Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Go sign up for the AtoZChallenge 2016 - #TipsTuesdays 20

So the AtoZChallenge has opened for signups for this year and I cannot encourage you more to sign up if you are a blogger. There are already 329 blogs signed up as of this morning and there will be many, many more by April, which is when the challenge runs.

What, I hear you ask, is the AtoZChallenge?
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It is very simple, during April you post one post a day (apart from Sundays) using a letter of the alphabet as your starting point, so 1st is A, 2nd is B etc.

This post is my set of tips for a less stressful AtoZChallenge, but they might not work for everyone, so be prepared to go your own way too, That's what's so great about the AtoZ - the diversity :).

Which brings me to Tip #1: Have a theme.

You can blog randomly by letter if you want to, I did my first year, but it works so much better if you have a theme. There are several advantages:
  • You can join in the theme reveal blogfest too, signups are from Feb 22nd and the actual fest is on 21st March. This will get people interested in visiting you blog.
  • A good theme can stick in people's minds and keep them coming back for more.
  • It actually makes it easier to come up with ideas for each day.
Tip #2: Prepare in advance

I cannot stress how much this will make your life easier. I always try to have all my posts scheduled before April even begins.
  • Firstly this will stop the mad panic each day of trying to figure out what to write.
  • It will prevent you accidentally missing a day because offline life jumps up to bite you.
  • It will give you more time to visit other blogs in the hop.
Tip #3: Don't make your posts too long

I know for a lot of us it seems that more is better, but not in this case. Because the AtoZ is so big people don't have huge amounts of time to spend on every blog. Hence:
  • Grab your audience in the first paragraph (this is good advice anyway :)).
  • Don't have huge numbers of words - unless it's utterly gripping people won't read it all anyway.
  • Throw in some images if you can.
  • Use short paragraphs and bullet points to catch the eye when appropriate.
In other words, make your posts eyecatching and easy to read quickly.

Tip #4: During the AtoZ visit lots of Blogs and Comment

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This will be my fourth year doing the AtoZ and every year I meet so many lovely people. And not just for the duration of the blog hop either - some become year long blogging friends. I find the best way to keep up is to stay organised. Now I am going to list what I do and you'll probably think it's mental, but it saves me a hell of a lot of time :).
  • Day 1 I create a spreadsheet by copying the signup list and turning it into a list of blog names in Excel down the page with blog list numbers (these numbers can occasionally change thanks to blogs being removed by mods, but gives an idea of where in the list the blogs are from) and the days of the fest across the top.
  • As I visit a blog (it is good practice to start from your own blog and work down the list if you are not near the top) I add in the URL to another col (for ease of revisiting) and then mark off that I visited in the col for the day.
  • If they visit back I also mark that in the day col too (I use v for visited and cb for comment back :)).
  • I also have a col for ranking the blog from 1-5, 1 being I must visit this blog every day to 5 being, nice blog, but not for me.
  • Then every day I resort the spreadsheet using the rankings so I have the must revisits and so forth at the top.
  • The first day I try to visit as many blogs as I can and every day after that I try to visit at least 10 new blogs as well as the ones I have been to before that I need to revisit.
I have to admit sometimes the difference between a 1 and a 3 is simply a comment back because there are so many wonderful blogs to read in this fest, I am not kidding. It's easy to lose days!

The AtoZChallenge is a lot of work and I suggest you read their FAQ as well, but it is so worth it. You'll make new friends, your blog following will grow and you'll have a great time. If you don't believe me go read this post about Six Benefits of the A to Z Challenge.


  1. I'm all signed up and I know my theme. Same as last year. It's just a matter of writing the posts.

    1. Awesome :) Soph and I are doing all four of our blogs again, and we only have left to decide the theme for one of them.


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