Reflections From My First A to Z Challenge

 I did it! I survived my first A to Z Challenge for April 2016. I’ll admit I had second thoughts.

April is, traditionally, a very busy time of year for me. My youngest daughter’s birthday is the third week of April. Each year I travel to Washington DC to celebrate with her. Other life issues came up this April, as well, but I bit the bullet and said, “You can do it.”

I learned a lot of things and met some great people, but a few things stood out for me. Here are my reflections.

My Top 10 Reflections on the Challenge:

  1. Preparation is the key to success. The minute I committed to the challenge, I began planning my topics.
  2. Themes varied widely among participants, but everyone I was able to visit taught me something.
  3. Reciprocity leads to new friends, resources, and opportunities.
  4. Reading the blogs of some many people helps you hone in on the types of blogs that support your interest (whatever that may be).
  5. There are as many styles of writing as they are voices and new ideas abound – if you’re willing to explore.
  6. Expectations and deadlines are the perfect incentives to write.
  7. Writing on a daily basis improves your organization, planning, and skill.
  8. You can’t form a habit overnight but writing for 26 days straight will take you to the half way mark of establishing a solid writing habit. Read more about creating new habits here.

According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes, on average, 2 months for a new behavior to become a habit – 66 days to be exact. Tweet This.

 9. Blogging, reading, visiting, responding, and sharing is time-consuming and may limit the time you have available for other works in progress (WIP).
10. Balance is the key. Setting priorities, making a schedule and sticking to it, is a must.

The 2016 A to Z Challenge has been an extraordinary experience for me. Thank you to Arlee Bird for creating this adventure, the hosts, co-hosts and teams who made this journey so enjoyable and successful. Thank you.

I’d love to hear about your experiences. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, and Contently

Your Year in Review

Annual reportDay 25: #AtoZChallenge

WordPress does a phenomenal job keeping up with our blog stats. At the end of the year, they send you an annual report: Your Year in Review.

The report includes:

  1. Posting Patterns – including your longest blogging streak and your Best Day.
  2. Posts that received the most views.
  3. Top Referring sites.
  4. The total number and name of the countries visiting.
  5. The post receiving the most comments and who commented.

To improve your outreach, it’s important to review your stats on a regular basis.

Things you can discover to improve your blog’s performance:

  1. Who’s following and how long.
  2. Where referrals are generated.
  3. The most active keywords.
  4. Who’s leaving comments?
  5. The number of clicks.
  6. The number of visitors.
  7. The most popular day and time to post.
  8. The most popular posts and pages.
  9. The post receiving the most comments.
  10. Total Shares.

Want to see what the report looks like? Click here to see the Cow Pasture 2015 annual report.

So, what about you? Do you review your stats page? Do you use the information to improve your outreach? I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, and Contently.

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