Is A Writing Challenge REALLY Good For Your Blog?

Is A Writing Challenge Really Good For Your Blog Header Image

Are you wondering if that latest writing challenge will be a good way help your blog grow? Relax. No, really… 

If you’ve visited my blog in the past month, you’ll know that I decided to take part in WordPress’ “Bloganuary” writing challenge. The principle is simple; each day WordPress released a prompt for the participating bloggers on their “Bloganuary” P2 platform, after which the bloggers would go away and create a post on their own blogs, using that prompt as inspiration. Ideas and results varied across the board, but perhaps one question was still left unanswered: Are writing challenges good for your blog?

According to WordPress, the Bloganuary writing challenge was indeed a success and so we can all go home happy. However, as someone who loves herself some facts and figures to play with, I wanted to see how it fared for me, on my own blog.

Six Months In Summary

If we look at the total number of views on my blog in the past six months, then indeed WordPress’ claim checks out.  According to my stats, then I have never seen as much activity in almost two years. In that regard then, Bloganuary can be touted a winner. 

Views In The Past Six Months (Sept 2021 – Feb 2022)

A black and white bar graph showing the number of views over the past six months. November and January are the highest.
Created with Google Sheets

However, not all is as it first appears. 

If we take my two most successful months for comparison, then in the month of November I published 13 posts at an average of two posts per week, plus the occasional ramble.  During the month of January I maintained my normal blogging rhythm, plus taking part in the Bloganuary writing challenge, and I continued to write my occasional rambles. I published a total of 30 posts with several combined (multiple day) Bloganuary posts, sometimes publishing two or three posts per day

But Was It REALLY Any Good For My Blog?

On average, I was reaching 117 views per published post in November. By contrast, January reached less than half of that, at just 57 views per published post. Therefore, in spite of me putting out significantly more content, my views per post were considerably less.

Views Per Published Post – Nov 2021 VS Jan 2022

A black and white bar chart showing number of views per published post in November 2021 and February 2022. November has 117 views per post and January has 57.
Created with Google Sheets

But It Gets Worse…

When I started off Bloganuary, I had 189 WordPress followers. At the end of the challenge, I have 183. This means to say that in the month that I have undertaken this writing challenge, six people have decided that they no longer wish to hear from me. I had to ask myself the ultimate blogging question: Did they unfollow me because they don’t like what I write, or did they unfollow me for blogging too often?

Even still, with less reads and less followers, neither of those are good news for my blog! 

And Worse…

Before starting the Bloganuary challenge, I set off with the hope that the writing challenge would be good to help my blog gain traction. By being more social, I hoped that I  would gain more views, more readership, more followers and more all-round success. What actually happened was the complete opposite. 

You may remember that prior to taking on the Bloganuary writing challenge, I wrote in a now-deleted post about the demise of my polyamorous relationship. Looking back, I feel as though my partner was perhaps worried about me overloading myself (something that I’m well known for doing!), but I completely failed to ‘read the room’ and I felt as though he was trying to control me. Instead of trying to understand, I reacted to that feeling and a bunch of other feelings, and I ran. In the long and short, then in part, Bloganuary cost me my partner. 

And Worse…

When I embarked on Bloganuary, I was ambitious for what awaited me, and yet by the end, I was drained, bored and begging for the damn thing to be over. It’s not that I don’t like blogging, of course I do, it’s that I don’t like blogging every day. I blog on set days and to a rhythm that suits me. I do less cleaning on a Friday so that I don’t stink of bleach and surface cleaner for our date night and so instead, it makes for an ideal time for me to write a more expansive post on my blog. I don’t want to blog each time because I have to, I want to blog because I want to. 

On average I spend 2-4 hours on a post, plus a bit of background work, totalling about 10-12 hours on my blog per week. In January that significantly increased, taking up closer to 20 hours per week. That was a lot of my time spent not cleaning, not relaxing and not taking care of myself. To make up for lost time, I was staying up later, often cleaning and showering well into the early hours. Bloganuary was ruining my sleep!

So Then, Are Writing Challenges REALLY Good For Your Blog?

By now, the evidence points to a clear and resounding no. YMMV of course, and my experience may be vastly different from your own. I sincerely hope that it is, and I hope that, if you ever do decide to take on a writing challenge, then I hope that it proves to be a great opportunity for your blog. As for me though, I’ll be heeding my own advice and sticking to my ‘two and a few’ from now on.

Can I Take Part In A Writing Challenge WITHOUT Posting Daily?

Maybe you’ve seen a writing challenge that you really want to get involved with, but perhaps you’ve missed a few days, or maybe you just can’t commit that much time? Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s okay to take part, but not put in the thirty days and maybe just answer one prompt a week, or even one a month, instead?

Well, my survey says yes, it is. 

I’m at the tail end of the ’30 Days Of Submission’ writing challenge, a challenge that, in more recent times, I have been getting through at a rate of about one prompt per month. On the Bloganuary P2 platform I noted several people asking if it was okay to participate slower, or to get started a few days (or even weeks) in, with others chiming in that it was what they were doing or are going to do. The answer it seems then is yes, if you want to, you can do just that. Find whatever works for you.

The only downside to this approach is that, if a writing challenge is trending, then your posts might not be as hot as they would have been back when the challenge was all over Wordpress and Twitter. You can still take part of course, but the social element may be considerably less, or even non-existent.

And now over to you! Have you taken part in a writing challenge? How did it go for you? Was it good or bad for your blog? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time.

Stay safe & have fun, 

Helen xx

4 thoughts on “Is A Writing Challenge REALLY Good For Your Blog?

  1. Really interesting post! I personally have never taken part in a writing challenge on WordPress since I feel like it would be too much pressure for me even though I blogged every day last year(??) My brain is weird and if I have to do something like blog because of a challenge it won’t be fun for me anymore. I think there are pros and cons of blogging challenges. From what I’ve noticed, it seems that a lot of people use it to motivate them to blog regularly. As for using it to grow your blog, I don’t know if it will necessarily work long term. The reason you see growth when you first start these challenges is because it’s basically spamming the WP algorithm by posting daily and at first your posts will be pushed by WP but eventually it’ll firgure out what you’re doing and you’ll get less of an audience. (Just my two cents about this I’m no expert lol!)

    1. That’s really interesting, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the impact a writing challenge might have on the WP algorithm, that’s definitely something to consider in the future. I think to feel like a part of something social it was great, but in terms of boosting a blog, it really doesn’t do anything much. I’m now back to only posting twice a week and I definitely feel like I’ve got my life back on track now. It’s fine if you can post every day, but not so great if you can’t.

  2. Oh wow, thanks so much for this. I’ve never blogged daily before, even though I’ve been meaning to try so I could compare metrics. But I can barely handle my current pace of once per week, and I feel like this current schedule already takes up quite a bit of my time.

    It was definitely interesting to read how this daily challenge affected you, especially with your metrics. And it really was interesting to see this genre of a post in the middle of a kink-niche blog, lol.

    I still do spend a lot of time on my blog admin duties though, and I wonder if that can be reduced sometimes. Anyway, thanks again for this amazing post, Helen!

    1. Stuart, don’t even get me started on blog admin duties, I’ve got about 500+ dead links to edit out, over 300 posts to edit and update with relevant SEO, images that I’m not happy with and want to edit out… shall I continue? Haha.

      I’m glad that you found this post interesting, and definitely don’t be surprised to find things like this on a kink blog. One of my aims here is to show that kinky people aren’t just kinky, we have many other layers too!

Leave a Reply