Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge Refractions

I tried throughout the challenge to come up with interesting and unique titles for my posts, so it seemed appropriate to do likewise with the post commonly known as reflections.

This was my third year doing the challenge and I participate for three reasons.

  1. To increase traffic to my website. I am an author with a low profile (almost anonymous) and therefore see the challenge as a way to introduce myself, and my work to more people.
  2. To network with other bloggers, especially writers. Each year I gain new blog buddies and I like that.
  3. To challenge myself as a writer.

I have achieved these three goals on every occasion, so for me the challenge is very worthwhile and enjoyable. However, I must confess to having an avaricious heart and I hunger for much more success. A look at the statistics is underwhelming. Especially in terms of interaction. Consider this:

Although the average number of page views per day in April was 157, which is a lot more than Square Pegs usually gets, the average number of comments per day was only 2. Also, very disappointingly, the number of additional followers of Square Pegs was zero.

I received 64 comments from 33 commentors, and of them I want to especially thank, and promote the following people.

Cold As Heaven 12 comments Cold As Heaven
Sharon Marie Himsl 8 comments Shells, Tales and Sails
Tamara Narayan 5 comments Tamara Narayan, author
Jeffrey Beesler 4 comments Jeffrey Beesler's World of the Scribe
Jeremy Hawkins 4 Hollywood Nuts

If you missed any of the action, it's not too late to check out Square Pegs, where the most viewed posts during the challenge were
Private Health Insurance Problems and Quintessentially Quirky

The most commented upon posts were:
Hooray for Harry 7
The Irrationality of Independence 6
Flies On Me 6

Wondering about the theory I tested with my Grapes and Tea posts?

The most popular blogs seem to be those about food or animals. Add a recipe or a cute animal picture, and voila! I wrote two posts about food, and they were pretty dull, I thought. I deliberately put very little effort into them, especially the one about grapes. I did this to test my theory and see if just having grapes in the title would attract more visits than something like the Irrationality of Independence. The results of the experiment did not support my theory, as neither of my two food posts attracted unusual traffic. However Cats are Cute did receive the second most page visits (121)

For the administrators of A-Z, may I suggest that there be a minimum word count and a maximum. I skipped a number of blogs I visited because the posts were too long, and I also did not bother to comment or revisit blogs who were only using pictures or videos instead of writing. Maybe separate categories. I also don't think people who miss posts, should be able do catch ups, and there were a number of bloggers who pulled out, but still had active links on the list. 

Sorry to sound like a nazi. I love the A to Z Challenge, and I just think some tweaking might improve it further. I look forward to joining with you all once more in 2016. Now it's back to normal transmissions.


  1. Hi. I enjoyed your posts....at least the ones I read! Your wry sense of humor always pulls me in :) Overall I find the a-z to be a massive reader challenge. I think a word limit would certainly help....maybe....but pure trivia wouldn't work either. Personally, I don't like putting the rest of my life on hold. The a-z really takes over for a month and I can't seem to juggle other goals. This may be my last a-z...but I sort of remember saying that last year.

  2. Congratulations on finishing the A to Z challenge and for asking an awesome "trekkie" question on my blog. I will elaborate on the answer I gave in the comments with a follow up post.

    1. Thank you Spacerguy. Live long and prosper.

  3. Very interesting about the food and animals. I also found that when you include a cool picture and add photography to the tag that gets more views as well. I'm going to follow Square Pegs ... so it's not completely a wash!

    1. Thanks for the follow Crackerberries. I appreciate it. Do you mean add the word 'photography' to the tag?

  4. I wasn't interested in blogs whose entry was simply a picture either, but I did find one that was done as a video-blog--vlog? It was really good. Doctor Faerie Godmother was the name, I believe. She talked about publishing in a down-to-earth way I could relate to. I also tended to skim ones that went on and on.

    Still, I wouldn't choose to enforce a word count. Those that ramble won't get as many comments. As a minion, I can tell you that our instructions were to report any blog that had not posted in four days. I can't remember if the blog was yanked on day 4 or 5 of no posting, but that was the grace period.

    1. Thanks Tamara. Maybe I need to get a gig as a minion in 2016 so I can express my inner police officer. ;-) Doctor Faerie Godmother? What a great handle. I'll check her out.

  5. I agree about overly long blogs! The experience was definitely enjoyable, and I'm glad to have been told about this. Your wordplay is very commendable and great for a laugh. Best wishes!

  6. I found your site and post interesting... and I feel terrible I missed so many post, I plan to make you a regular place... only if there are cookies and milk.

    We made it...Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  7. I just discovered your blog today! So hit an miss... I'm trying to get to all the 1500 blogs that participated in the Challenge. Like you, I've always been challenged and at times disappointed by lack engagement (comments)... Yet, I see other blogs getting TONS of comments. Nice to see people at least jumping on your Reflections post. Now I am going to read your other 26 articles!

    --Mee (The Chinese Quest)

    1. Two more additional comments if I may (feel free to delete this post)... Add a "Contact Us/Me" page or form. Great way to interact.

      Also, you have some small banner ads to link to "backlink" sites, etc.... the links are broken.

      Last, but not least, that might be affecting you not receiving as many comments as you hope, the CAPTCHA that you have is VERY annoying, and some people might give up trying to match the pictures. If you must use a CAPTCHA, there are easier ones out there that will work just as well.

      Hope you don't mind the feedback!

      --Mee (The Chinese Quest)

  8. Thanks Mee. Love the feedback. I thought I turned captcha off a long time ago. I hate that too. Thanks for taking the time. Really appreciate the interest. Enjoy! I'll go and check out your blog now.Thanks again.

  9. I so agree with you! Posts with just pictures are not blogs - they are photo albums. and those posts that are lengthy (with tiny font, no less!) are nothing but a snoozefest. I do like a picture or two in the posts, but it should not be all one or the other. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!

    Mary www.JingleJangleJungle.net

  10. Congrats on finishing A to Z! I'm doing the Road Trip to visit all the blogs I wasn't able to get to during the Challenge. I enjoyed your A to Z posts, particularly L, M, and O. And don't even get me started on health care insurance in the U.S. What a mess. Congrats again! Happy A to Z!