Thursday, 24 March 2011

A - Z Blogging Challenge - Handy hints for those of us who "get by with a little help from our friends..,"

This is not called a Challenge for nothing. It's going to be quite an ask to post every day except Sunday, so we do need 'a little help from our friends...' April 1 (they don't call it April Fools Day for nothing!) is nearly upon us - over 500 mad bloggers who will be posting feverishly daily! (Is that two adverbs?  Swoon!)

I saw a wonderful post at The Words Crafter recently and I so wished I'd written it to share with my followers. Next best thing, I asked the Crafter if I could use it and being 'Her Loveliness,' she said (double quotes to keep N R Williams happy) "go for it you lazy laid-back good-for-nothing Australian, help yourself." I was quite shocked as being a teacher she should understand that we teachers don't believe in re-inventing the wheel, lol, so I've ignored her harsh judgemental culturally-specific words and used some of her Crafty Crafter's post with a little input of my own just to keep from fully plagarising. (Ooh, I hope you don't believe any of my Tall Story - some days I'm full of Irish blarney!)

Over to The Words Crafter (if she still speaks after the above):

Several bloggers have posted tips on how to make the A to Z challenge more efficient.
Some of those tips are: 
  • disable word verification
  • use a pop up window for comments
  • keep posts short
  • preschedule posts as much as possible
  • begin going through the list of participants now to see how many bloggers you can realistically visit in one day
And I'm sure there are many, many more that I've missed.

Ahem, over to L'Aussie:

WORD VERIFICATION: Myself, I turned off word verification a long time ago. It slows down comments in a seriously bad way. I've never had spam. Plenty of us don't use it. It makes it so much quicker to get in and out.
POP UP COMMENT BOX: If at all possible change to pop up rather than have comments after your post. Once again, it allows several pop up boxes to be opened at once. I find myself zipping from link to link. Wonderful. Now scrolling down to comment No 67, then finding your way home I hate.
SHORT POSTS: Well I'm sorry, I find this hard, but for the challenge I'm aiming to slash my words to little chunks. My posts are on my travel blog as indicated in my right sidebar so each will be on a country or travel-related. I hope to see you there, well, on my blog and in my travels.
PRE-SCHEDULED POSTS: This is a great idea. I've done my first week of posts and some (like Alex J Cavanaugh) say they've done them all! Awesome! Bit showoffy.
VISITING OTHER BLOGS: I'll be zipping between A - Z posts every morning for an hour or so. I'll be bookmarking some and randomly hit others. There is a list available on the blogs of judges such as Alex J Cavanaugh, Arlee Bird, Jeffrey Beesler et al. I have a time-zone advantage or disadvantage. When does April 1 start? In USA? UK? Australia? NZ?
Sounds like a lot of work, or is it fun?

Back to The Words Crafter:

A couple things The Words Crafter/asked of her followers. I'm posting it in full. Some of it is not relevant to me but it may help you.
Let me know if my page is easier to comment on/load. Really! (I echo this too! Really!) 
  1. Go to settings and enable mobile viewing. I can visit at least 3 or 4 blogs on my Blackberry during my lunch break (it takes a bit to load, my phone is old). However, some blogs I try to visit won't let me comment....I'm not sure why.....? If you know the answer to this, please let me know.
  2. You may also want to see who you're allowing to comment. Mine is Registered Users. If there is a better solution, let me know. Do any of you allow anonymous users to comment?
  3. If you would like to use your cell phone and have a limited plan, such as 2 G's per month or so, William turned me on to this: This will load a blog (or any website)....without the pictures! All you have to do is put in the address you wish to visit. Just be sure to click Hide Images. This should greatly cut down on your monthly allowance usage while also allowing you to visit a few blogs on your phone. Having no pictures to load greatly speeds up the loading process, too.
  4. If you do decide to use your phone and for some reason, you aren't allowed to comment, don't forget email. If the link is available, use it to leave your response/comment. ****Bloggers: Make sure your email address is available!!!****
Well, there you have it. A couple simple suggestions and a couple questions. Let me know if this works for you, feedback is always welcome here!

