Let’s go with the good news first, even if it is against my modus operandum.
- Comments: 1,147 for an increase of almost 4%
- Email Followers: 254 (up net 23) However, I deleted 25 junk followers and spammers who registered.²
- International Visitors: Additional visitors from Great Britain, Australia, Italy and Canada, with the biggest increase from Italy ~ 134 new Italian visitors. Newest country: Papua New Guinea.
Now, for the downside. (Even if I think the second one above is a mixed bag.)
- Spam: 11,846 for a 34% increase*
- Traffic: 371,079 for a decrease of just over 6%
* Spam count is only for messages which were filtered instead of being automatically deleted without notification. There were an additional 18,000 autodeleted. I hand deleted more than 1,200 questionable messages.
I knew the topic was a gamble. Some people were busy writing their own A to Z and did not make it to M3 for visits. Some people will never write a book, so the topic did not apply to them. Some people believe they know everything about publishing since they have already self-published a book; they found no point in reading my posts.
My traffic planning did not account for the complete lack of traffic from A to Z. While there were some drop in visits from A to Z, there were not nearly as many or as consistent as last year.
I visited 214 different blogs. The cross section included ancient history, comic books, erotica, writing tips, travel, reviews, poetry, food, adventure, fiction, hodgepodge, WTF, NSFW, humor, art, human resources, job hunting, music, inanity, sexual health, nutrition, sewing,… For the sake of brevity, a broad variety.
For all the places I did visit, I noticed the engagement was average visitors (mostly). IOW, the commenters were the same ones from last month. Yes, I am the investigative one who looked for other posts of interest in case I was not keen on the current topic.
More than 1,600 people clicked the A to Z Challenge and A to Z bloggers who used CommentLuv. The bloggers who doubled up their links by leaving one in the comments and attaching CommentLuv were clicked less than any other links.
It occurs to me how segregated the blogosphere really is. Those on Google do not mix with those who use WordPress software. Despite me having a Google/Blogger/Blogspot ID, the majority (around 55%) of the Google bloggers had some insanely complicated method of finding a microbial, monochromatic link to press to load a comment form popup or load another page¹ and a NSA-complex captcha system.
Now, I can appreciate how much time it takes to go through spam. (I get 10 times more spam than I do comments.) If everyone else gets as much spam as I do proportionately, they are getting about 3 per day. All of the hurdles to leave a comment is inhibiting engagement far more than it is spam.
I saw loads of WP users on blogspot, but the reciprocity is not there. I also noticed more engagement of blogspot users on WP.com blogs than on self-hosted domains. I reserve my right to cast my opinion into the sphere until a later date. Clyde (who I have missed immensely) will have a few observations about the blogosphere in general when he pops back up after our hiatus.
I broke one of the rules. Frankly, it is a blogspot rule. Bloggers were supposed to have their entire posts on the homepage. This is feasible if you have certain features inherent to blogspot, specifically the comment popup¹.
For those of us who have themes which do not support front page exposure, I will come right out and say remodeling a blog for a month for the sake of a blog hop is not trying to garner more page views, but it is a design which aids all visitors in finding the content they seek while leaving a constant link back to the A to Z Challenge.
While I have joked with my sister about my topic choice for next year, I am not certain I will participate next year. While I found a lot of interesting content to consume, The M3 Blog did not benefit from A to Z this year. Personally, I did (announcement below); however, M3 is a commercial vehicle which I use to expand my reach and promote my businesses. Corporately, it makes no sense for me to work on a month of themed posts which are not going to engage more followers.
Additionally, those who love the consistency of M3 (which is already a 7/365 blog), voiced your opinions of what you really want to see here: The variety you have come to expect of Clyde, Mantra, Mate & Quaint, the Grammar Nazi and the remainder of the M3 Players. Already, your support of May’s blog hop is far beyond what A to Z garnered.
Based on the overwhelming feedback from the M3 Krewe, the A to Z posts will be augmented with the portions which hit the editing room floor to come somewhere close to the suggested word limit for A to Z. The ebook will contain at least twenty subjects not covered in the hop, more material cut from the actual posts and some of the comments from M3 which made this a memorable trip.
Due to prior obligations, Self-Publishing from A to Z (working title) will be at RedmundPro at the end of the summer in advance of this year’s NaNoWriMo. No, it will not be 99 cents. *grins*
Thank you for sticking around this A to Z Challenge. Let me know which was your favorite post. If you cannot remember them all, check out the list.
Check out the wrap up posts of the other authors on the hop by visiting the A to Z Challenge.
¹ This seems to be a design flaw. Blog hops should increase engagement rather than inhibit it.
² I do not keep up with WordPress followers.