Saturday, January 09, 2016

April A-Z challenge 2016

One of my own pictures.
Last year I didn't take part in the A-Z challenge, mostly because I was too busy at the time, but this year I have decided to get to it and start writing posts ahead of time with scheduled posting dates. Trying to decide on a theme is, at the moment, my biggest stumbling block but I do know that having a theme is the route to go. When last I did participate I chose Africa as my theme and, to tell the truth, some of those posts have had the most page views out of all my posts. The trouble with trying to decide on a theme is the huge variety of subjects out there that do already fascinate me. I'm not looking for a way to increase my hit rate but rather a desire to give those who already visit my blog new and interesting insights into things that interest me. I absolutely love airplanes and then of course I love boats too, fascinating. God's word is the usual theme of my blog but I also know that God is in everything so my choices can cover any subject I choose.
Another thing that I learned from the A-Z challenge is that short posts with pictures seem to be the most enjoyed. This doesn't mean that readers aren't interested in longer posts, it just means that during April the blogosphere is abuzz with writers and readers flitting from one blog to another in a mad scramble to visit as many posts as possible. It does get very hectic indeed. I don't have photographs pertinent to everything I write about and do at times have to use other peoples pictures. I, as a photographer, do appreciate it when other writers use my pictures and then give a link to where the picture came from. This is to me common courtesy and therefore when I use someone else's pictures I do acknowledge and link to their article.
Another thing I learned was to reply to other peoples comments on my posts and go and check out their posts. I came across some very interesting posts, writers I then followed. Not everyone I followed, at that stage, kept my interest, sometimes I lost interest later or their posts became too sporadic to keep on following. The same thing happened to me. After the challenge some people never came back or never commented or just disappeared. This time I know this ahead of time so am prepared for it, I won't be disappointed. Of course there are some of those who found my blog through the challenge who come back often and make a point of commenting, they are my favorite followers and I visit them whenever I get a chance.
With regards to scheduling, this took some time to work out how to get it to work. There was a chap in the UK who helped me get it working. I can't remember who it was but I do know help is out there and people all over the world are willing and able to help out where necessary. I have a new computer now so will probably have to go through the whole process all over again but that's okay.
Do recommend taking part in the A-Z challenge? Absolutely. It will increase your following a lot, it will increase your hit rate, it will increase the number of comments on your posts but most of all it is a absolutely fun and worthwhile thing to do.
For now, as the signup list is not yet active, I would suggest you choose a theme, see if you can write a few posts ahead of time and get the scheduling thing working. That's what I'm going to do.
To everyone on the A-Z challenge team I would like to say thanks and I admire all of you immensely.
Blessings to everyone who takes part whether they are writers, readers or just visitors, Geoff.

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