With the end of AtoZ Challenge, it’s good to evaluate successes and failures. Here are a few thoughts:
- AtoZ is a massive commitment (a themed post a day for a month; lots of visits to new bloggers–overall, a couple hours a day in my case). That is why I again tweaked it to work for me, which meant I published about a post a week on a theme I started last year. I got through P this year and might finish Q-Z before next year’s AtoZ.
- I did register for the AtoZ Challenge so I got a few visitors. These folks, I responded to and then visited their blogs. In all, that was probably only 15-20 new bloggers, not counting my usual community.
- Why did I do it this way? Here’s some (very) rough data I collected before last year, when I decided to change my approach. If you already read this a few years ago, skip ahead!
- Overall, I had fewer visitors than usual–not the goal! I usually get between 1000-1500 a day. In April, I got between 900-1300 per day. Speculation: Too many posts? One theme that may or may not appeal to people? Hmm…
- Overall, AtoZ April was my lowest month for comments in almost 2 years (December 2017 was lower but every December is). That surprised me. I know I commented on a ton more posts than usua. I knew to make A to Z worth would require I visit lots more people. Again, hmmm….
- In an odd way this lower engagement makes sense. People visited my AtoZ posts on genres who were interested in the theme. Those posts were significantly different from my usual posts (writing tips, writing and tech, and book reviews). When I dug into the WordPress data for how I did after last year’s AtoZ, it was similar. That moved me from Hmmm… to Yikes!
- Good stuff: By visiting other participants, I got a mini-education in quite a few topics I am now conversant in.
Overall, for me, the suggested approach doesn’t work for my goals of building blog readership. It may for others–no doubt–and it is a lot of fun to get a mini-education in a whole bunch of topics. So you’ll have to decide for yourself: Is this a good way to spend your time?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning