Is your blog ready for the #AtoZChallenge?
I am not even going to ask if your posts are ready for A to Z, because mine aren’t in the slightest. But there are some things which you might want to verify before the challenge starts, they can be useful for your blog even if your are not participating in any challenges soon.
Is it easy to leave a comment on your blog? Or do commenters need to sign up for a service? Are there some strange security features that will keep them from commenting?
To comment on my blog all I ask for is a name and an email address, a website is optional, but highly recommended, so that I can find you. But many blogs don’t make commenting easy. This I have realised is often the case for self-hosted blogs when they use a commenting service that commenters have to sign up to first. If you use blogger as your platform then please make sure that non-blogger bloggers can easily leave a comment, to make sure that those who are not on blogger or wordpress can leave a comment, make sure that url is an option. And check how hard your security is to get past. Last year during the A to Z Challenge I could not leave comments as sometimes the test, checking off what is beer, was not completely visible .
Another thing to pay attention to with commenting is the spam folder, during the A to Z Challenge some bloggers go on such commenting sprees that Akismet decides they are spamming, which they aren’t. So I guess it’s a good idea to approve the comments in question and to let the person know.
Does your blog have an about page? And is it easy to find?
When I started my blog, one of the first things I did was create my about page. I do change it regularly, as I am never completely satisfied, but it is there. I do think that during the A to Z Challenge, many people will decide whether or not to follow a blog on some of the previous posts and on the about page. You can find more detail on the importance of the about page here.
Is your blog easily navigable?
What I am asking with that question is: can your A to Z Posts be found easily, can one access your homepage and blogroll without too much of a problem? On my blog, the word Blog in the menu, my name and the banner at the top all lead my reader to the blog’s landing page, the last 5 posts. Do you have a search bar? Maybe someone wants to search for older content? Does it say “older posts” at the bottom of your page? I did once come across a blog where all I could find was the last post published, there was no simple way of going back in the archives. You can always add an archives, or last posts widget to your sidebar.
Last year, when I was reading on my phone I just selected the tag A to Z Challenge, which is by far easier than going through the A to Z Challenge website. This tag did enable me to come across many blogs. All of my A to Z posts this year will be in the category A to Z Challenge – April 2016, which you can easily find under A to Z in the menu, and I will tag every post with A to Z Challenge, and other tags that correspond with the post. But be careful if you put too many categories and tags onto your post it will no longer show up in the reader, I think the maximum is something like 14/15 tags and categories combined. Personally I try not to have more than 12, to stay on the safe side.
Make sure that you have a nice selection of sharing buttons on the bottom of each post. I am not on Facebook, but I am always happy to be shared on that social network. So put all possible sharing buttons there, you never know where your post might get shared. If you have a twitter account, is it linked to your blog? It should be linked in two ways, one that your new posts get shared automatically, and two that when someone shares your post on twitter, your account is automatically added in the share, for example if you share this post on twitter it will say “via @” that way the person who shares your post can easily follow you, and you can retweet it for even more exposure. If you are on wordpress you can easily access the sharing buttons under sharing when you are on my sites.
If you have a gravatar profile, then make sure that it links to your blog. If someone clicks on a like they will be lead to the gravatar profile and not to your blog! Thus it is very important to list all important info on that page. To easily check your gravatar, like a post and then click on your picture.
To edit your profile click on your image that is next to the bell on the top right of your screen or follow this link https://wordpress.com/me
This is what my gravatar looks like, on the bottom you can list as many websites as you like. Last year during the A to Z Challenge, many people did not list their blog on their gravatar. Another thing to make sure is that when you leave a comment and someone clicks your name they will land on your main blog, not on a private page or on a blog you no longer use. This can also be edited in gravatar menu under account settings, just fill in the section web address with your address.
And now, it’s time to enjoy the A to Z Challenge!
© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.