#AtoZchallenge Pre-Challenge Survey Results

If you were curious, here are some results from the 2018 Pre-Challenge Blogging from A to Z Poll.

(No, taking the survey was not manditory. Yes, you can still join the challenge if you didn’t take the survey. A big thank you to everyone who did take the survey! There will be one after the challenge, as well.)

71% of survey takers feel they are proficient in using Google Forms.

Google sheets, however, 28% of survey takers might be learning for the first time.

69% requested a video or written instructions on how to use forms and sheets. That’s why we made them available for you. Our team of cohosts has been getting a lot of questions which we hoped the videos had answered. It’d be great to know what or how the instructions were unclear. So, please, if you’re asking a question that we attempted to cover in the videos, but the instructions there were not enough, please include the timestamp of the portion of the video where we “lost” you. If we don’t know what’s confusing, we can’t make it better.

Passion Led Us Here image Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

81% of you wanted categories! (Don’t worry, we created a “don’t know/ prefer not to say category for the other 19%.)

A short theme description on the Master List? 69% of you said, “Yes, please!”

Sort the list? 60% of you are looking forward to this feature.

How did survey takers feel about posting links to their blog daily?
The longer a blogger has been with us, the less they liked the idea of that being the only option. However, a majority of people from all four groups agreed that “I would use both the Master List and Daily List (including posting my own link each day).”

According to the survey, people really want the Master List.

Leaving a comment on Facebook or Twitter was ranked mostly with a “3” on the 1 to 5 scale.  Those both remain optional.

Daily commenting on the blog ranked lowest. Thoughts on the matter included disheartening statements about there being far too many comments to keep up with, especially with the scrolling and needing to go to “load more” to find the next stack of comments. Participants saw a drop in visitors. And the further away a blogger was from the UTC timezone, the more they disliked it. (They were still in A, others were already in B.)

The only way the A to Z team can compensate for our global timezones is to offer the daily letter forms in advance. However, not everyone knows how to determine what their link will be before their post is live. (There are too many variables for us to try to teach that lesson.) We are NOT going to edit the daily letter sheets because they are relevant for such a short time. Daily letter linking up is optional.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

People who use Twitter are hoping for more Twitter chats (including different days and times). The team is working on it!

Deciding which blogs to comment on last year during the challenge was, overall, a matter of random picks. Some people only commented on blogs they knew or on the blogs of people who commented on their blog first. A couple bloggers only commented on blogs similar to their own. In previous years, categories were the most popular method of deciding which blogs to comment on first. (Random numbers were second.)

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Nearly everyone has participated in another blog hop at some point. Lots of them had to do with books or writing. IWSG is very popular among the A to Z crowd. Broken links, bloggers who drop out, or hosts who gave up mid-hop were the biggest complaints about other hops. A few of you were kind enough to say that A to Z is your favorite! πŸ’— Thanks! We love you, too.

A blog hop is a way to share your blog while also visiting, or hopping, to other blogs using the links of the participants. It’s a way to network, increase engagement, and build a community.

A few mentioned that they hate it when someone links up in the hop and then doesn’t comment on any other participating links. Others mentioned feeling too much pressure to comment on all the blogs.

Listen up: MOST people do not manage to visit EVERY blog in the A to Z challenge in April. There were 1,344 blogs in 2016. And 1,509 in 2015. BUT, if everyone makes an effort to comment on as many blogs as your schedule will allow, there are good odds that everyone will be visited. 

Non-list methods from other blog hops included daily emails with less than a dozen links, Facebook groups, or the use of pingbacks for WordPress blogs.

Some people who participated years ago asked if the random blog post picker would be back. (The one that figured out which blogs you hadn’t seen yet and suggested you see a set of randomly generated selected ones.) No, sadly, we don’t have that in the works. However, there are plenty of random number generators or dice rollers on the Internet, so you could try to fiddle around with those on your own.

One idea offered was making an e-book with our favorite posts. 