Now, I'm off to schedule a few more posts and this evening, I want to begin going through that giant list :)


Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Yep, your blog loads fine at the moment (but I have a fast connection). I'm not sure if I have mobile devices enabled or not. I think they are. lol. Also, I plan to write mega short posts and I'm up to V so I don't have many to go.(but they are in the rough draft and I still need to find pics to match).

Oh, and I had comments open to annonymous but I got a lot of spam (admittedly they all got caught in the spam filter but I got sick of checking and deleting everyday).

Unknown said...

I truly want to try this, but I'm afraid of getting snowed under at some point! I think having a game plan is definitely the way to go.


Dawn Embers said...

oh my...

I didn't even think about going to other people's blogs when I signed up for the challenge. I just wanted to try and get more posts on my blog about writing because my other blog is a year younger and has just as many posts it seems. I'll try to go to some but with the 4 blogs, the 5 novels, and work, not sure how I'll do.

I never thought about turning off word verification. I've just used it. hmmm Not sure if I'll turn it off or not but I can always turn it back on if spam happens, so I guess I could try it.

Thanks for the post on this topic. ;-)

Summer Ross said...

Awesome advice! thanks for posting.

Denise Covey said...

Lynda: I know at least one person who can't load my blog but I don't know how often she tried. I often have to try 2 - 3 times to open some blogs.

E J: I know. But it's only for a month and you get Sundays off.

Dawn: They suggest you visit 10 -15 other blogs a day, working down the list so you visit everyone during the time. We're all going to have to be quick which is why I wrote this post (or stole it.)

Summer: thanks.

Alleged Author said...

The only thing I ran into when anonymous users could comment was a few "bots" put sales ads in the comment section! No, I do NOT want to buy Viagra!

Michael Di Gesu said...

I never have a problem loading your blog.

Thanks for the tips. I took care of most of that ages ago when Alex posted his dislikes.

We still have over a week to prepare for he inevitable. I understand it's over 500.

The Words Crafter said...

LOL!!!!!! I'm still laughing - and thanks; I needed it!

*disdainful sniff* yeah, that Alex....a bit showoffy. (I'm just jealous that I haven't scheduled them all!)

This is great!

Alex, if you read this, I'm just kidding! About the showoffy part :)

And Denise, I'm touched that you stole, er, reprinted my stuff *waving hands in front of face, all teary-eyed* You like me! You really like me!

Can't wait to travel with you :)

Anonymous said...

On my blog I have all these "good" things. I also allow anonymous. Never had any trouble with this. If there's one I don't like, I'll trash it, but hasn't happened yet.

Oh, I hope I can keep up with the A-Z. All of a sudden, it's everything. I just got my galleys yesterday on my memoir--the final stretch. Line by line. I'm only on p. 12 out of 104. Yikes! BUT, my cover is here. Come over when you get a minute and see it. It's on my post for today. I'm excited! And Stephen Tremp wants me to write a "brief" post for his blog for Monday. He saw what you did for me, but he wants shorter. That's fine with me, under the circumstances!! Am I getting too old to keep up the pace? I hope not!

Your tips for the A to Z are tips I wish EVERYONE would heed. I hate word verification. And pop up windows are best. Like you and others, I'll try to get to as many bloggers in a day as I can.


Denise Covey said...

Alleged: Well those bots must think they're helping out lol.

Michael: Well I'm amazed at how many people still used word verification. Man, it's awful.

Words Crafter: Well I now know that at least one American gets my humour. No one else has been game to comment on it in case it was true I guess. Geez, I'm sick of holding back. I need a good laugh! Cackle cackle cackle...Thanks heaps dearie!!!

ann: I'm on my way!

J.L. Campbell said...

Helpful post. Haven't got around to activating the comment box thingie yet. Also need to start visiting a few more blogs. So much to do. So little time. :D

Trisha said...

I turned off word verification the other day too - I thought I already had it turned off, but apparently not ;)

Denise Covey said...

JL: I hear you.

Trisha: Glad one more's gone from the people I love to visit.

Mason Canyon said...

Great tips even for those not participating in the Challenge. I didn't know about the mobile viewing. I'll have to check on that. BTW, I like your clocks.

Thoughts in Progress

Denise Covey said...

Mason: Gotta have me my clocks as it's too confsing otherwisw!

Jai Joshi said...

