Gift Wrap It!

atozsurvivor13The time has come for the A to Z wrap up post. The discoveries were small. Got a sec?

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.

spam graphI 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.


No Political Correctness SignIt 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 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.

Next Year

full calendar2While 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.

© Red Dwyer 2013
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  1. I didn’t think the blogosphere was segregated, but when you say it like that… and I agree, it can be so tiresome trying simply to lay a comment.

    Love your free to think sign 🙂

    You counted how many blogs you visited!! I would never have thought to do that, but am now curious!

    What a roundup, Red – enjoyed this read very much, thanks!
    Noeleen recently posted..History in the makingMy Profile

    • I keep a tally of where I have been to help me make my time in the sphere more productive. Thank you for stopping by for this one, Noeleen. I hope you got a good bit from the series.

  2. BlogSpot is a pain because it decides to be different and make more work to comment. Some blogs I’ve given up on because I hate being kicked off all the time.

    I can see why you choose to stick with what works and not with what doesn’t. However, I enjoyed every single letter of the A-Z Challenge. Sorry, how can I pick a favourite? How? They were all immensely informative.
    tess kann recently posted..How’s Yours?My Profile

    • For me, the biggest thing is the captchas. Although I am not opposed to pressing the audio button, often the voice is no clearer than the letters. Nothing makes me hate bloggers more than crafting a response which does not post when I click “publish”, but reloads the page (a huge data suck) so I can input inanity to reload the page a third time. It was poignant for me one of the rules was not attempt to generate additional page views at the expense of the hoppers.

      If, which is the operative word, M3 does A to Z next year, it will be put to a poll in advance as to our subject. When I write what The M3 Readers want, they are more likely to share in ways they did not for this challenge.

  3. I have a blogspot blog, but the blogs I visit are all on WP. I loved this A-Z Challenge you did. I learned so much, and the topics were pertinent to me as a writer. I know I would have found it fascinating even if I weren’t writing. The topics that stretch me beyond what I already know about myself and the world are usually the most valuable to me. Thank you for this challenge.
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Mantra’s Book of Shadows, Dark Poetry by Red DwyerMy Profile

    • You are very welcome. I offered this as a look into the parts which are less covered than how to upload a doc. xxx

  4. Hmmm…

    Well: How to choose?

    OK: Every ONE that was written by Red – How’s that?:)

    Opinion on the whole process?

    Very informative and well worth the read! 🙂

    God Bless!

    Prenin recently posted..Thursday – first warm shopping day.My Profile

    • Thank you, Ian. There is so much I did not cover because of length max. The book should be a great library edition.

  5. Hi Red… I’m afraid I too must wimp out on selecting fave posts… from the very start (that would be A) I knew I was going to enjoy your topic and by post 3 (C, of course) I knew I would not be disappointed. So I read them all. Even if a day or two late, I read them all.
    Even after realizing there MUST be an ebook on the horizon which I could read later, I read them all.
    And I can’t wait to see all that material from the cutting room floor!!
    IMO, you did an outstanding job of following through on your plan, kept each post engaging and pertinent and informative.
    Now you might think I’m just saying all this to be nice… but I’m not. It is 100% true!
    And I enjoyed, nay, anticipated each letter/post with renewed interest and delight, wondering how long you could keep my attention. And you really succeeded in that respect. In fact, I may go back and read some posts again, so the new stuff/info/factage remains in my brain!
    As for me, I absolutely enjoyed participating, didn’t bother with the stats and made sure to visit way more than the proscribed amount of blogs each day.
    In fact, that little exercise has allowed my brain to softly reboot, for a clearer vision on what I want to see from myself in the future, pertinent to blogging, but also related to most things virtual or electronically stored.
    This includes creativity, goals for continued and new growth, expansion of my current comfort zones, and much much more.
    I enjoyed knowing that so many bloggers I know and love were also into the fun. True, many of the thousands did not hold my interest due to topic or such, but many more than didn’t, did engage me and make me hope for more inspiration from several different sources.
    That said, is it really all over? Darn, I feel like I barely got started!!!
    hugs and hugz and kitty hi’s too…

    PS can’t wait for the ebook!!!
    BuddhaKat recently posted..ForgetfulFridayFractalFeatureMy Profile

    • This one may be in the books, so to speak, yet the next one has hardly begun. I love you have found new inspiration. What I got from yours is a new way to look at my art and create more images like the one on the newest FTP cover. Have you seen it yet? xxx

  6. I did the challenge with my blogspot blog last year, this year with WordPress. I did not really notice a difference. The most amount of comments I got both years per blog was 8. As far as spam goes, even the spammers did not find me until about a week into the challenge. Then I got about one per day. Yippee.
    Alexandra Heep recently posted..Reflecting on the A to Z Challenge (2013)My Profile

    • You know you have arrived when the spammers get interested 😉 Yours was fun. I love guided tours. xxx

  7. Hi Red .. I don’t think I got a single spam – I won’t let anonymous commenters comment though.

    One of the major problems is – that some people are technically way more advanced than others of us … I run a very basic blogspot blog .. and generally don’t have challenges either ‘at home’ or with other blogs – some yes.

    My main objectives with the A-Z is to meet like minded bloggers whom I can share some ideas with, have fun and generally learn some tips from the participants.

    I had fun .. but I’m not an author .. all the best with the future .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Reflections Post .. A – Z (Aspects of British Cookery) 2013 …My Profile

    • I am glad you had fun in your rounds. As I did last year, I will make my way down the entire list to see what each of the bloggers had to offer. Last year in my post challenge rounds, I found nearly a dozen blogs to follow which I simply did not have time to visit during the challenge. I adore the linky list and thought the announcement of what we were writing was a boon.

      I am very glad you stopped by this year. I hope to see more of you this year.

  8. Congratulations on the completion of the Challenge,
    also a great reflection post.


  9. Ah, well you know what I think of the lack of reciprocity in the A to Z. Without this, the question then becomes why bother?

    I absolutely think this needs to be a book! You did a brilliant job!

    • And since you are the one with final say whether it goes to press, I take that as an assignment. After my hiatus. I have beta reading to do. xxx

  10. If there was a good way to monetize spam, we could be very well off.
    Binky recently posted..Need Want WashMy Profile


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