Learnings from the Ultimate Blog Challenge

I began blogging in June 2014 for the sheer pleasure of writing. I also had this half-formed idea of getting into the rhythm of writing in preparation for my much threatened (and long threatened) book or books. The books may never see the light of day but I must say my blog site, Lata Wonders, has done wonders for my spirit. That is, whenever I have been able to devote some time to it, which was for a long time sporadic at best. I was so ‘now and then’ in my blogging that I settled for calling myself a hobbyist blogger. But now perhaps I am a serious blogger thanks to the April 2015 Ultimate Blog Challenge. Participating in the April 2015 Ultimate Blog Challenge also taught me a great deal. Here are the learnings from the month long blogging journey.

There are many bloggers out there who are generosity personified. One of them calls himself Slo-Word. It was courtesy Slo-Word that I even learnt about the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Because he announced the event in a blog of his. I am not sure if Slo-Word, himself, has been taking part like he announced he would. But hey, thanks to him, I undertook the month-long journey that the Ultimate Blog Challenge entails.

Each day in April, I discovered new blog sites and blogging styles. Opening my eyes to the standards of the blogging world and setting new benchmarks for yours truly. With over 10,000 bloggers, it was difficult to read more than 4-5 blogs a day. There was also the question of timing with bloggers from different time zones posting around the clock. So, I guess while I discovered many delightful blog sites, I must have missed out on many more. Among the wonderful sites I got to see, the two that stick out for me are Suzy Someday Somewhere and Vidya Sury. This is not to say that I did not appreciate many other blog sites. I did. But I guess with writing and reading, it’s mostly a question of subject matter that one resonates with. That’s why I picked Suzy and Vidya. In both cases, I enjoyed reading their posts – Suzy and her unique interpretation of The Ramayana and Vidya’s covering A-Z emotions and values through letters to her son.

I also came across and met new authors like Francene Stanley. I even bought one of her books Still Rock Water. If anyone is looking for a leisurely read on a lazy summer afternoon, reach for the book. I am sure any woman who has loved and lived to tell the tale will relate to the protagonist, Liliha. There’s some mystique and magic in the mix as well, a-la Nora Roberts. Francene also has a lovely blog site with the theme Views on News.

Let’s see. What else did I learn?

I learnt that blogging everyday does help increase traffic. My daily average site views have gone up by 40% in the month of April 2015. Not just that. Daily updates has helped me grow my IndiBlogger and Twitter network.

Thanks to Paul Taubmann, I learnt about the importance of having a Gravatar image. And got myself one.

Paul’s daily mails with blogging ideas helped get the juices flowing. As did the several blogs and comment threads I read daily.

The April 2015 Ultimate Blog Challenge also helped inculcate a discipline of writing daily. It was a challenge but one that was well worth the effort!

Now the only question I have is can blogging communities work together to reach their writing to audiences beyond bloggers. Will there be a day when people will reach for their daily blog diet much like they once reached for their favourite pages in the daily newspaper every morning?

Perhaps there is an app for that already? Perhaps some wide reaching portal or even Google can come up with a star rating system for bloggers and offer up ‘Blogs for the week’ on their home pages?

Thoughts anyone?

#blogboost #blogging

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Featured Image Credit: Lata Wonders Blog Site on Screen – Image by Lata Subramanian

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