Also, people wanted more motivation to complete the challenge. Some survey takers asked if we could make all blogs more mobile friendly, get everyone to include images for Pinterest sharing, or if we could get WordPress and Blogger to play nicer together. (I appreciate the omnipotent-like power that some participants think the co-host team has over the blogosphere. Alas, we put our pants on one leg at a time.)

Probably NOT a picture of your A to Z team Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
^ Probably NOT a photo of Arlee, Zalka, John, Jayden, and J ^
(Strikingly similar though, right?)

For the people who asked, there’s a page on the site with the story of this challenge. CLICK

A handful of people would like to know how many followers each participant’s blog has currently.

People worried we’d require a theme, or require the use of Twitter and/or Facebook. We don’t. That’s optional. The nearest thing to a required theme is using the alphabet letter of the day, incorporating it some way in your post. (You could just toss in a picture of something that starts with that day’s letter and then do your blog post.)

There was the usual “debate” of some people requesting that people leave links in comments (easier to track them down and reciprocate), versus people who think links in the comment section look “spammy” and could alter Search Engine Optimization and Domain Authority. (Here’s a link to an article that discusses this issue in depth.) Here’s MY suggestion, which isn’t full proof but could help:

If that’s important to you, end your post with an open-ended question (so that people have something inspiring and original to write about in the comments); and also ask them NOT to leave a link, but rather to include their “blog name as it appears on the A to Z challenge Master List.” 

The Master List is searchable. You’d have a way to find the person who left a comment. Yes, this method will require a few more clicks, a bit more effort to reciprocate a comment. It could work though. Bonus: It requires no HTML.

HTML Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

THANK YOU to everyone who used the comments on the survey to thank the co-host team. πŸ˜πŸ’–

Congratulations to Cheryl “Calensariel”
https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/blogging-from-a-to-z-april-challenge/
Winner of the pre-challenge survey giveaway.

Wow, this has been a long post. Here’s a link to a POTATO recipe I found on the blog of one of our participants: Simple Potato Fry

Don’t forget that there will be another survey in May, after the challenge is over.

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Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge #ThemeReveal

theme reveal #atozchallenge 2018 blogging

Welcome to the 2018 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal! While the Theme Reveal is optional, we highly recommend using this opportunity to share with everyone your plans for April!

Click here for a reminder on what the A to Z Challenge Means by THEME

When you fill out the form, you should select the

category of your Theme,

which may or may not be the category of your blog or other posts.

Each posting day in April, you will see a post that looks something like this one. Scroll down to find the links you’ll want to use! The first one is to the form where you can fill out the direct link of your Theme Reveal Post. In future posts, that’s where you’ll find the link for the form for each letter.

The second link takes you to the spreadsheet of participants who have filled out the form. This will only include participants who have completed this particular post’s form. (This is a great option for those who have been frustrated by having links on the list that are no longer active.)

The last link is the Master List of all participants. While the Master List spreadsheet may include some links to participants who drop out, it is still the best way to ensure you see every participant’s blog. 

#AtoZchallenge 2018 friendly new badge logo

To include a direct link to your blog post with your theme reveal, please click:
Here

This form will close at midnight UTC on 3/26. 

To visit other blogs in this bloghop challenge who have done a Theme Reveal, please click:
Here

#AtoZchallenge 2018 traditional badge logo

Click here for the MASTER LIST of all participants who signed up so far!

Sign ups for the Theme Reveal will close on: March 26 2018

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Categories #AtoZChallenge

On MONDAY you’ll be able to sign up for the A to Z Challenge 2018.

You have your choice of the newer, friendlier logo badge, or the traditional logo badge for showing your challenge pride on your blog. (Or you can use both!)

#AtoZchallenge 2018 friendly new badge logo #AtoZchallenge 2018 traditional badge logo

The sign up form is easy to use. (It’s much the same as the pre-challenge survey.) There will also be daily letter forms, which will be OPTIONAL, that will look like the master list form (except with less information). The daily forms will produce a list for each letter that won’t have broken links or blogs of people who stopped participating. The REQUIRED Master List Sign Up Form will produce a Master List of all participants. However, that list will NOT be edited, so some participants may drop out, but will remain on the list. Details on how you can access this information will be coming soon!

