfest that started off relatively small.  Now thousands of bloggers and non-bloggers alike are aware of this annual April event.  Many of you are proud veterans of the Challenge.  Some are wary of participating.   Some may be scratching their heads and wondering how a blog event like the A to Z Challenge can be of any use to a blogger.

       Sure, we've had our detractors--takes too much time, sucks up the blogosphere during April, didn't really help me gain readers.   I won't go into any of these at this time.  I'm sure these will be covered in the weeks to come on this blog.  I'd prefer to look at the positives rather than the negatives, whether it be this Alphabet Challenge or anything else in life.  Talk about sucking up energy!   Negativity will do it just about every time.

       So back to the numbers game.  Maybe it's about amassing greater numbers of followers, more readers, more comments, more posts, higher SEO ranking--you name it, A to Z can do it.  You can't just sign on though and expect magic to happen.  There is work involved and that means numbers that you add into the effort.   The more blogs you visit, more bloggers you follow, and the more comments you leave then the more numbers you get in return.  It's just blogging, except it's like blogging on steroids.   Hyper blogging.

       You can argue the subject of numbers all you want, but you can also question your motivation for blogging.  The fact is that numbers make a difference.

        Have you ever seen a successful advertising campaign done with just one TV or radio ad?    Money is poured into media campaigns in order to inundate the airwaves with repetitive commercials.  Numbers.  We get logos and mottos emblazoned into our brains because we see  or hear them over and over.

        Marketing and promotion is a numbers game.  That's the way the whole thing is effective.

        Same with your blog, the product you're trying to promote, or your personal brand.  You've got to get out there and make yourself seen and heard.    Let's face it, 26 posts on your blog will be more likely to garner attention than one or four or whatever lesser number you're dealing with.  Don't skimp on quality.  Quantity isn't everything, but on the other hand practice aims for perfection.   If you post more, you may become a better blogger.

         I'll listen to your arguments against the numbers in the comments.  I've done so innumerable times in the past.   I doubt whether anyone will ever convince me otherwise.  Numbers count.

         A to Z is about fun, expression, personal challenge, interaction, networking, and so many other things.  The Challenge can also be a valuable part of a participant's promotional strategy in blogging.  Think of why you blog and how the April Challenge can fulfill your needs as a blogger.

        Yeah, it's about the letters, but it's also about the numbers.

        Do you think numbers are important in a promotional campaign?   How hard do you try to build up following in the A to Z Challenge?   What do you think is the key to blogging success?

For other participants be sure to visit the sites of the What Works... hosts:

Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out
Yolanda Renee at Defending the Pen
Jeremy Hawkins at Being Retro
Alex J. Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh

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