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#AtoZ Reflections

Reflections 2022 #atozchallenge
AtoZ Challenge is officially over and I must admit, I didn’t do a good job this year. I had too many distractions and not enough commitment to my AtoZ goals. Here are a few thoughts:

  • AtoZ is a massive commitment–a themed post a day for a month; at least five daily visits to new bloggers as well as responding to comments. In past years, that has been a couple hours a day. 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.
  • Why did I do it that way? Very rough data I collected before I adopted my modified approach showed that when I posted every day, I ended up with fewer visitors than usual! 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…
  • AtoZ April was a low month for comments–the opposite of the blog hop’s intention. Again, easily my fault: I didn’t comment on as many blogs as the administrators suggest which meant lower engagement.
  • Overall, I probably attracted only about 10-15 new bloggers throughout the month. I visited about 5 a day, but only a few days a week.
  • Not surprisingly but disappointingly, my April visitor count was at least 20% lower than March as were comments. Again, I attribute this to my lack of engagement, and also that I was gone for a week at the end of April.

I like blog hops (like Alex Cavanaugh’s #IWSG) that introduce me to like-minded writerly folks, build my viewer base, and open me up to new writing ideas. This year, I participated less than usual so take the blame for my lackluster results. Still, I couldn’t get myself motivated to do more. I’m not sure I’ll join next year.

How about you? Who had great results with the #AtoZ Challenge? Was 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

92 thoughts on “#AtoZ Reflections

  1. I haven’t participated in AtoZ and have tried the #IWSG but time is an issue for me and to comment on others blog posts, which I know is the way to garner more comments on my articles. One day, I’ll get there…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jacqui, I know that I would not last the month. I always start off with challenges like this, and even my own ideas for a post series, and I do very well for a few weeks. Then work gets in the way and I leave it for a while and never go back because I lose interest. As a result, I cannot comment on how it would impact blog stats and I never think to check mine anyway. Even when I think to do it like now, after reading your post, I will have been distracted by something else before I get around to doing it. I think stats just aren’t important to me. Blogging must be fun for me and not pressured and committed. I do think it’s a good idea to check blogging stats because it indicates what posts are popular. I don’t think it would change my haphazard approach though so for me it just wouldn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Jacqui…just reading about what you did do made my jaw drop. Where on earth do you get the energy? I can barely keep up with my favourite bloggers. That said, your reader engagement did make me drool. You’re doing something right so don’t stop. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve twice done A-Z in my older blog (sagecoveredhills). Yes, the daily numbers went down, but I did pick up a few new readers, but it was so much work. In one series I posted on places I haven’t been that I’d like to go. In the other, I did it on constellations (and individual stars astronomical terms for letters without a constellation). I learned a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never taken part, but there’s no way I have anything close to 2 hours to devote to blogging and commenting. I admire those with the energy to do this, and I think you’ve done pretty well. But goals change, as does our focus on the time we have for creative pursuits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The fault lies with the fact you don’t have a clone:) You got a lot of irons in the fire, my friend, AND you are furiously researching and writing to finish that story we are all highly anticipating. Hope your visit with your sister was wondrous. I probably told you, at some point, I used to live in Lafayette.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This year was my first time doing the challenge and I really enjoyed it. I was surprised by the comments that I got, but I didn’t have high expectations , I just write a personal journal and share my poetry. I did the challenge for the writing, as I havent’ been doing much writing lately and wanted to get back into it. I hope that, if you do the challenge next year, it will be better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is a time commitment to something like this blog hop and for me, it just doesn’t work. My plate is already overflowing, so I cannot take on anything new. That being said, I would love to increase my blog follower numbers. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It was a great experience for me this year. I didn’t get a ton of new followers, but it certainly raised engagement, and best of all I connected with a few new bloggers that I think will become good friends. We’re still enjoying talking back and forth in each others’ comments on new posts. Also did me good to write so much fresh material that was fun and different from novel writing and editing. Although it took nearly all my time for a month, I’m creatively energized and moving ahead on my ‘real work’ with much more enthusiasm and productivity than before I did AtoZ. Planning to do it next year if I feel motivated and have a theme I’m passionate about when it nears. I’ve done it in the past and skipped several years. So it’s an on-and-off thing for me.
    I enjoyed yours this year, Jacqui! Perhaps it didn’t engage everyone as much since there wasn’t as much commentary and it was more of a list and facts about things?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. In your case you are actively writing and researching your WIPs, Jacqui, plus you teach! It’s a lot of work to make that commitment regardless of the challenges intent. April may also have been impacted by Easter and subsequent spring breaks where people weren’t reading posts. I see peaks and valleys with my posts, too. Do what you can and you will enjoy the ride!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I like how you did it your way, Jacqui. I don’t usually look at all the statics, although I should, but I have a feeling its the same thing for most of us visit wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The drop in visitors is interesting. One factor could be that with re-opening after covid, people are tired of online and just want to be mingling again. I have had a drop-off as well that coincided with the dropping of restrictions in this country. Have a good weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m amazed at how much you do, Jacqui. I agree with Diana. You’d never get anything else done if you did much more than you already do. I’ve enjoyed your posts on this topic. I know it would be too much for me to take on, so I admire you for having done it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for sharing!!.. every time my mind thinks about doing something like the A to Z challenge, my heart comes up with some words by Rose Milligan… 🙂

    Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
    to paint a picture, or write a letter,
    bake a cake, or plant a seed.
    Ponder the difference between want and need.

    Dust if you must, but there is not much time,
    with rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
    Music to hear, and books to read,
    friends to cherish and life to lead.

    Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
    with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
    a flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
    this day will not come round again.

    Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
    old age will come and it’s not kind.
    And when you go, and go you must,
    you, yourself, will make more dust!
    (Rose Milligan)

    Until we meet again…
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! I like that poem, Larry. I’m sorry I haven’t visited more. WordPress now doesn’t give me links to the sites that ‘like’ my post. I try to find folks through the gravatar but that’s time-consuming and hit-and-miss. I appreciate the comment!

      Like

      • Not to be sorry.. I don’t expect everyone to visit because you have a life to live and adventures to follow…. change is in the winds for everything and it will take time to learn… 🙂

        Take care….

        Liked by 1 person

  15. There’s no way I could post once a day, Jacqui. I’d never have time to do anything else. So I totally get the desire to modify the timing of the challenge. And I do think there’s such a thing as “too many posts.” Our followers can’t keep up and we can’t expect them to. They have to “tune us out” to some extent. All that said, your posts make for interesting reads and you keep them short. I enjoy whatever you do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Jacqui you are a blogging queen. Social media has so much content blogging has become less important. You might see what themes in your posts had the most interest. Focus on specific themes people want to interact with. I use Bublish book bubbles as my weekly blog. Then I repost the book bubble on my website. Some weeks I cannot get my mind in gear to write a book bubble. Give yourself a break. Go with the changes happening in how people receive data. Social media is drowning us in information. Adjust your sails and fill them with the air people want more of.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I concur with the comments of your other readers. Daily blog posts are too much to keep up with. That said, I enjoyed what you did for this year’s A-Z this challenge, and I learned some things I hadn’t known before. To my way of thinking, that makes it a success.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I had a similar experience to yours for A to Z. My stats were not as high, nor my comments, even though there was every effort to comment and visit back–so don’t beat yourself up about that. You have an amazing blog–I always look forward to your posts.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Kudos on your analysis. I love it whenever frustrating results help me say no more often. Then I have more time for my original yes — efforts devoted toward my time proven passions.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Very insightful Jacqui! I suppose we are allowed to change with time. On a separate note, a question on my mind is: Could it be that this format of blogging has reached its peak? I have not collected data as scientifically as you have, but my gut-feel is that the traffic to my blog has decreased, with the peak being about 3 years back. Will try to dig deeper.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Pingback: #AtoZ Reflections — – uwerolandgross

  22. Hi Jacqui – I do so understand … I lost interest – once there were too many dictats … and each year I’d love to do it again … but there’s less empathy … it was so friendly in the beginning. I enjoy seeing your A-Z themes in your own way – it’s good to see you again … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

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