THE MASTER LIST SIGN UP IS A REQUIREMENT.

That’s how we’ll know who is participating.

On the MASTER LIST, you indicate the category of your BLOG.

The optional Daily Letter forms will allow you to choose the category of your individual posts.
The optional Theme Reveal will let you pick the category of your theme.

So what are the categories?

Categories:

  • Animals
  • Art (reviews, creations, painting, sculpture, print, drawings)
  • Author/Writing (craft of writing, stories, memoirs, publishing, literature, poetry) — MASTER LIST
    • Author/Writing (craft of writing, publishing) —Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (fanfiction) —Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (fiction including short stories and flash fiction)–Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (literature discussion/critique)–Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (non-fiction including memoirs)–Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (poetry)–Daily/ Theme
    • Author/Writing (other)–Daily/ Theme
  • Automotive and Transportation
  • Books (reviews, recommendations)
  • Crafts (DIY, ceramics, textile, flowers, leatherwork, needlework, paperwork, jewelry, etc.)
  • Culinary (food, drink)
  • Education
  • Entertainment (reviews and critiques on performing arts: film, TV, theater, dance, music)
  • Gaming (video, RPG, tabletop, board, etc.)
  • Genealogy
  • Health
  • History
  • Home Decor/Decorating
  • Humor (jokes, comics, etc.)
  • Lifestyle and Social
  • Motivational
  • Mythology and Folklore
  • Nature/Outdoors
  • Parenting/Family
  • Personal (journal, diary, musings)
  • Photography and Videography
  • Political and News
  • Sciences
  • Spirituality and Religion
  • Sports/Fitness
  • Travel
  • Other and Miscellaneous
  • Prefer not to say/Don’t know

Did you look at the last one? That’s right! If you don’t want to reveal which category you’re using, YOU DON’T HAVE TO! “Prefer not to say/Don’t know” exists so that categories are still optional, not mandatory. We want the challenge to be FUN for everyone.

Please spread the word about the #AtoZchallenge!

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2018 Pre-Challenge Blogging from A to Z Survey #AtoZchallenge

Jayden, our new co-host, has crafted this poll to help our 2018 challenge be a huge success. It can’t happen without you.

Please take a minute to fill this out. (It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with us since 2010 or if 2018 will be your first time– we want YOUR ANSWERS!)

As a bonus, there’s a special prize pack for one lucky random winner!
Any A to Z participant who completes the survey and publically shares this post is eligible to win.
Closes March 3, 2018.

2018 Pre-Challenge Blogging from A to Z Poll #AtoZchallenge prize pack

Disney’s “Frozen” executive trio stationery set (leather journal, writing utensils, light keychain), Thor: Ragnarok coin, keychain (nail clipper, bottle opener, logo of 2018 Superbowl champions– the Philadelphia Eagles), Minion Dave sticker, “Party Rd” Pennsylvania Amish country novelty road sign, 5 postcards (Pennsylvania state images, Pennsylvania Dutch direction sign, Pennsylvania Amish horse and buggy Intercourse picture, Whoopie Pie recipe, Shoofly Pie recipe), and “Be Insta Famous” social media journal.
(Estimated value= $50 US)

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Pre-Challenge Survey Closes   —  March 3, 2018
  • A to Z Challenge Sign Up   —  March 5, 2018 
  • Theme Reveal   —  March 19, 2018
  • “A” post   —  April 1, 2018 (No fooling! 😁 )
  •  After Challenge Survey  —  May 3, 2018
  • Reflections  —  May 7, 2018
Mark your calendars. πŸ“… 
Don’t forget to SHARE THIS POST!

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Results of the A to Z Challenge 2017 Reflection Survey #AtoZChallenge

An amazing 231 of you filled out the survey. Your feedback matters to the team. Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Here are the results:

39% of the respondents filled out the survey on May 1, 2017.
put the pro in procrastination


… 7% filled it out on May 20, the last day the survey was open.

