On Blog Hops and Challenges

April is shaping up to be a slightly above average month. It’s not fabulous, and it’s not dismal… just slightly above average.

I’m doing the A-to-Z challenge this month, which, all things considered, is not all that much of a challenge, since I make blogging a part of my daily routine, anyway. My theme is the letter M. No, I don’t know what I was thinking. The general idea is that each day, there’s a post with a different letter of the alphabet, and also an M. It’s not a bad idea. It keeps me from settling into the familiar, and I’m learning new things, mostly by diving into wikipedia at the last moment and searching for something—anything–that fits the theme.

I started the month with a modest spike in traffic. Several days a little bit higher than I usually get. And now, that seems to have trailed off.

The past couple of days, I’ve actually been lower than usual. That may be that my readers don’t really want to hear about basketball or physics, and it may be the fact that tracking down those subjects took me longer, so the posts weren’t out anywhere close to my usual time. I’m not sure.

I’m expecting another spike at the end of the week, when I do the StoryTime blog hop. Which, by the way, I’ve worked out a way to fit into the A-to-Z challenge. (So much easier when you get to make things up! Thank you, fiction!)

So, all in all, April will wind up being slightly above average. I’m not knocking it.

The thing is… I’m not sure to what extent it’s the challenge or the hop, itself that drives the numbers. I’m starting to think it may be the interaction, the going out and meeting people. The enthusiasm for it. The sheer convenience of having people listed in one neat, orderly place.

I wind up with good results, whenever I’m out there, starting conversations. But when I do it on my own, I’m looking for people I have a lot in common with, instead of just working down a list.

And I’m usually working on my own blogging platform, so it’s easier for people to follow me and interact than it is when I’m on somebody else’s list. (No, I don’t know whether that’s a good thing in the long run. From time to time, I’ve thought about running a mirrored site, so that one or two of the other platforms get in on it. I don’t know.)

So, I’m thinking about what my next steps should be, and honestly, I think they’re going to be more seeking out people than blog hops or blogging challenges. I know I need to get out there more often.

What do you think? How have you grown your websites and blogs?

9 thoughts on “On Blog Hops and Challenges

  1. Dianna Gunn says:

    I did the A-Z challenge last year & I got more comments but I didn’t develop any actual reader relationships this way. I HAVE already gotten subscribers through the AuthorToolboxBlogHop now being run by Raimey Gallant though. The A-Z challenge is a LOT more to keep up with and lots of people drop out halfway through, so maybe smaller challenges are better?

  2. John Holton says:

    It’s both, the interacting with other bloggers as well as the challenge. And the thing is, the interaction doesn’t have to stop when the challenge is over. I’ve learned to go through comments on other people’s blogs and visit the bloggers that left them comments.

  3. M. C. Frye says:

    I also am doing the AuthorToolBoxBlogHop. I think a bloghop or challenge that represents an area of mutual interest for the participants (and a chance to learn things that are relevant to your passions, career, etc) probably sparks more long-term traffic than one whose main purpose is to get you in front of your keyboard and producing semi-random content.

    My blog traffic is pretty tiny. It’s easy enough to drive a little traffic toward it via blogging groups on social media, but I don’t seem to find many actual blogging relationships that way. I’m still trying to figure out the common elements among the people who have become regular readers.

    Anyway, I hope your steady traffic increases continue!

    • Karen says:

      I’ll have to check it out! I’m never completely sure where I am in relationship to others, anyway, so I just assume I’m doing a good job and look for ways to do better.

  4. A.S. Akkalon says:

    I’ve never done a blog hop or challenge mainly because I never thought of it, but there are several reasons I’m cautious about them.

    First, I don’t want to radically change my posting schedule (twice a week) because I worry about inundating the inboxes of the people who follow my blog by email, or disappointing readers who expect a post a certain time and don’t get one.

    Second, it often seems hard to twist the topics into something my usual readers would appreciate.

    Okay, two reasons. 🙂

    In my experience, the best way to pick up followers is to become a regular commenter on other people’s blogs. I don’t keep it up long term if I’m not interested in their content, and I only expect people to keep visiting my blog if they enjoy my posts, but I consider commenting elsewhere as a friendly invitation to take a look at my blog and see if they enjoy what they read. It is rather time-consuming, though.

  5. Juneta says:

    It is the interaction. When I visit and return comments on a regular basis I have higher traffic overall. If I go a short time of not doing that less traffic. The day of the new post also generates a little bit higher traffic for about 2 days, but the consistent traffic is when I interact regularly.

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