Sunday, May 3, 2015

A to Z Reflections

Today is Reflection Day. A to Z Challenge participants from around the world are getting together to share what worked, what didn't and what they would like to do better next time.

This was my first challenge, and it turned out to be more challenging than I had expected. Here are my thoughts:

GOOD STUFF
  • I discovered some incredible blogs. I purposely sought out blogs outside of my regular genre (animals) though I did find some very nice animal blogs I had never seen before. (A big shout out to QQ over at Clear Skies Pup!)
  • Blogging 26 times on one topic really helped me refocus the original purpose of my blog.
  • I loved it when people left me a link to their blog in the comments section. I made it a point to visit everybody who did that. Thank you so much for stopping by and making it easy for me to reciprocate.
  • I loved the themed posts. I found myself going back to those blogs, excited to see what they came up with next.

NOT SO GOOD STUFF
  • My work and personal life got really hectic last month so I didn't have the time to read as many blogs as I would have liked.
  • I discovered that some blog posts were just too hard to get to. There was so much clutter on the page that my cell phone couldn't handle it and my desktop took too long to load. Because of that, those blogs didn't get read.
  • Some blogs were absolutely wonderful but I couldn't find a place to leave a comment. Others had annoying hoops I had to jump through to leave a comment. My old lady eyes have a difficult time with Capcha so I rarely leave comments on those blogs. Sorry.
  • There were literally thousands of choices. If I couldn't figure out what a blog was I didn't always go there. Something vague like "My Random Thoughts" was likely to get passed over if time was tight. However, clear and clever titles always caught my attention.
  • There are many different blog hosting sites in use. I noticed that sometimes I couldn't answer comments left for me. Other times I couldn't find the blog of a person leaving a comment. I use Blogger, and apparently it's not always friends with other formats. I apologize to anyone who stopped by and may have felt slighted. I didn't mean it! I'm grateful for everybody who came by to say hi.

MY SUGGESTIONS
  • Pick a theme. Yes, it's harder to write but it is much more enjoyable for the reader. There's also an incredible sense of accomplishment afterwards! By the way, my favorite theme this year was from Like, Totally Retro. Every day there was a music video from 1985. It was short, it was fun, and it took me back to my junior year of high school. (Hey! Quit doing the math!)
  • When signing up, use the category codes. As I said earlier, I tried to go outside my regular genre. I checked out all the crafts (CR), cooking (CU) and travel (TR) blogs I could find! (And for those of you who missed it, stop by My Virtual Vineyard and check out the A to Z of mouth-watering recipes.)
  • Also, when signing up give a hint to potential readers. My link said: Life's a Bitch -- The A to Z of Dog Shows. I thought that was a lot more interesting than Kelley Dog Blog. (And I got about 100 more views than normal, so I guess it worked.)
  • Use a signature when commenting. That way people can come back and visit you as well. I wanted to visit everybody who came by to say hi. My biggest regret is that I didn't learn how to write an HTML signature until S Day.
  • Keep it short. There were some great blogs out there that I wanted to read but they were just too long. Anything that took more than 3 or 4 minutes to get through was too much. (Don't worry, those have been bookmarked for later.) One of my favorite blogs this challenge was Warped Nerdversity. Each day an unusual word was posted. It was short, it was silly and I check it everyday.
  • Be interactive and make it easy to comment. I love it when people leave prompts like "What is your favorite [blank]?" Or "What do you think about [blank]?" Or "Have you ever [blank]?" Seriously, when I'm reading 10-15 blogs at a time my brain starts to go fuzzy. I want to leave comments but sometimes I could use a little help. Thank you everyone who made it easy!
All in all, this was a great experience and I'm sure I will return next year. I will definitely take what I've learned and put it to good use. Finally, I'd like to say a big thank you to all the friends (old and new) of Kelley's Dog Blog for helping me make it through last month. See you at the dog show! -- K

P.S. Monday is Star Wars Day and Jedi has a special message for you: