5

List free Blogging from A to Z in April – some tips for WordPress bloggers

The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is coming up soon. The Theme reveal, where bloggers advertise their chosen theme for the challenge will be on 20 March 2017.

I have participated every year since 2013, when I came across the challenge just in time to take part.

When I began blogging I had no idea how other bloggers were managing to find my posts. Later on I discovered the WordPress Reader. This is a tool for managing the blogs you follow and for finding blog posts on any topic.

I use the category Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and (among others) the tags A to Z, April, challenge, Letter A (etc.), blogging challenge. It is important not to use more than 15 categories and tags in total. As I understand it, too many prevent the post showing in the reader.

Many of the blogs I follow in the Reader are those of A to Z bloggers from previous challenges. There is the opportunity to add more – even from blogging platforms other than WordPress. For these it is necessary to copy the URL of the blog into a space on the Reader and click follow.

Searching in the Reader allows bloggers to find the most recent posts with the category or tag selected. This may help bloggers, who post their comments way down any list on the Blogging from A to Z website or Facebook page.

Adding links to these lists is also useful for driving traffic to your blog (I mean encouraging other A to Z Bloggers to visit 🙂 )

It is also important to continue sharing your links in whatever is your usual way, eg on your own writer’s Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

Have you any tips for this year’s A to Z challenge?

Some blogging tips

When I began to blog, I had no idea how other bloggers were managing to find my posts. I was using categories and tags, but I did not know about the WordPress reader and had not noticed the posts, which may be found from the dashboard. The only way I had of finding other bloggers was from their Gravatars. Some of these were not linked to blogs!

Once I found the Reader I did not realise that I could find my own posts there by typing in the category. It is useful to see how much of a post is displayed. Fortunately other bloggers are usually helpful and I remember djfr kindly helped me gauge the amount of a post displayed. I am still intrigued by the way WordPress chooses which of a number of photos to display in the Reader.
WordPress warns that too many tags and categories disqualify posts from the Reader. http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/categories-vs-tags/
The tags appear alphabetically on the preview in the reader and not all tags are visible there.
To encourage others to read my posts, should they happen across them in the Reader, I usually begin with something of my own, rather than quoting a prompt, which could be included later in the post.
Other ways of letting people know about a newly published post include connecting publicise, so that preferred social media accounts are linked with WordPress and on publication an automatic link is set up. I have only done this for Google+. For Facebook and Twitter, I have been posting manually. However I have recently learned how to do this automatically for Twitter, while retaining control of the wording and timing of each Tweet. I use an app for this.
The shortlink for each post is unchanged after publication so, for scheduled posts, scheduled Tweets work well.
Facebook has its own idiosyncracies. It does not always offer a thumbnail, when a link is shared. I have written about using hashtags on Facebook in an earlier post How not to make a hash of hashtags.