Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections of The A-Z April Blog Challenge

WHEW!  This traveling suitcase has been out and about alot this past month.  April's A-Z blog challenged challenged us to write a post everyday, except Sunday during the month in Alphabetically order.  It also challenged us to make at least 5 visits to other blogs daily and to leave comments on said blogs.
  • Made the 26 posts
  • Made a total of 251 blog visits and comments (an average of 9.6 visits and comments daily)
  • Received 136 comments back, for an average of only 54% return, pretty disappointing, had expected more then that.  136 total divided by 26 days (though we didn't write on Sunday's people did visits on Sundays, so the number of days is perhaps skewed a bit) averages 5.2 visits back daily.  
  • I did gain some followers, though how many I don't now, as I forgot to notice what my numbers where before hand
  • When I signed up Traveling Suitcase for the challenge I was #1888, very close to the bottom, as I signed it up with less then a day left.  I ended up at #1581, a jump of 307 spots on the linky.  That shows you how many folks either dropped out, or were removed from the linky for various reasons.
All in all, I don't know if it was worth it.  It takes alot of time to write, visit, read, and comment; and clearly I put much more into it then lots of folks.  I don't know how representative my results are compared to others.  But it seemed daily I hit one after another of folks who signed up with very one sided ideas in mind.  There comments were closed, so they wanted the visits, but had no intention of returning the blog traffic.  They weren't really blogging, or participating; but still wanted the blog traffic.

However, I did enjoy most of my visits and have increased my blog log for my future visits.  I've added everyone who visited here more then once to my list and hope the back and forth continues.

Will I do this again next year?  Jury's still out on that, only time will tell.

I think there are things that might improve the challenge if it comes round again next year.
  • I think a mandatory deleting captcha vs a strong suggestion is in order.
  • I think requiring all sign ups to be the actual blog url vs google + profile, circles profile etc, where you have to click multiple times to even find the blog registered
  • No blogs that require signing in or joining something, like the Disgus blogs that want you to join Disgus or sign in with your facebook or twitter profile
  • No one with comments turned off should be permitted
  • Requiring the logo and or A-Z post D etc to be very visible, like the first line of every post, vs scrolling around the blog to see if the badge is even there when you're not sure if they are really participating
  • A separate linky for adult content (AC), hit too many that had a disclaimer of adult content in the text of the blog that weren't so marked on the linky.
  • Is is possible to have the linky be alphabetized?  So you can more easily see where you left off on the list.  
  • Maybe it would be a good idea to have separate linky's for each category?  Though it appeared most didn't choose a category and I enjoyed visiting all categories, just wondered if it would be helpful?  
I think visiting all those who've signed before hand to make certain they are lined up to play fairly and appropriately would save lots of folks time later on, trying to report blogs daily as they waste their time making the rounds.

Thank you to all who visited and took time to post comments:

Christine Rains
Maggie Winter
Linda Ann Nickerson
Annis Cassells
A month of Blog
Joe Richardson
Jennifer Solo Travel Girl
 Aidl Weoh
Kaye Draper
Amanda Dollak
anya Padyam
Talya Tate Boerner
Tami Van Zalez
Naila Moon
Bonnie Gwyn
Karen Michelle Nut
Julie Flanders
Katka Lapelosova
Carol Kilgore
Betty Taylor
TaMara Sloan
Donna Sexton
Pat Hatt
Margaret Spain
Clarissa Draper
Elizabeth Seckman
Jana Grissom
John Wiswell
Katka Lapelosova
Denise Flynn
Sylvia Ney

Your visits and comments were appreciated.  Thank you!

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.


  1. From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

  2. No matter what, there are always people who try to game the system. But all in all, I was pleased that my comment totals did go up. I didn't do the math to see how much my commenting paid off, though.

  3. Congrats on surviving the Challenge! Yours was one of my favorite themes. I like your ideas for future A to Z Challenges.

  4. Hi Tami, Liz, and Christine, appreciate the visits and comments. Right you are Liz about someone gaming the system; but I did the math because last year I was also frustrated but didn't actually know how much I put in vs what came back and this year I wanted to know. Thought it would help me decide whether or not to do it again next year.

  5. Sandy, I am totally amazed that you could keep up with so many blogs especially during the A to Z challenge, AND leave so many comments. Congratulations on that incredible accomplishment. As I noted on one of your other blogs. Good reflections too. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living

  6. congrats on getting through the challenge - good list of improvements :)

  7. I think a good way to go is to leave at least one comment on whatever blog you visit, and then if they visit you back, maybe go back to their blog again, and so on. But I really did want to visit ALL the blogs, and after over 400 blog visits I just had to give up on that idea.

    Upon reflection I think it's a better idea to schedule all posts, so you can focus more on visiting during the actual month.

  8. I don't think I ever made it to your blog during the challenge. It was definitely a tough road/month, but I loved it. It is difficult to think of how to get back to normal blogging. It's like I didn't really have a plan before the challenge, and now it seems a hard act to follow!

    Thanks for visiting me. Wishing you great return to normal blogging. :) Writer’s Mark

  9. Thanks Maria, Printed, Trisha, and Nancy for the visits, much appreciated.

    I'm with ya Trisha on the leaving comments. I NEVER visit a blog without leaving a be it defeats the purpose. And if they then make it here, I will visit them back again. Since I managed to have the posts scheduled ahead for 1 of the 3 blogs, that is the better method. Didn't quite make it that organized on the other 2.

  10. I totally agree on the captcha having to be deleted entirely, it's really annoying.

    As for reciprocity... I think if you visit all the other blogs expecting something back, you'll only be disappointed. I'm still fairly new to the world of blogging and don't know the rules of blogging etiquette. However, knowing the somewhat insinuated rule of following someone just because they follow you bothers me a bit. I'm grateful for all my followers but I don't want to feel obligated to follow someone.

    Sorry, I'm rambling. :)
    You made some good suggestions though. I tried to comment on some blogs and never realized I couldn't because maybe comments were turned off.

    I am proud to say though that even though I may not have commented on every single one, I've almost made it through the whole list!! I'm sure I haven't gotten that big of a response back, but it doesn't matter because I had fun doing it.

    Congrats on completing the challenge. Again, sorry for the rambling. :)

  11. Thanks for swinging by Jessica, since you're new you may not understand why people want and rightfully expect reciprocity. Most people really don't want to give all the time while others only want to take all the time. Without leaving a comment, no one knows you were there. It's pretty easy to click on everything, not read and not take the time to post a thoughtful response, but no one benefits from that.

  12. Congrats on finishing! I think you made some great points. I'm still planning on doing it next year because I did it for fun, and I started my blog on the first day of the challenge. I really had a great time. Maybe you can figure out how to make it fun for yourself next year, so the results won't matter as much. I'd love to follow you for the challenge next year! :)

    #atozchallenge reflections on Kristen's blog: A to Z Reflections

  13. No reason to wait to til next year to follow each other Kristen

  14. Hi! I'm one of those bloggers who frustrated you because I didn't get out there as much as I should have during April to read/comment on other A to Z blogs. I vowed to make up for lost time in May, so here I am! I was SO surprised to see Port Clinton as one of your labels in the side bar--I was born there (and moved away from the area when I was five) and never bump into anyone who's heard of it. I haven't been back since my family moved, but reading about the yarn shop and the winery make me think it might be high time to go back to the old homestead!! Can't wait to peruse your other posts to see what I've been missing in the good old U.S. of A.

  15. thingsiseeandknow, thanks for making it over. Glad you found the Port Clinton post and hope to see you here often as I post about alot of sorta local stuff as well as travels.

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