Mar 6, 2013

Is the AtoZ Challenge Worth Your Time as a Blogger?

If you've been blogging for any time at all, no doubt you've heard of the annual AtoZ Blogging Challenge that goes on every April, with the 2013 challenge starting on Monday, April 1.  The idea is to make a blog post every day (except Sunday), crafting your post on a topic that corresponds with the letter of the day.  It's a lot of work and can also be fun, but is it worth it for the amount of time and effort involved?

(Photo by juliejordanscott)
Whether it's worth it to you as a blogger to take up the challenge or not will depend on your personal goals.  The AtoZ Challenge can help you increase your readership to an extent, but people aren't likely to come back when the challenge is over unless you give them content that they find interesting.  It's ok to post a photo with a short blurb occasionally during the month-long challenge, but if that's all you do for 30 days, you aren't likely to retain the readers once April comes to a close.  If you just want to say that you completed the challenge, then it doesn't really matter what you post, I suppose.

If you're blogging to make a buck, you should be a bit more discerning in what you post each day in order to give your readers something meaningful, a reason to come back.   Get ahead of the game well before the start date by writing down the letters A-Z on a calendar, in a notebook, or a file on your computer and start thinking of topic ideas now.  You can take it even further by writing blog posts ahead of time and scheduling them to post on the appropriate day.

Remember, though, that it's unlikely you'll earn any money from people clicking ads on your blog during the challenge, as many entrants will click on the blogs just to comment in the hope that you'll follow it back to their blog.  Most won't do more than skim your post, much less click an advertisement.  If you have a compelling title and first few lines of your post that can draw your read in, it can still be beneficial in the long run.

The AtoZ Blogging Challenge is good for bloggers who need a push to publish more often as there is a certain degree of accountability in joining such a large group.  Posting frequently keeps your blog fresh in the eyes of the search engines, and the challenge may be just the push that some people need to be more consistent.  If you can make yourself blog daily throughout the challenge, you'll likely pick up good habits that can continue long after it's over.

If you already write full-time and can't squeeze in even an extra few minutes each day for something without a guaranteed return of the time invested, the challenge might not be for you.

I did my first challenge with four blogs, this one included.  It was fun, and while very challenging, I did make it through the entire month on all four of them.  Will I do it again?  No, not with four blogs.  I have a hard enough time keeping up with the paid writing that I need to do without throwing in more distractions throughout my day.  I've decided that I will do it this year with just my newest blog --- Gettin' Fit in My Fifties, because it's a blog that is important to me personally, and I think I'll have some things worth sharing.

Whatever you decide about the A-Z Challenge --- happy writing!

~ Marie Anne



4 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear you will be doing the A-Z Challenge again this year. I enjoyed reading your posts. I signed up this year as well...this time with 2 blogs. I finished last year and I feel like I learned a lot and grew as a writer. My main goal is to force myself to simply write and find something meaningful to share, even when I'm not in the mood. It's good practice for all my paid writing.

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  2. I don't think I'll be doing it this year, but may change my mind. You're right that it's not about making money, but making better habits. Great post.

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  3. Great, honest review of the Challenge! For me it was a great way to get more followers, boost the amount of content on my blog and eventually increase my ad revenue. ~Angela

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