It’s really hard to believe that another A2Z Challenge has come and gone. I told myself that this year, I would stay on top of things and for the most part, I did. I completed the challenge with not one blog, but two. This was only possible by writing and scheduling posts for one of the blogs ahead of time. What I still found incredibly difficult with this challenge was visiting others’ blogs during the challenge. The volume of participants is enormous. It creates a huge amount of pressure and anxiety, at least it does in me. It is probably the one aspect of the challenge that makes me question whether or not to participate each year.
I must say though that the quality of posts this year has been amazing. I’ve only read a small fraction of the participating blogs, but those I have read so far have blown me away. There are so many gifted bloggers out there and the A2Z brings out the best in them all.
I also learned a few interesting things that I would love to share:
- Feedly became an invaluable tool for me. I added nearly every blog that participated in the challenge to it. Hopefully this will enable me to go back after the challenge and read A2Zs without needing to check the sign-up list every day. So if I haven’t visited you yet, please know, you are on my Feedly and I will get around to you eventually!
- Using a signature this year improved my chances of visitors to my blog. I use WordPress and Blogger is not all that friendly toward us WordPress users when it comes to allowing us to comment under our WP ids on Blogger accounts. The signature gave me the freedom to just comment and go with minimal fuss. I will admit that sometimes Blogger still frustrated me with the hoops you must jump through to prove you are not a robot. Now along with checking the little box, you have to identify pictures of things. Often the pictures are so small and unidentifiable and it became very frustrating.
- One area that I am still quite irritated with though is the lack of Archives, Calendars and even in some cases, no Categories sections on some people’s blogs. This put me off more than anything last year and it is still an issue in some cases this year. I’ve decided that when I go back to visit other blogs this year, that if none of these things are present (which would force me to scroll through months of posts to find the A2Z posts), then I will just not be reading those blogs.
- Another minor irritant is that some people have their comments section set to close comments after a certain set time period. They may not even be aware that they have this set as an option, but if they do, then it makes no sense to me. Don’t you want someone say in two months to be able to comment on your post? I know I would. Still, this is a minor thing as I rarely run across it, but when I do, it is irritating.
I am not sure I have many suggestions for the facilitators of this challenge. I think you all do an amazing job hosting this each year. I cannot even begin to imagine all of the planning it must take to put this together and have it run smoothly. I really enjoyed the tips that were posted on the A2Z blog before the challenge and all of the wonderful words of encouragement posted during the challenge. Those made a huge difference for me and really helped me have an enjoyable experience this year.
The only area that I wish there could be improvements made is the category codes. I wish they were mandatory, that if you didn’t include a code, then your blog would be deleted. It would really help to know what ALL of the blogs are categorized as. This way I could direct my attentions say on just hobby related or writing related. I don’t much care for surprises or wasting my time on things I would never have an interest in. Gosh that sounds horrid, but it is honestly how I feel. One thing I was thinking about during the challenge was I wish there were separate sign-ups for each category. I know that would probably cause a lot more work for the facilitators, but it would certainly make things easier for those of us interested in just certain topics. And I wish the categories lined up with the themes of the A2Z and not what the blog itself is all about. Some blogs are so random as to not even have a theme. And well, I guess not everyone does themes either, but those could be in a category titled random or general. The only area I would see a conflict is for blogs that post Adult Content. But I am sure there would be a way to work that out. Like using two codes instead of just one. Anyway, just a thought that I am sure will never be implemented.
Here are a few stats from my A2Z posts:
- Most viewed post: Adele (didn’t really surprise me as it was the first post)
- Least viewed post: Billy Zane (again, no surprise as it was the last)
- Most liked post: Buddha
- Least liked post: W.B. Yeats (huge surprise)
- Most commented on post: Adele
- Least commented on post: tie between John Updike and W.B. Yeats (huge surprise too)
- Most viewed post: Adam 2.0 (not that big a surprise as it was the first)
- Least viewed post: Signaled (huge surprise as I was prompting a friend’s book that day too)
- Most liked post: Byal’s Mission
- Least liked post: Signaled (again, huge surprise)
- Most commented on post: Centran Awakens
- Least commented on post: Quiescent No More (this one received ZERO comments. Huge surprise)
Well, that about wraps up my Reflections for this year. I enjoyed the challenge and I look forward to visiting more of the A2Z posts on others’ blogs now that the challenge is over. See you all again next year!