91% of the respondents earned an #AtoZChallenge 2017 SURVIVOR badge for completing the challenge.

I pre-scheduled some of my posts before April and wrote others as the month went on. That was the most popular answer by slightly more than half.
I wrote my posts on the day they posted. 27% of the respondents checked this box, making it the second most popular.
I wrote and pre-scheduled all of my posts before April. 19% of the respondents got proactive in anticipation of the challenge!
Two people had an epic fail, and two people commented on challenge blogs but did not create blog posts for A to Z.

Of the wonderful survey takers:

45 were first timers to the challenge.
71 were doing the challenge for the second time.
113 have three or more survivor badges!
2 have been at this since 2010.

so proud

I left comments on several blogs of other participants every day. (Over 100 comments in April.) 41%

I made some effort. (51 to 100 comments left for others in April.) 21%

I tried or planned to, but I was not a very active comment maker. (26 to 50 comments left for others in April.) 19%

Only 7 people said No, I did not leave comments for any of the A to Z participants on their blogs.

so proudYes! I had over 100 comments on my blog in April, and I believe the A to Z challenge is to thank for that. 71 respondents made my heart swell when I read that answer.

Yes. I received 51 to 100 comments on my blog in April, and I suspect it’s thanks to the A to Z challenge. 64 of you also had a lot of love.

Yes. I had 26 to 50 comments on my A to Z posts. 54 of the respondents got at least one or two comments a day.
Unfortunatly:
Somewhat. I had one comment on some posts, but no comments on others. Under 26 comments in April. That was the answer for 37 people.

And this answer is heart-breaking:
No. No one left me any comments at all. I had someone test my comment box, I’ve checked spam, etc. Nothing. The answer of 3 people.

  • Of those, two posted on Twitter and Facebook.
  • All three said they did NOT visit or comment on other blogs.



On to what you’ve been dying to know!

2017 went without a linky list.

Honestly, I don’t care. List or no list, I love this challenge. I’ll just roll with whatever the co-hosts pick. 45%

I was happy about it before, and I’m still happy about it now! 20%
I was leery, but I’ve been won over. Commenting with my daily link RULES! Woot woot! 9%

I was happy about it before, but now I miss the old way. 17%
I was against it and, dag nabbit, I was right, because it was terrible. 15%

This is my first year, so I have no basis of comparison. 18%

It’s a dead heat when it comes to social media!
I have the hashtag on all of my blog post titles, and I cross-posted to Twitter. 38%
I pasted my link on the A to Z Facebook group. 39%

15 people do NOT want to spend 5 minutes a day to promote their own blog.

65 people were perhaps reached by Arlee’s post, as they checked off: I thought about my blog in terms of marketing.

91% had a theme!

32% ended posts with simple, open-ended questions.
48% of the respondents MASTERED HYPERLINKING.
(Only 10 people said they’ve given up on trying to learn it.)
69% of people followed blogs they found because of the #AtoZChallenge!

I am proud of what I accomplished during the challenge.
81%!

41% said they shared the post of others!

69% followed blogs they found because of the A to Z Challenge!

Only 3% say they feel like they failed.


27% follow A to Z participants on Twitter.
13% like or friend fellow A to Z people on Facebook.
Goodreads only drew the attention of 3 survey respondents.
Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+, and other social media of participants were followed by 13% of respondents.

28% of the respondents
formed friendships because
of the A to Z challenge.

And 53% of you feel a
sense of community
created by the challenge!

69% learned something from a post in the A to Z Challenge.
66% achieved a goal they set for themselves.

83% reply to comments left on their blog.

9 people said they bought something that exists because of the challenge. (A to Z books, pics, crafts, etc.)

And, as a result of participating in the challenge, 13 people created something that is now for sale.

13 respondents tried a food, a drink, or a recipe I found during the challenge.

32 people added something to their Wishlist or TBR list.



