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)
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
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!
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.
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,