The sign-up list for this year’s A to Z April Blogging Challenge has been open since January 25th. I’m in! Are you? Click HERE to read all about it and add your blog if you haven’t already. Only 15 days to go!
Coming up on Monday, March 21st is the Theme Reveal Blog Hop. This is a great way to get a jump on things and engage with fellow participants. There’s still time to sign up. Read more HERE.
It’s daunting to publish 26 posts in 30 days, plus interact with others. This will be my third #AtoZChallenge in a row (view entries HERE) and I’ve learned a few things along the way:
1. Write ALL posts ahead of time and schedule them in. The last two years, I only had some of them done by April 1 and was scrambling after that. (Looks like I’ll be running true to form once again. Sigh….)
2. Get the boring “grunt work” out of the way first, by adding the basics to every post all at once. For example, anything you will be using each time, like the A-Z logo, hashtags, categories, introductory blurbs, etc. can be put into the post drafts way in advance. All you have to do is go back and add your dazzling content.
3. Speaking of content, short and easy to format is best. My posts tend to be fairly complicated and I hope to improve on that.
4. Please remember that the Blogosphere thrives on reciprocity, Visit other sites, leave comments and share posts, whenever you can. Also, and this is a big pet peeve of mine, respond to the comments left on your blog as much as possible. Doesn’t matter if it takes a few days – it’s the courteous thing to do.
5. Have easy-to-find sharing buttons on your site. If you want your posts shared to Twitter, – here comes another pet peeve – make sure your username is included in the tweet.
Please read THIS.
6. Speaking of comments, there has been much discussion in the past (not all of it friendly) about Blogger vs WordPress and difficulties with each platform. This has improved, as more people become familiar with both.
A. WordPress blogger commenting on Blogger (Blogspot):
If you don’t already have a Google+ account, I recommend you start one and use that to comment. Make sure your blog address is listed on this account. Even better, go one step further and get yourself a Blogger account. Read how to do that HERE. I created a one page blog, listing all links and a feed to my WordPress.org blog. View it HERE. Alternatively, many Blogspot sites have an option to comment using a WordPress.com account (doesn’t work for WordPress.org) or name and URL, but it’s always easiest with Google.
B. Blogspot blogger commenting on WordPress:
There are several different commenting systems available. Some people use Disqus, Livefyre or Intense Debate, but these require you to open an account, so they aren’t as popular. Mostly, you will encounter either the default system or the Jetpack system. With the former, you use name, email (not shown) and URL (optional). Some of us with self-hosted websites (WordPress.org) have anti-spam measures in place that occasionally get a little overzealous. You have to write a certain number of words and spend a specified amount of time on your comment. I have relaxed those standards and also allow for one link (many have a “no links” policy), but it’s not necessary. Your URL brings us to your website anyway. In addition, the”CommentLuv” feature (which I and many others have) allows you to choose from several post URLs and creates “DoFollow” links. (Not available on WordPress.com.) Commenting using the Jetpack system is easy, because it allows you to use either a WordPress.com (but not .org), Twitter, Facebook or Google account. Alternatively it’s not a bad idea to get yourself a WordPress.com account, like I did with Blogger, and make a one page post with all of your links.
Thanks to Arlee Bird, for starting this wonderful blogging network in 2010.
Look how much it’s grown since then. Onwards and upwards!
Do you have more suggestions to makes this year’s A to Z Challenge a smooth ride?
Looking forward to your comments!