Only 4% of the respondents reached out to Arlee, Alex, Jeremy, Heather, Zalka, John, or J (me) for help.

33% reported interaction with a co-host.




attention image
There were 33 people who said they want to be more involved next year.

(None of which used the comment box to leave contact information.)



33% also said they read the posts on this blog during the other 11 months of the year.

And 27 people have an idea for a blog post to be used on this blog over the next 10 months.

(The only idea left in the comment box was: I’d love to see a blog post about how to make your Letter-of-the-Day comment more interesting.)

(I’m not sure if this helps, but here’s some commenting information.)



100 people said the co-hosts did an amazing job.

thank you



18% miss the Twitter chats.

Only 2% played #AtoZBingo.



16% discovered other blog hops, read-a-thons, flash fiction prompts, or ways to connect with fellow bloggers.

79 people checked I discovered a place I want to travel to or learned something new about a place.

A post improved my health or connected me to people of health similar to my own. That answer was marked by 6% of you.

40% of the respondents learned a new word!



Timezone of the Challenge result image



185 people thought the new timezone was fine, or they really don’t care.


Age 50 to 70 makes up 46%, age 30 to 49 is 44%.

No one who took the survey reported being under age 18.

Only 5 people said they are over 70 years old.


Age of the ten people who have given up on learning hyperlinking:

1 18-29 year old

2 30 to 49 year olds

6 aged 50 to 70

1 (of the five people) over 70



66% are PC users. 21% use Apple/ Mac. 4% are using another operating system.

Android is on the rise with 13% saying it was what they primarily used when visiting during the challenge. Ipads and Iphones were used by 10%.

29% used an equal mix of computers and mobile devices to visit other blogs during the challenge.


Blogging platforms of #atozchallenge users Blogger 46% WordPress 52% Other 4%



Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform, followed closely by Blogger.



53% made the A to Z Challenge a priority in their life.




Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey, and thank you for reading these results.

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Results of the A to Z Challenge 2017 Reflection Survey #AtoZChallenge

An amazing 231 of you filled out the survey. Your feedback matters to the team. Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Here are the results:

39% of the respondents filled out the survey on May 1, 2017.
put the pro in procrastination


… 7% filled it out on May 20, the last day the survey was open.

91% of the respondents earned an #AtoZChallenge 2017 SURVIVOR badge for completing the challenge.

I pre-scheduled some of my posts before April and wrote others as the month went on. That was the most popular answer by slightly more than half.
I wrote my posts on the day they posted. 27% of the respondents checked this box, making it the second most popular.
I wrote and pre-scheduled all of my posts before April. 19% of the respondents got proactive in anticipation of the challenge!
Two people had an epic fail, and two people commented on challenge blogs but did not create blog posts for A to Z.

Of the wonderful survey takers:

45 were first timers to the challenge.
71 were doing the challenge for the second time.
113 have three or more survivor badges!
2 have been at this since 2010.

so proud

I left comments on several blogs of other participants every day. (Over 100 comments in April.) 41%

I made some effort. (51 to 100 comments left for others in April.) 21%

I tried or planned to, but I was not a very active comment maker. (26 to 50 comments left for others in April.) 19%

Only 7 people said No, I did not leave comments for any of the A to Z participants on their blogs.

so proudYes! I had over 100 comments on my blog in April, and I believe the A to Z challenge is to thank for that. 71 respondents made my heart swell when I read that answer.

Yes. I received 51 to 100 comments on my blog in April, and I suspect it’s thanks to the A to Z challenge. 64 of you also had a lot of love.

Yes. I had 26 to 50 comments on my A to Z posts. 54 of the respondents got at least one or two comments a day.
Unfortunatly:
Somewhat. I had one comment on some posts, but no comments on others. Under 26 comments in April. That was the answer for 37 people.

And this answer is heart-breaking:
No. No one left me any comments at all. I had someone test my comment box, I’ve checked spam, etc. Nothing. The answer of 3 people.

  • Of those, two posted on Twitter and Facebook.
  • All three said they did NOT visit or comment on other blogs.



