Last year my reflection focused on basic lessons I learned as a first-timer. It was too long and posted too late, because I barely survived the 2014 Challenge and it took me a month to get back into my normal routine. This year’s reflection is about things we did right here at Sourcerer, things I’ll do differently if I blog A to Z next year, and what A to Z did for our numbers in April.
I’m not doing a preview today because I am hard at it loading drafts and writing. Let’s do this instead. Part Time Monster’s latest Top Ten Tuesday has been viewed 820 times since Diana published it. Just under 600 of those views have come since Thursday and came from StumbleUpon.
Yesterday was Part Time Monster’s best day ever. Previous best day: Friday. Because of StumbleUpon. This is not the first time I’ve seen this kind of traffic from StumbleUpon. If you open an incognito window and google “Is Batman Marvel,” you will find a post from this very blog in the top five (maybe in the top three) and it’s StumbleUpon that put it there.
To whomever is periodically stumbling our posts: Thanks! I’ve seen a few referrals here and there at all three of our blogs over the past few weeks, so I know someone is doing it. I appreciate you keeping up with our blogs and sharing things you like very much. And I appreciate the shares that bring four views just as much as the ones that bring 400.
- Keep up with as many blogs as I can, make friends, and connect with them on all the networks we have in common.
- Figure out how to build an effective presence on networks other than WordPress and use those other networks to find readers for our blogs.
- Diana and I more or less have the social media divided up between us and we’re looking to build one strong account on as many networks as possible.
- In the beginning, I played around with nine or ten different networks (very time-consuming), figured out which ones were best for the sort of blogging we do, prioritized them, and started focusing on the ones that looked like the best bets.
- I spent most of last year focusing on Twitter, and our Twitter accounts have been very valuable for meeting people and building recognition in the blogosphere.
- In November I declared the Twitter good enough to serve and decided to go hard at Facebook this year.
- The Facebook is coming along nicely, and if things keep going well for us there, I’ll be ready to call it serviceable for blogging purposes by summer, check in on Fridays and Sundays, and do likes and shares from my phone the rest of the week.
Unless I see a couple of thousand hits in a very short amount of time from either Reddit or Tumblr over the next few months to change my mind, StumbleUpon has to be next. In fact, I’ve already said as much.
I’m not ready to jump back in there just yet, because April is coming. But soon. Here is why. After the Google, the WordPress reader, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s the next top source of referrals, and it’s the only one I’ve seen that brings the traffic in huge spikes.
So, as I do periodically, I am inviting anyone who has useful presence there or knows StumbleUpon tricks to chime in here. Figuring out a network through a combination of research and trial-and-error is difficult and time-consuming. I’d love it of someone who’s already figured out StumbleUpon and written about it would share their posts with me.
And I’ll add that every big traffic spike I’ve personally seen from StumbleUpon had these two things in common:
- Was likely Stumbled either to the Books or Comics tags.
- Included either one piece of can’t-miss art that displayed well when it was Stumbled, or a short, too-good-to-resist video.
Have a great week, and don’t forget about #SundayBlogShare!
The page labels on the A to Z blog have been changed to 2015. What once was the 2014 list is now a “coming soon” notice. The imminent arrival of this year’s badge was announced last week. If you know you are doing the challenge and want to get in early, which I highly recommend, you should follow the A to Z blog by email for the next week or two 😉 I follow them all year long. They post some good stuff.
If you tweet with me and you want play A to Z games on Twitter during the run-up and the challenge, let me know. I’ve got @AprilA2Z and a few friends who are already in on a Twitter list. I will be happy to add you to it. I informed Twitter of this development last night.
Just looking at the timestamps from my inbox, the A to Z blog seems to be posting between 12 am and 5 am Pacific Time, most commonly at 1 or 2, but often at 5. I don’t do well converting Pacific time eastward, for some reason. Find yourself an app and work it out. Of the last 20-odd posts I have received, a few came through at midnight Pacific, and only one posted at 7 am.
Contributors and Guest Bloggers (High Priority!):
Our working A to Z schedule is on a page at Just Gene’O. Unless someone has a last-minute problem and can’t do the posts they are listed for, we are down to three letters: N, O, and Y. I am perfectly willing to write these three posts, and to fill in if someone has to bow out later in the year. For now, these letters are open on a first-come, first served basis to current contributors until January 31.
For ties, best topic wins the day. I am giving priority through the weekend to contributors who came on board after the invitations went out and were not asked to join in because I didn’t want to ask too much of new contributors. You can say you want one of these letters on the public threads, but please do not discuss specific topics on the blog or on the Facebook timeline. That is for email or private messaging. The theme and topic reveal is an event. We don’t want the specifics to get out early because it ruins the suspense.
Ideally these posts will be 350-500 words (400 is perfection), include a single piece of creditable art, and include one link to a friend or to a post from our archives. Should be representative of our everyday content. If you write for the challenge here, linking to your own blog is acceptable and encouraged. Giving yourself incoming links from this blog is one of the perks of contributing. I will add official A to Z art as the featured image to display in the WordPress reader, and include a standard blurb that links to the A to Z blog list once the posts are in.
Those of you with access to the queue will see some draft skeletons for my posts appear in the next couple of weeks. Pay attention to the headline structure and follow it with your posts, but keep the content amongst thineselves, please. We are not interrupting our features to do this. We’ll just have an extra post every day in April.
We’re getting a collective survivor badge, and we’re making some new friends in April.
Those of you who are also in on the Feminist Friday Project:
I’m posting the first front page announcement at Just Gene’O later this week so I can have it to share all over the Internet this weekend.
Stay tuned for Melissa’s first Arrow post later today.
Things are coming together nicely.
That is all, mateys.
Crime author Rebecca Bradley has signed on to do monthly book reviews here beginning this month. I’m ecstatic that Rebecca has agreed blog here, and I don’t know exactly what she has in store for us, so you’ll just have to tune in and check it out. 😉
Our plan is to run her first review on January 19 (you might want to mark that one on your calendar 🙂 ) and on the third Monday of every month thereafter for as long as we’re all having fun.
You will find tons of good stuff about books and writing at Rebecca’s blog, like this post about the #BoutOfBooks read-a-thon, for example. She has a concise, easy style that I enjoy, and she has as almost as many Internet projects as I do.
Rebecca and I have been chatting off-and-on for awhile. When she answered the call for contributors back in October, I just couldn’t believe our good luck.