I'm not doing the a-z challenge but I wish luck to whoever is doing it. I'll switch my comments to a pop up window too to make life easier for you guys.


Denise Covey said...

Jai: That's great. Be seeing you.

Nas said...

Great tips. All the best in your A to Z challenge.

The Happy Whisk said...

Like, JaiJoshi, I'm not doing the A to Z either and I know this isn't a popular thing to say, but I like word verification, along with comments at the end of my blog.

At any rate, good luck and fun wishes to those of your playing the A to Z. Enjoy and Happy Blogging.

Denise Covey said...

Nas: Thank you.

The Happy Whisk: 'Tis fine if that's what you like. I'm all for speed.

Arlee Bird said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Appreciate these continued reminders that will be so helpful in April. If we keep at it, maybe everyone will hear and take heed.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Denise Covey said...

Arlee: No worries mate.

alberta ross said...

haven't started writing them yet - still finishing of other things I'm doing but aware of clock ticking by - at least I know in theory what I'll blog about - I hadn't realsised just how many other folk would be joining in - can't think how to get around them all!!! and who's first UK. US or Aussie?

Francine Howarth said...


Sounds like panic station is order of the day: OMG April looming.

Moi will be doing off the cuff posts but on a theme! I can't be doing with all this pre-planning sh*t some have taken upon themselves. Hell, it's supposed to be a challenge! ;)


Ellen Brickley said...

Great tips, Denise, thanks. . . I'm already wondering what I signed up for!

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm not doing the challenge, but I think I'm in compliance with all these 'guidelines'. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I got tired reading all the hints. Is that bad?! ;-) Yes, I have a lot to do before April 1. Thanks for all the tips!!

Lydia Kang said...

Again, thank you for not doing word verification. When I have to visit 50 blogs in a day, it gets quite tedious.

Good luck on the A-z challenge!

KatheeJantzi said...

Great tips on the A to Z - I found you from the hashtag on Twitter (great idea!) - Good luck to everybody!

N. R. Williams said...

I already have some post scheduled. You can quote me on that. I decided to do some fun YouTube videos part of the time. Mainly because I thought it would be fun not to have to read every single post. I guess mobile viewing won't work for that but I'm still doing it on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I have lots of blogger friends who like my writing exercises which normally are posted on Wednesday and Thursday. So, there you have it.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Joanna St. James said...

i find spam selling faucets to my wonderful friends hilarious. That aside those are amazing tips, esp the one about google.
Good luck with this A-Z thing.

Jay Noel said...

I think Blogger has improved its defense against spam bots. Just a few years ago, it was terrible.

I would get at least a dozen spam comments without using the word verification.

But it seems the NEW word verification on Blogger is VERY slow.

Jay Noel said...

I think Blogger has improved its defense against spam bots. Just a few years ago, it was terrible.

I would get at least a dozen spam comments without using the word verification.

But it seems the NEW word verification on Blogger is VERY slow.

Denise Covey said...

Sounds like we're all raring to get but not all ready. Yep, it's supposed to be a challenge so why are we pre scheduling? Hmm.

Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for the tips!

Your page is loading fine on my computer; it used to jump around a bit, but it's not doing that anymore.

I'm scheduling posts, too. I can see the challenge in writing posts manually every day . . . but I want to just be able to sit back, reply to comments, and comment on people's blogs during April. And with those 500+ people . . . ack. :P

Denise Covey said...

Hey Golden, it's now 600!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for these tips! I'm off to change a few settings on my blog... :-)

Ellie Garratt said...

Lots of brilliant suggestions - thank you all!

Seven days until A to Z!

Denise Covey said...

Rachel: Only makes it easier!

Ellie: Not long.

Southpaw said...

I don’t allow anonymous comments. To me that promotes spam and people saying mean things not only to the blogger but to other commenters. If they want to keep it private, they can email me, right?

Bloggers spam monitoring works pretty darn good and it gets better and better with feedback. It learns when you get a comment and mark it as spam. That is much, much better than making your loyal followers have to go though WV.

rallentanda said...

A a question about word verification. Who actually writes them ? Most of them are very rude,which doesn't actually bother me. I'm just curious as to how these words are constructed and by whom.

Unknown said...

Great post! I heard we're up to 900 participants now! :) - blog my A to Z is housed