On to what you’ve been dying to know!

2017 went without a linky list.

Honestly, I don’t care. List or no list, I love this challenge. I’ll just roll with whatever the co-hosts pick. 45%

I was happy about it before, and I’m still happy about it now! 20%
I was leery, but I’ve been won over. Commenting with my daily link RULES! Woot woot! 9%

I was happy about it before, but now I miss the old way. 17%
I was against it and, dag nabbit, I was right, because it was terrible. 15%

This is my first year, so I have no basis of comparison. 18%

It’s a dead heat when it comes to social media!
I have the hashtag on all of my blog post titles, and I cross-posted to Twitter. 38%
I pasted my link on the A to Z Facebook group. 39%

15 people do NOT want to spend 5 minutes a day to promote their own blog.

65 people were perhaps reached by Arlee’s post, as they checked off: I thought about my blog in terms of marketing.

91% had a theme!

32% ended posts with simple, open-ended questions.
48% of the respondents MASTERED HYPERLINKING.
(Only 10 people said they’ve given up on trying to learn it.)
69% of people followed blogs they found because of the #AtoZChallenge!

I am proud of what I accomplished during the challenge.
81%!

41% said they shared the post of others!

69% followed blogs they found because of the A to Z Challenge!

Only 3% say they feel like they failed.


27% follow A to Z participants on Twitter.
13% like or friend fellow A to Z people on Facebook.
Goodreads only drew the attention of 3 survey respondents.
Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+, and other social media of participants were followed by 13% of respondents.

28% of the respondents
formed friendships because
of the A to Z challenge.

And 53% of you feel a
sense of community
created by the challenge!

69% learned something from a post in the A to Z Challenge.
66% achieved a goal they set for themselves.

83% reply to comments left on their blog.

9 people said they bought something that exists because of the challenge. (A to Z books, pics, crafts, etc.)

And, as a result of participating in the challenge, 13 people created something that is now for sale.

13 respondents tried a food, a drink, or a recipe I found during the challenge.

32 people added something to their Wishlist or TBR list.



Only 4% of the respondents reached out to Arlee, Alex, Jeremy, Heather, Zalka, John, or J (me) for help.

33% reported interaction with a co-host.




attention image
There were 33 people who said they want to be more involved next year.

(None of which used the comment box to leave contact information.)



33% also said they read the posts on this blog during the other 11 months of the year.

And 27 people have an idea for a blog post to be used on this blog over the next 10 months.

(The only idea left in the comment box was: I’d love to see a blog post about how to make your Letter-of-the-Day comment more interesting.)

(I’m not sure if this helps, but here’s some commenting information.)



100 people said the co-hosts did an amazing job.

thank you



18% miss the Twitter chats.

Only 2% played #AtoZBingo.



16% discovered other blog hops, read-a-thons, flash fiction prompts, or ways to connect with fellow bloggers.

79 people checked I discovered a place I want to travel to or learned something new about a place.

A post improved my health or connected me to people of health similar to my own. That answer was marked by 6% of you.

40% of the respondents learned a new word!



Timezone of the Challenge result image



185 people thought the new timezone was fine, or they really don’t care.


Age 50 to 70 makes up 46%, age 30 to 49 is 44%.

No one who took the survey reported being under age 18.

Only 5 people said they are over 70 years old.


Age of the ten people who have given up on learning hyperlinking:

1 18-29 year old

2 30 to 49 year olds

6 aged 50 to 70

1 (of the five people) over 70



66% are PC users. 21% use Apple/ Mac. 4% are using another operating system.

Android is on the rise with 13% saying it was what they primarily used when visiting during the challenge. Ipads and Iphones were used by 10%.

29% used an equal mix of computers and mobile devices to visit other blogs during the challenge.


Blogging platforms of #atozchallenge users Blogger 46% WordPress 52% Other 4%



Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform, followed closely by Blogger.



53% made the A to Z Challenge a priority in their life.




Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey, and thank you for reading these results.

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