How it started. Last month, I read about an A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I fell for it. I love challenges! Every day for the month of April, with the exception of Sundays, I blogged on the theme, Out of Africa.
The Content: My goal for Out of Africa was to give readers a glimpse into the mysterious and beautiful continent of Africa. For example:
...You've got the picture.
I touched on random topics including
- locations, like S is for Serengeti;
- people groups, such as X is for Xhosa;
- flora as in Y is for Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow;
- fauna like L is for Lion; and
- famous sites such as Z is for Zimbabwe Ruins.
What I enjoyed:- It was exciting visiting other blogs and making contacts. The number of visitors to my blog shot through the roof, with an average of just under 300 visits per post. A number of people signed up to receive my weekly devotional post in their inbox, and several subscribed to my monthly newsletter to keep them updated.
What I wish I'd known: I thought you weren't supposed to use links in comments, so initially I didn't. Then I thought how silly this was - that at least we should be able to leave a straight-forward copy/paste link to our own A to Z blog, otherwise how would anyone find us? So I occasionally left a plain text URL, but I felt guilty each time I did it.
One day while visiting another blog (don't ask me which one!) I read a post titled, S is for Signatures. The writer not only recommended we left a single link, she gave us the simple html code so we could just change it to fit our own blog. I used that 'live' link from then on and saw an immediate increase in visitors to my site. I would strongly recommend this is made available at the start of next challenge. I'm sure there will be an increased amount of blog hopping.
Things I will avoid next time: Tackling a theme that involves many images and much research. I spent hours every day hunting for suitable (and legal) images, and checking facts. That's great for a once-off blog post, or maybe even once-a-week. But not for a daily challenge. It's way too time consuming. Oh yes, and I forgot to add the code at the end of my name to indicate my writing category. Totally my fault. The leadership made it very clear. (I soon discovered I was in good company!)
Where I'm going next: I've already started a series on Build a Better Blog, to which I will post once a week, following the letters of the alphabet. If you would like to keep informed, enter your email in the block below. (You can always unsubscribe, no questions asked.)
Vote of Thanks:
- to the leaders who got this inspired idea and ran with it.
- to those who turned out such awesome blogs. (What a variety!)
- and to all who visited my blog during the month of April - you rock!